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My reason for asking is I believe the promotion to be instant: As the pawn's toe crosses the line into the square, it transforms into the promotion piece's toe... Meaning that even though the route was blocked for a pawn, the promotion to a queen (for example) would allow the move to proceed.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

No. A pawn gains no special movement rules when on the penultimate rank. Often in end-games the opposing King will be in front of the pawn to prevent it from being promoted.

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Just cos you're right...that doesn't mean I have to like it ;) – Bryan with a y Jan 30 '13 at 10:28

This is not football, where a "touchdown" is scored by crossing the "plane" of a goal line.

In order to become a queen, a pawn has to occupy a square on the eighth line. If that square is already occupied, a pawn can't "share" the square using a forward move.

The only way a pawn can queen against an enemy piece on a queening square is by capturing it with a DIAGONAL move.

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