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The new pawn move, advancing two squares on its first move instead of one, was first introduced in Spain in 1280.  Starting a game by making two pawn moves before the opponent moved was common in Germany and Holland up to the 16th century, and still common in Germany in the late 19th century.  In parts of Asia, pawns have started on the 3rd rank instead of the 2nd.  Pawns capture straight forward in Chinese and Japanese chess.  Up until 1890 a pawn, upon reaching the 8th rank, was able to remain a pawn.  A related law stated that promotion could only be a piece that had been captured.  If no piece had been captured, the pawn remained a pawn until a capture was made.  Steinitz was the leading advocate of this dummy pawn law. Luckily, the pawn has been evolved into what we use today!

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