Not that it would be everyone's first choice, but it is possible to concoct positions where having an extra piece block your opponent's moves and thus gives you an advantage (think blocking an escape route for a checked king...)

  • 4
    FEN: q6r/2RPkB1N/8/2K5/8/8/8/8 is an example of a position in which White promoting to a Black knight is mate, but otherwise he is losing.
    – Daniel
    Aug 31, 2013 at 17:19
  • 4
    More simply: q6r/5RPk/8/7K/8/8/8/8 (that is: W Kh5 Rf7 Pg7, B Kh7 Qa8 Rh8). Dec 29, 2016 at 1:44

2 Answers 2



FIDE Laws of Chess, rule 3.7e:

When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position it must be exchanged as part of the same move on the same square for a new queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour.

The Wikipedia article on promotion contains some information about the history of the rule, which previously implicitly allowed promotion to a piece of the opposite color.

  • what about non-fide? USCF? NCFP?
    – BCLC
    Apr 19, 2021 at 9:10
  • Yes, also non-FIDE.
    – dfan
    Aug 24, 2021 at 23:33

While today's official rules do forbid promoting a pawn to a piece of the opposite color, it has not always been the case. I would like to contribute to this topic with a tale in the field of chess humor that stars an alien learning chess. The tail exploits loopholes in the rules and features not only promoting to an opposite-colored piece but also promoting to a king:

Elementary, my dear Watson (scroll down to "Yuri Dorogov’s story")


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