Pawn promotion

The art of shepherding a passed pawn through to promotion is a vital key to victory. As the game progresses, the pawns move down the hoard away from their starting squares. If a pawn successfully runs the gauntlet all the way to the eighth rank, for White, or to the first rank, for Black, it has gone as far as it can go-and runs out of normal moves. A dramatic transformation then occurs. The player who owns the pawn must upgrade it to a h igher rank of his own choosing—knight, bishop, rook, or queen, though not king. This process is called promotion or, more commonly, queening

Ihe pawn, since in actual play one almost always chooses to promote to a queen.

Subsequently the newly promoted pawn behaves exactly as if it-were a "natural" queen, or whatever other piece was chosen. Thus theoretically (though one cannot imagine it happening in practice) one player could have as many as nine queens on the board at the same time. In chess parlance, a pawn is called a "passed pawn" when no hostile pawn can impede its progress to becoming a queen. For a pawn to be truly "passed," there must be no enemy pawn in front of it, either on its own file or in the files on each side of it, as shown in the two diagrams below.

abcdefgh abcdefgh

The a 7^, c2, and e2 pawns are passed. Those on f2 and g7 are not.

One reason for not queening the pawn is if promotion to knight would immediately give checkmate, as shown on page 68.


1 f7-fB is instant checkmate. Promoting to a qvieen would ) lead onlv to a draw bv stalemate. I

The en passant rule

This rule prescribes a situation in which a pawn may capture another in a different way from normal. The possibility of an en passant capture (shown as "ep" in chess notation) arises only when a pawn on its starting square takes advantage of its optional initial move of two squares forward. If an enemy pawn is so placed that it could have captured the pawn if it had moved only one square forward, it does not lose the opportunity to do so. In this instance, therefore, it captures by passing one square diagonally behind the target pawn, rather than on to the square it is occupying. The diagrams show how this move works.

It is important to remember that the right to capture en passant lasts for only one move. You must take immediately, or not at all.

Tlie two diagrams on page 69 illustrate the en passant rule; "x" marks the spot of capture. If Black is to move and he plays. . . g7-g5, White's right to capture remains exactly the same as it would have been if Black had played . . . g7~g6. White can still take on g6. Similarly, if White plays d2-d4, Black may capture by playing . .. c4xd3 ep.

68 J* Samurai Chess t vmhm

En passant in action

En passant in action

a b c d e f g h a b c d e f g h

There is no obligation to capture en passant; it is entirely the player's choice whether to do so or not, Furthermore, there is no need to agree before the game that en passant captures are an option. En passant is an integral part of the rules of chess; if you make an en passant capture, and your opponent complains that it was not agreed to before the game started, simply ignore him. En passant may turn out to be a gamewinner, so always remember it.

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