Special chess moves

What are the 3 Special Moves in Chess? Explained with Example for Kids.

Learning special moves in chess is one of the best ways to stand out from the beginners.

Learning the basic chess moves for kids is the foundation of chess. However, what will set you apart from other beginners is learning some special moves in chess. 

Not only it will give you the upper hand while you’re on the board but it will also help you look more professional. 

Besides, if you don’t know about these special moves and your opponent happens to play one, you are simply done! 

To not let any of that happen, here are all three special moves in chess explained in detail with examples. 

The 3 Special Moves in Chess Explained for Kids 

1. Castling in Chess

Castling is a special move in chess that combines the King and the Rook. The purpose of this special move is to protect the King and give him more space to move. 

But how is it played? 

Let’s find out. 

To castle, the King and the Rook must be on their starting square, and there can be no pieces between them. 

Then, the King moves two squares toward the Rook, and the Rook moves to the square that the King just passed over. 

Now, there are two rooks on the board and you might be wondering – 

Which rook? 

The answer is – Any! 

This is the beauty of this special move in chess. You can castle on either side of your king. 

If you castle your king with the rook that is three squares away, it is called the kingside castle (look at the image). 


And, if you castle your king with the rook that is 4 squares away, it is called the queenside castle (look at the image) 


Hold on! 

Before you start castling your way, there are some rules that you need to keep in mind. 

Conditions for Castle in Chess:

  • The King must have made no previous move in the game 
  • The Rook that you’re castling with must have made no previous moves in the game 
  • There should be no piece between the King and the castling rook 
  • The King must not be under check by any of the opponent’s pieces
  • The King must not land on a square that is attacked by any of the opponent’s pieces 
  • No square between the King and the Rook can be under attack by any of the enemy pieces. In other words, the King can’t castle through a check. 

That’s it! 

You’re ready to castle.

Fun fact – Castle is the only time in chess when you make two moves at the same time! 

2. En Passant in Chess 

This special move in chess is only related to pawns. 

En passant is a French term that means “in passing.” 

Do you see a hint? 

Basically, en passant can occur when a pawn captures a horizontally adjacent enemy pawn that has just made an initial two-square move. 

And, the capturing pawn moves to the square that the captured pawn just crossed (look at the images). 

En Passant Special moves in chess
En Passant Special moves in chess

Professional players use en passant as one of the chess tactics to ensure that their opponent’s pawn does not skip past their pawn using the two-move head start. 

There is this one condition that needs to be met while using en passant in chess – 

En passant is permitted only on the immediate move after the two-move advance by the enemy pawn.

Some interesting history…

En passant is one of the latest additions to modern chess rules. It was invented in 1561 but it was accepted in the rule book in 1880!

3. Promotion in Chess

This special move in chess also belongs to the pawn. 

Guess pawns are not that weak after all!

Promotion is a special move that occurs when a pawn reaches the eighth rank. 

In other words, when a pawn reaches a blind alley. 

When this happens, the pawn can be promoted to any piece except the King, and this new piece will have the same value. 

This special move in chess can be a game-changer.  

Since the pawn can be promoted to any piece, it can also turn into the strongest of all – The Queen! 

Or queens, we should say… 

Because using pawn promotion, one can have a maximum of nine queens at a time. 

Usually, most chess players promote to a queen but in certain situations, promotion of your pawn to another piece can be more advantageous. 

Let’s Conclude 

By learning these three special moves, kids can start to level up their game and can even think of competing in online chess tournaments. 

Chess is a cool game and the special moves that you just learned are just a few of the many things that make it such a fascinating and challenging game.

Practicing how to castle, en passant, and promotion, the three special moves in chess will indeed make you a better chess player! 

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