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Easy And Complete Guide To Pawn Promotion – Find It Here!

Easy And Complete Guide To Pawn Promotion

What Happens When A Pawn Reaches The Other Side?

Pawn Promotion – that’s what happens when a pawn reaches the other side of the chess board, and we’ll be discussing that in this article.



Pawns are the smallest and the least powerful pieces on a chess board. 

Each chess player gets eight pawns in their sets. They are positioned in front of the other pieces on the second row from the edge of the board. 

Pawns are named after the chess piece behind them. The pawns in front of the Knight are called Knight pawns. The pawn in front of the King is a King pawn, and so on.

They are also grouped between Kingside and Queenside, the vertical division of the chessboard. 

The four pawns from the left corner to the centre of the board are the Queenside pieces. The remaining four to the right are the Kingside pieces.


Pawns have several legal moves.

They have a 2-move option for their first move from their original square or starting position where they can move two squares directly forward as long as the squares are unoccupied.

After that, pawns can only move one square at a time. 

Pawn does not capture in the same direction that it moves.

The direction of the pawns’ movement when capturing changes. Pawns capture by moving one square diagonally forward.

Pawns can’t move diagonally for a non-capturing move.

Pawn Promotion

Pawn Promotion occurs when a pawn reaches the 8th rank on the chess board. The 8th rank refers to the farthest rank or square on the board, which is the opponent’s side of the board. 

The player can choose the piece they want the pawn to be, and their choice is not restricted to the pieces they’ve captured earlier in the game. They can choose to get an additional Queen, Rook, Bishop, or Knight. 

A white pawn can only be replaced by a white Queen or other similarly coloured pieces except for the King, and the same goes for a black pawn.

Can A Pawn Be Promoted Into A King?

You can’t promote a pawn into a King even with the pawn promotion rule. 

As mentioned above, you can choose to promote the pawn to a Queen or underpromote it to Rook, Bishop, or Knight, but not to a King. 

What Is Underpromotion?

Underpromotion is when you choose promotion to Knight, Rook, or Bishop over the option of promotion to Queen.

The most powerful piece on the chessboard is the Queen, and a pawn can get promoted to that. 

If you choose to promote your pawn into any piece other than a Queen, it’s called an underpromotion because it could’ve been promoted to a more valuable piece.  

Why Underpromote A Pawn?

Most players will choose a Queen if they get a pawn promotion opportunity. After all, the Queen is the most versatile piece, and promotion to Queen would undoubtedly be helpful to the game.

It’s not common, but people do underpromote.

The common underpromotion reason is to avoid a draw by stalemate or, like anything about chess, it’s for strategy, especially for defensive reasons.

One might choose a Knight promotion because even though the Queen is the most powerful, she can’t move like a Knight. Maybe the angles of attack need a Knight to initiate a check to King.

A rook may also be a good choice of promotion depending on the situation because two rooks can win against a Queen when played right.

Again, depending on the game, a Bishop may be better than a Queen.

How Many Pawns Can You Promote In One Chess Game?

As many as you can, the maximum number of pawns you can promote is eight pawns – which is all the pawns you have.

Theoretically, you can get up to nine Queen promotions or ten rooks, bishops, or knights.

What Is Illegal Pawn Promotion?

Chess is a game of strategies and rules, and any moves in chess that don’t follow is considered an illegal move.

Illegal pawn promotion can happen when:

  • A player uses two hands in the move that promoted the pawn. It violates the touch move, which is a standard chess rule. 
  • A player replaces the pawn with another chess piece without moving the candidate pawn to the last square or promotion square.

    They sometimes assume it’s okay, especially if the square is vacant and the pawn is free to go. They exchange the pawn for another piece in chess while the pawn is still in 7th rank without going through the actual promotion process.
  • A player must also replace the candidate pawn with another chess piece first before clocking in the move on the chess clock, or else it’s considered an illegal pawn promotion move.

Where Does The Promoted Pawn Go?

After the pawn promotion, the pawn is replaced with another piece. The replaced pawn should be kept off the chessboard.

What Other Special Move Can A Pawn Make?

Aside from Pawn Promotion, pawns also have a special move called En Passant.

En passant is a capture move where the capturing piece doesn’t replace the captured piece on its square of arrival. It’s only possible with pawns and with very specific conditions. 

It can only be made immediately after a horizontally adjacent enemy pawn moves the pawn-specific two-square advance.

The capturing pawn moves to the unoccupied square the advancing opponent pawn passed over – thus, the move’s name. En passant is a French term that means “in passing.”

Final Words

A pawn may be the weakest piece in a chess set at the start of the game, but with the correct play, it can give a decisive, strong attack in the chess endgame. 

Whether you’re doing it on tournament games or just casual games, using a special rule in chess will always be cool.

Now that you know about the chess pawn rules and pawn promotion, we’re sure you’ll enjoy playing more. Maybe even go to chess competitions instead of just playing chess for fun? We’ll totally support you!

See you in another article!

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