How to Use the Pawn | Chess

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Hi, this is David Sullivan for Chess NYC, here are pawns and how to use them. In a game of chess, we begin with each side having a row of 8 pawns. The big pieces start behind the pawns. The pawn are actually one of the hardest pieces to teach, especially for little kids because they move in one way, they capture in a different way, they can also promote, and there’s also something called en passant, which can make things extra confusing.

Let’s see if I can make this simple. Pawns move straight ahead, one square at a time, except when they’re on their starting square, when they’re allowed to go 2 squares forward. This pawn, because it’s no longer on it’s starting square can only go 1 square forward, but if it went 1 square forward, the black pawn can capture 1 square forward diagonally. Pawns capture 1 square forward on the same color. So, if white’s pawn were here and black moved it’s pawn here, this white pawn can move forward 1 square, capturing the black pawn.

Pawns never move backwards. You should never see a pawn moving backwards like this or backwards like this during the game. If a pawn moves here and another pawn moves here, then these pawns block each other. This pawn wants to move forward, but the square in front of it is occupied and it has nobody to capture.

When a pawn, if a pawn, during a game, reaches the other side of the board, it promotes, it becomes a more powerful piece. Usually a queen, but sometimes it can become other pieces as well. Pawns are strong enough to help checkmate. We can reach a position like this, and if white pushes his pawn 1 square forward, I add a pawn for black to make this a legal position, I push this pawn 1 square forward, this pawn which captures 1 square forward diagonally is threatening the black king, saying check to the black king. The black king cannot take this pawn because then he would be in danger from the white king. Kings can never stand next to each other. The king cannot capture this pawn, because then he would be in danger from the white king. He cannot go here because of the white king, he cannot go here because the pawn would threaten him, he cannot go here because the pawn would threaten him as well. This is check mate, there’s no way to block, no way to capture, no place you can run.

The last thing we have to learn about pawns is perhaps the most confusing thing, and it’s called en passant. In the olden days of chess, pawns could only move 1 square forward at a time, even when they were on their starting square. But then they sped up the game about 500 years ago and allowed pawns to go 2 squares forward on their starting square. But then we’d reach positions like this, where let’s say black has a pawn on the 4th rank and white pushes his pawn up 2 squares. Well the white pawn has gone past the square where this pawn can normally make a capture. However, they made up a room called en passant, which is French for in passing, which allows this pawn to capture this pawn as if it only went 1 square forward. And you have to do that on the following rule. So, if white plays like this, black could capture that pawn and then white could capture black’s back. Or if white had a pawn here on the 5th rank, and black advanced his pawn 2 squares, right, it looks like this pawn has gone past the square where white could make a capture, but white could capture in passing, en passant.

And, hopefully that’s all you’ll never need to know about pawns.


  1. Can a pawn capture a piece on its first move?

  2. I just got a chess advert before watching this video lol

  3. HOW did I not know about the 'In Passing' move until now? I've been playing on and off for about 20 years!! :')

  4. So let me get this right. He did say you have to capture that pond or do an en passant? If so that might be a neat little way to force the opponent into situations they don’t like or want to be in.

  5. I've never seen a man (or woman) move his pieces so aggressively, yet so precisely.

  6. Now pawns had evolved huh 🤔 they have this new skill called En Passant.
    I wonder when the knights evolve, learn to extend it's L pattern.

  7. Ok so pawns move either 1 or 2 squares right? What if a pawn moves up 2, can another pawn move up 2 or just 1? Like is that 2 square jump just a onetime jump? Also can you move a pawn up 1 square first and move another pawn up 2?

  8. Howcast is like totally great! This really helped.

  9. When our Queen still alive, and our pawn reach the other end.

    Can we promote it to a Queen as well ? Such we have 2 Queens ? Or only limited to promoting defeated pieces ?

    This was an argument between me and some friends.

  10. @3:25 if that white pawn was a knight can the the black pawn take the piece

  11. This is confusing, please can someone explain 🙏🏼

  12. Didn't understand what was the last part

  13. Don't do in passing with friends who don't know a lot about chess it just ends up in a fight and them quiting.

  14. Came here for the last part rest of the video I was feeling Godlike

  15. We are not children. We just don't know how to play chess…

  16. Video: en passant
    Subtitles: aunt pissant

  17. This would've changed my life had I'd known earlier. "The passing" part

  18. I hate it when people just overuses their damn pawns

  19. His happy face proves that he loves chess 🥰

  20. i was only here for the last move. Seen it but wasn't sure how and why. Thanks anyway.

  21. Wow thank you. I’m learning to play chess with my 13 yr old.

  22. The only person in all of YouTube that actually explained ah peasant very simple. Everyone else made it difficult and not making sense with their own way of playing chess.

  23. well that help out the en passant rule as the rule books said it was different that it was the defending piece if it had moved could take the pawn that was to the side of it as long it had moved two spaces from the start. which would have said it was underpassing to take the piece that had passed it. not the way you had showed in the video. It's been a hugh rule that i've never been able to find a clear ruling of. so thanks for that.

  24. You need to explain en passant better.can only capture the pawn IF it moved two spaces from start ! .

  25. This dude probably just did a rail of Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac combined before recording this. I have never seen a human where a smile is the resting state of the face.

  26. 2:23 the pawn can capture the king? I thought it can only capture the night, rook or another pawn..

  27. Nobody anywhere mentions if a pawn can move one space forward and then take a piece diagonally on its first move?

  28. Awesome man, that’s exactly what I needed, was the reasons WHY the chess pieces do the things they do , that makes things so much more easier to comprehend !

  29. I originally started watching these to learn chess, now I watch them cause it triggers my asmr lol

  30. I’ve been playing chess for years and I’ve never heard of en passant. I’ve never even see it happen in any official games or even on the computer. It must be rare

  31. Teaching anything you have to slow it down

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