A Complete Guide to Special Chess Moves

Everyone who plays chess is familiar with the basic moves each piece makes. However, there are some special moves in chess that not everyone knows that they exist. Some of them are known by the majority of the players but some other aren’t known by many chess players. I made this article in order to fix that problem and solve any disagreements that it has created.

Castling in Chess

Castling is one of the most known and important moves in chess. Actually, it’s two moves that are happening at the same time and the moving pieces are the King and one of the Rooks. There are two kinds of castling in chess, the kingside castling, and the queenside castling depending on the side where the King moves. On both of them, the King moves two squares either to the left (queenside) or right (kingside). At the same time, the Rook that is situated on the side where the King moves, moves at the square over the King crossed. If you are hearing about castling for the first time, it might seem a bit complicated. Don’t worry I have prepared some animations in order to understand it.

Kingside Castling

Queenside Castling

When I was learning about castling I created a method to remember who many squares each piece moves. The key thing to remember is that the King is a more lazy piece and has less mobility than the Rooks. That’s why the King always moves only by two squares.

Chess Castling Rules

There are some conditions that must not be violated. If any of these castling requirements are not met then, castling cannot be performed. Most chess castling rules are obvious and easy to remember. Castling may happen when:

  • The King and the Rook have not previously been moved and are situated in their starting positions. So you have to remember whether you have moved those pieces or not.
  • The King is not currently in check. Therefore, you cannot avoid the check with castling.On the following example, Black cannot perform any type of castling.

  • The King cannot end up on a square where your opponent attacks it. On the following example, Black cannot perform kingside castling but Black can perform queenside castling (there is no violation of the other conditions).

  • The King does not pass through a square that is attacked by an enemy piece. Make sure you check the adjacent square for any threat. On the scenario below, Black cannot make castling.

  • There are no other pieces between the King and the Rook.

Importance of Castling

Castling in chess is a move of great importance. I usually try to make castling as soon as possible because there are some major benefits.

  • In general, castling is an excellent way to protect your King because by moving it to the sides, the pawns and the Rook offer a protection. Most of the times, it’s riskier to leave your King in the center of the board.
  • (ex with pawn protection) Rooks are able to put some pressure on the pieces in the center of the chessboard. So, by performing castling it’s an excellent way to use one of the Rooks in the opening phase of the game.

En Passant

This is a special move in chess that many people are not familiar with it. It’s a French phrase that means ‘in passing’ or even better ‘as it passes’. This kind of move may happen under some conditions.

  • Only pawns may capture en passant. More specifically, a white pawn can capture en passant if it’s situated in the fifth rank and a black pawn can do it if it’s situated in the fourth rank. The white pawns on the green squares and the black pawns on the red squares can execute this move.

  • Those pawns can capture an enemy pawn that has moved to an adjacent square by making a two square move. The attacking pawn can capture the other pawn situated on the adjacent square and the attacking pawn is moved to the square that the captured pawn has passed through on its previous move. It seems a little complicated but the following example will answer all your questions. Make sure that you will click on the arrows or the notation as many times it is required to understand it.

  • Keep in mind that if the pawn isn’t advanced by two squares in one move and made the same move into two steps then the enemy pawn doesn’t have the right to capture it en passant (see below).

  • Also, the window of opportunity to capture the enemy piece ‘en passant’ is immediately after the pawn has moved by two squares. If you make a different move after that then, you cannot capture it ‘en passant’.

Final thoughts

I hope this article cleared any questions that you might had. If you found value in this article, it would mean a lot to me to share it to share it with your close ones. I would like to read your opinion in the comment section. Have fun with chess.

Leave a Comment