En Passant and More Chess Rules

by Milica Knezevic on May 21, 2022

Chess Move: En passant

  • En passant - French for ‘in passing’ - is one of the most famous moves in chess. En passant occurs when a pawn moves two squares forward as the result of its optional starting move. If an opponent’s pawn would have been able to legally capture the moving pawn had it only moved one square instead of two, the opponent can declare en passant on their next turn and move their pawn diagonally onto the square that the pawn passed through - capturing the pawn as if it had only moved one square.
    En passant must be declared and made as the opponent’s next turn to be legal - otherwise, the player with the chance to capture the pawn loses the opportunity.
en passant

Chess Move: Castling

  • Simply put, castling is a special rule that allows your king to move two spaces to its right or left, while the rook on that side moves to the opposite side of the king. FIDE, the international organization governing the rules of chess, defines castling this way:
  • This is a move of the king and either rook of the same color along the player’s first rank, counting as a single move of the king and executed as follows: the king is transferred from its original square two squares towards the rook on its original square, then that rook is transferred to the square the king has just crossed.

Chess Rule: Draw

  • A draw occurs in chess when neither player wins nor loses—the game ends in a tie. Either of the two players can ask for a draw, and after the game is tied, each player wins half a point.
  • Draws are more common among higher-rated players, but even if you're still a beginner or intermediate player, you should know all the drawing rules so no one catches you by surprise.
  • There are five types of draw in chess: stalemate, dead position, mutual agreement, threefold repetition and due to the 50-move rule.
  • Stalemate: A chess draw by stalemate happens when the player who needs to move has no legal moves and his king is not in check (otherwise, that would be a checkmate!). For a stalemate to happen, the move that produced the position has to be legal.
  • Dead position: A dead position happens when neither player can legally checkmate the opponent's king. If the game reaches this situation and the move that generated the position is legal, the game ends in a tie.  
  • Mutual agreement: If for any reason, both chess players agree to a draw, the game immediately ends, and both win half a point. 
  • Threefold repetition: A chess player can ask for a draw when a position is reached (or is about to be reached) at least three times in the same game. This repetition is only possible when all the pieces of the same size and color are occupying identical squares as they were before, and all the possible moves are also the same.  
  • 50-move rule: If both chess players make 50 consecutive moves without capturing any pieces or moving any pawns, any player can ask for a draw if it is their turn to play. This rule exists to prevent games from prolonging too much when neither player is making any progress. 

Chess Move: Pawn Promotion

  • Pawn promotion is probably the special move that most beginners know exists, although there's usually some confusion as to how it truly works. This rule allows a pawn to become any piece (other than a king or staying a pawn) when it gets to the farthest rank from where it started (eighth for White and first for Black).
  • You don't need to promote your pawn to a piece that was previously captured—a common misconception among some players who are still learning the game.
  • In Chess Universe you have an option to automatically promote to a queen to save more time.  
pawn promotion
  • Chess Universe feature: you can autopromote to queen when you reach a promotion point in the game so to save yourself time, this is a great feature because sometimes you do not have enough time and this can come in handy, you do this by clicking the settings button ⚙ and clicking AUTOPPROMOTE TO QUEEN so that the feature is ON. 
What is NOT okay in chess?

In Chess, an illegal move is when a piece moves outside of the boundaries of its defined abilities. Illegal moves include ones that are otherwise legal but expose that player’s King to check. It is also an illegal chess move to leave your king in check. There are also chess moves that have to meet certain criteria to be legal. This includes moves such as promotion and castling.

Learn More About Chess Basics

Chess is a board game played between two players. It is sometimes called Western chess or international chess to distinguish it from related games such as xiangqi and shogi. The current form of the game emerged in Southern Europe during the second half of the 15th century after evolving from chaturanga, a similar but much older game of Indian origin. Today, chess is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide.

Chess is an abstract strategy game and involves no hidden information. It is played on a square chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. At the start, each player (one controlling the white pieces, the other controlling the black pieces) controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king, whereby the king is under immediate attack (in "check") and there is no way for it to escape. There are also several ways a game can end in a draw.

Organized chess arose in the 19th century. Chess competition today is governed internationally by FIDE (International Chess Federation). The first universally recognized World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886; Magnus Carlsen is the current World Champion. A huge body of chess theory has developed since the game's inception. Aspects of art are found in chess composition, and chess in its turn influenced Western culture and art and has connections with other fields such as mathematics, computer science, and psychology.


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