There are a lot of special rules about pawns in chess. They are special pieces, with some rules that are different and special compared to the other pieces. The list of rules for pawns includes:
- Pawn moves
- Pawn first move rules
- Pawn capture rules
- No backwards pawn moves
- En passant captures
- Pawn promotion
Pawn First Moves
Pawns have special first moves, whereas the other pieces move the same for the entire game. Pawns can move 2-squares forward on their very first move, for each pawn, but then can only move 1-square forwards after that. Pawns cannot capture 2-squares diagonally, however, even on their first move; it’s only a forwards jump move. But the pawn starting move cannot jump over a piece, it’s a slide 2-squares with two empty squares. (And, actually there is a first move special case for the King also, which can only Castle as its first move.)
Pawn Capture Moves
Pawns capture differently to how they move. This is different from all the other pieces, which capture on exactly the same squares that they can move to. Pawns move forward, but can only capture diagonally. Pawns cannot capture forward, or move diagonally to an empty square.
Pawn promotion is another rule that is special for pawns. A pawn can become a Queen when it reaches the other end of the board. It is called “Queening a pawn”. Pawns can actually become the other pieces, called “underpromotion”, but usually you choose the Queen. You can have two or more Queens.
En passant is another bizarre rule that applies only to pawn captures. It is a special pawn capture of an enemy pawn where the enemy pawn has just bypassed your pawn using its 2-square starting move.
Related Chess Rules Topics
Read more about these related chess rules, chess puzzles, and other chess tactics and strategies: