September Vocabulary: Promotion

By Ramya Inapuri, Wizard Coordinator & Instructor in MA

Promotion is the advancement of someone to a more important rank or position.

Promotion in chess is a rule that requires a pawn that reaches its eighth rank to be immediately replaced by the player’s choice of a queen, knight, rook, or bishop. The new piece replaces the pawn as part of the same move. The choice of new piece is not limited to pieces previously captured, therefor promotion can result in a player owning two or more queens.

Since the queen is the most powerful piece, most promotions are to a queen. Promoting to any other piece is referred to as underpromotion.

So why would someone choose underpromotion? The following example explains why sometimes you will have to choose it:

1.f8=R! , promotion to a queen here would be a stalemate, and a knight or bishop wouldn’t be enough to mate. 1…Kh6 2.Rh8#
Diagram by Jin Chess.