En passant (from French: in passing) is a move in the board game of chess (Brace 1977). It is a special pawn capture which can occur immediately after a player moves a pawn two squares forward from its starting position, and an enemy pawn could have captured it had it moved only one square forward. The opponent captures the just-moved pawn as if taking it "as it passes" through the first square. The resulting position is the same as if the pawn had moved only one square forward and the enemy pawn had captured normally.
The en passant capture must be done on the very next turn, or the right to do so is lost. Such a move is the only occasion in chess in which a piece captures but does not move to the square of the captured piece. If an en passant capture is the only legal move available, it must be made. En passant capture is a common theme in chess compositions.
This rule was added in the 15th century when the rule giving pawns the option of initially moving two squares was introduced. It prevents a pawn from using the two-square advance to pass an adjacent enemy pawn without the risk of being captured.