How many times in a game can "the same pawn move" be made? By "the same pawn move", I mean, a move made by a pawn that would be notated the same way.

For instance, after 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd5 3.e5, black and white have each played e5 once: so twice so far.

How many times can a single pawn move be played?

[the second part of this question has been split out here]


2 Answers 2


Eight is the maximum due to the geometry of the board. Only five of one side and three of the other can converge on the same single square.

Addendum: o@Red_Floyd2 on reddit found a faster way in 18.0 moves on e4.

[FEN ""]

1. e4 d6 2. e5 dxe5 3. Bc4 e4 4. Be6 e3 5. dxe3 fxe6 6. Qd6 cxd6 7. e4 Qb6 8. e5 dxe5 9. Bg5 e4 10. Bf6 e3 11. fxe3 gxf6 12. e4 Nc6 13. e5 fxe5 14. Nc3 e4 15. Nxe4 e5 16. Ng5 e4 17. Nxe4 e5 18. Ng5 e4

The fastest it can be done, from my testing so far, is 19.0 moves for c4.

[FEN ""]

1. c4 b6 2. c5 bxc5 3. Qb3 c4 4. Qb6 c3 5. bxc3 axb6 6. c4 d6 7. c5 dxc5 8. Ba3 c4 9. Bc5 c3 10. dxc3 Qd5 11. c4 bxc5 12. cxd5 c4 13. d6 exd6 14. Nd2 c5 15. Nb3 c3 16. Rb1 c4 17. Nc5 dxc5 18. Rb3 cxb3 19. Kd1 c4

19.0 again for e4.

[FEN ""]

1. e4 d6 2. e5 dxe5 3. Qf3 e4 4. Qf6 e3 5. dxe3 gxf6 6. e4 Qd5 7. exd5 e5 8. Bf4 e4 9. Be5 fxe5 10. Bd3 exd3 11. Nd2 e4 12. Nc4 f6 13. Ne5 fxe5 14. d6 cxd6 15. cxd3 exd3 16. Nf3 e4 17. Ne5 dxe5 18. f3 exf3 19. O-O e4

Just for fun, as far as unique proof games go, here is one that has three White pawns cross e5. This was sourced from the Die Schwlabe Chess Problem Database.

[Title "Olli Heimo, Suomen Tehtäväniekat 2001, Dedciated to Joose Norri 1st Prize, Unique Proof Game In 25.5 Moves"]
[FEN ""]

1. e4 b5 2. e5 Bb7 3. e6 Bf3 4. gxf3 Nf6 5. Bg2 Ne4 6. fxe4 a5 7. e5 Ra6 8. Ba8 b4 9. Nf3 b3 10. Rg1 bxc2 11. Rg6 cxb1=B 12. Rh6 Be4 13. d3 a4 14. dxe4 a3 15. Qd6 axb2 16. a4 bxc1=B 17. a5 Be3 18. fxe3 exd6 19. O-O-O Be7 20. Rf1 O-O 21. Ne1 Re8 22. Rff6 Bf8 23. e7 Nc6 24. e6 Na7 25. e5 c6 26. e4
  • In descriptive notation I'm sure PxN can be played a lot more than 8 times in a game.
    – bof
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 4:37

If you just ask for white moves, then of course queening all pawns on e8 is impossible since you need 16 captures. 7 (12 captures) is trivial. Including Black, I assume that the maximum is bringing five white pawns to e4 and three black to e6 (6 white, 2 black captures, even more trivial), and the answer is thus 8x "e5". (This is actually "half an answer", I make way for an additional answer with a strict proof and a proof game.

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