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Attacking and Capturing with Pawns

Wolverhampton Chess Club

You will remember how pawns move. They move forward along the files one square at a time except on their first move, when they may move either one or two squares forward

You may think the Pawn is most unusual and so it is!

  • It cannot be moved backwards - all other pieces can.
  • It can end it's march along the file by becoming a Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight.

Here is another difference;

The Pawn has a special move when capturing. It attacks and CAPTURES diagonally.


The White pawn attacks one square diagonally forward to the left and right as shown by the white stars.

The Black pawn attacks one square diagonally forward to the left and right as shown by the black stars.


In this diagram two enemy Black Pawns stand on the attacked squares.


To capture one of the Black Pawns, the White Pawn moves diagonally forward, right or left. The right hand pawn is captured in this diagram, and removed from the chessboard.


The left-hand pawn is captured by moving diagonally forward to the left as shown in this diagram.


The White Pawn this time attacks a Black Knight. If it is White to move now then he could either move forward one square OR capture the Knight.


In this diagram the White Pawn has decided not to capture the Black Knight but move forward one square instead.


Instead of moving forward though the White Pawn could capture the Black Knight. In this case he would capture diagonally with his special capturing move like this. The Black Knight is removed from the Chassboard.


Look at this position. White to move.

The Black Pawn on the SEVENTH RANK can be captured. (see longer red arrow)


The Black Pawn on the FORTH RANK cannot be captured (see shorter red arrow).


  • Pawns move forward along files when not capturing.
  • Pawns capture diagonally.