Checkers, also known as “draughts,” is among the most popular board games as it is easy to play and requires very few pieces of equipment. In fact, you can even get creative with your own pieces and board if you don’t have one on hand. Some people view checkers as the simpler version of chess, but this game can still be challenging and include a great deal of strategy. Because of this, you will find a range of skill levels, including professional tournaments that involve competitors from around the world. The American Checker Federation hosts numerous tournaments within the United States.
History Of Checkers
Believe it or not, checkers is among the oldest games in the world. Experts believe that an earlier version of checkers was found in Iraq during an archaeological dig. Based on carbon dating, the game found at the site was played at around 3000 BC, although there is no way to confirm the rules of the time. Moving forward in time, Ancient Egyptians played “Alquerque,” a game similar to checkers that used a 5×5 board and was played in 1400 BC.
Modern checkers made a significant advancement in 1100 AD or so when a Frenchman decided to play the game using a chess board. At this point, it was known as Ferses or Fierges and this increased the number of pieces, reaching 12 on each side. Soon after, an updated version made jumps required. Throughout the centuries, there are numerous mentions for draughts in Great Britain and checkers in England.
Equipment For Checkers
Checkers is still traditionally played on the same type of board as chess. This is a checkered board with 64 squares that alternate between dark and light for a total of 32 of each. They are organized in a square with 8 rows and 8 columns. There are also a total of 24 playing pieces or markers. These pieces are circular in a short cylindrical shape and are traditionally black and red although they may be some other combination of colors, particularly when playing checkers online.
Setting Up The Checkers Board
Due to the limited number of pieces, checkers is relatively easy to set up. Begin by placing the board between the two opponents, ideally with a dark square in the left corner from each person’s perspective. Now each player will place each of their pieces on the 12 dark squares closest to them. As each row has 4 dark and 4 light squares, this means putting 4 pieces on the dark squares of the 3 rows closest to each player. When set up, all the light squares should be empty as should the dark squares in the two middle rows. The other dark squares will have either red or black pieces on them.
The Goal Of Checkers
During game play, the goal of checkers is to collect your opponent’s pieces and remove them from the board. There are two ways to win. If you have collected all of your opponent’s pieces or if your opponent is not able to make any more moves. In the second situation, you can win even if your opponent still has pieces on the board. A tie can occur if neither player is able to move.
Checkers Game Play And Official Rules
In the game of checkers, pieces can only move diagonally and are only able to move forward, meaning in the direction of your opponent. They must always remain on dark squares and will typically just move a single space forward. If, however, your piece is immediately followed by the opponent’s piece and a blank space, you can jump over the opponent’s piece. In the process, you remove their piece, bringing you closer to your goal. It is possible to make multiple jumps as long as the pieces are lined up properly. To keep the game more interesting, any time a jump is possible, you must make it.
At the beginning of gameplay, checkers pieces are only able to move forward, but once they reach the final row, their movement becomes less limited. This final row is considered the king’s row and is the row that is closest to your opponent. Once your piece reaches that space, it is called a king and you recognize it by placing a second piece on top of the first, stacking them. Kings are allowed to move forward or backward, making them a significant asset to gameplay. They can even move in multiple directions to capture multiple pieces in a single turn. After a piece becomes a king, you must wait until your following turn to remove it from the king row during normal game play.
During tournament play, every move is timed, but this is not typically enforced in casual settings. Decide before beginning your game whether moves will be timed. If so, set the timer for 5 minutes for every turn.
General Tips And Strategies For Checkers
The rules of checkers are fairly straightforward but leave room for a great deal of strategy. Before you make a move, you should take the time to analyze the board and create a plan of action as this allows you to determine the best move. You can take advantage of strategic sacrifices of pieces. In some situations, you can place your piece in a way that lets your opponent take it which in turn opens the way for you to take two of your opponent’s pieces. This is why planning is important in checkers.
You can protect your pieces by keeping them around the edges of the game board or ensuring there is always another of your pieces directly behind them; this will prevent your opponent from jumping over them and removing them. Similarly, it is wise to keep your pieces on the back row closest to you as long as you can as this stops your opponent from turning them into kings.
While it is smart to keep your pieces somewhat clustered together as a way to stop your opponent from jumping, be careful with this strategy. If your pieces are bunched together too much, you may find yourself without any possible moves and lose.