Let’s learn how the pawns move and capture.

Where Do Pawns Start?

You have 8 pawns in your army. This is their starting position in chess:

Pawns starting position

Remember: when looking at diagrams like the one above, White move up (from the bottom to the top), Black move down (from the top to the bottom) when looking at drawn chessboards.

How Pawns Move

A pawn moves one square forwards.

However, on their very first move pawns are allowed to move either one or two squares forward (note: this means on the pawn’s first move, not just on the first move of the game). Every pawn can choose to move 1 or 2 square when it is its first move.

Check this example:

How pawns move

In the example above, the White pawn can move 1 or 2 squares (as this is its first move). The Black pawn can move 1 square only, as this is not its first move anymore.

Pawns can only move forward. They never move backwards.

Pawns cannot advance if the square ahead is blocked by another piece (either a
piece of your own or your opponent’s).

How Pawns Capture

A pawn captures one square forwards diagonally.

It can capture all the other pieces.

In the example below, the pawn in a5 is going to capture the pawn in b4:

Pawn capture

The pawn in e2 can choose to move to e3 or e4, and the pawns in g4 and g5 are blocked by each other.

Now practice some games with pawns with your dad and mum and some puzzles with pawns.

Image credits: White Pawn by Angela Redmon