What is Checkers?
Checkers is a traditional board game played between two people. The board is made up of 64 dark and light squares, with 24 black and white game pieces for gameplay. The goal is to capture all the opponent’s pieces by jumping over them. An advantage is getting your pieces to “king” status. Checkers is known as a more accessible alternative to chess and can be played on the same board.
Known as checkers in America and draughts in Europe, the game dates back to 3000 B.C. but was not modernized until roughly 1100 A.D. A Frenchman is attributed to transitioning the game to a chessboard and giving each player 12 pieces. As the game’s popularity grew, the first men’s checkers championship was held in 1847, with the first women’s championship being held in 1986. The first edition of checkers to be introduced on a computer was in 1952.
How To Play
A checkerboard is an 8x8 board with alternating colored squares. These squares are often light and dark so that they are easily differentiable. These boards can be crafted from various materials, the most common being wood and cardboard boards. The 8x8 board can be printed in different sizes, such as a larger configuration for children, or standard sizes for checkers competitions. Each player gets 12 pieces which start on their side of the board. Common colors include black and white, or red and black. All 24 pieces are placed on the darker colored squares.
Here is the essential checkers equipment you should have:
- 24 checker pieces (12 of each color)
- A competitive opponent
The goal of checkers is to capture all of your opponent’s pieces. To start the game, the player with the darker pieces will go first. All of the pieces must stay on the darker squares of the board. In the beginning, players can only move their pieces diagonally one space. To capture a piece, you must jump over an opponent’s piece by two spaces diagonally. When one of your pieces reaches the opponent’s end of the board, it can be crowned a king.
Rules and Regulations
In checkers, you can only move your pieces one space in a forward diagonal direction unless the piece is a king or you are capturing an opponent’s piece. In order to “king” one of your pieces, it has to reach the end of the board on your opponent’s side. After this, the king can move diagonally forward and backward.
Here are the most important checkers rules to know:
- Regular pieces can only move forward diagonally
- All pieces are to stay on the dark squares
- kings can move both forward and backward
- All pieces must be captured in order to win
There are many strategies in checkers used to gain an advantage over your opponent. Controlling the center of the board is critical because you want to play aggressively and capture pieces. If you stay on the edges of the board, your pieces cannot be captured, but you will have no control of the game. You should also make it a goal to get at least one piece to king status during the game. Checkers is not a game to be played defensively, the goal is to capture your opponent’s pieces.
Here are the most important checkers strategies you should know:
- Control the middle
- Get at least one king or more
- Play aggressive
Here is the common lingo and slang in checkers:
- Blitz: A blitz is a variation of checkers in which the game only lasts one to three minutes. Each player must make their moves immediately after one another. This type of game requires more skill because you have to think quickly to gain an advantage. Blitz is also common among games of chess.
- Draw: A draw in checkers is when both players agree that no one can win. Either there is no advantage on either side or the game has taken too long to determine a winner. No player is awarded a win when a draw occurs. Draws often happen when many pieces on the board are cornered and cannot make a move.
- Endgame: In checkers, the endgame is the portion of the game where there are eight or fewer pieces left on the board. While one person may not have an advantage at this point of the game, there are very few moves left to make. At this point, there are often some kings on the board as well, making it difficult for players to close the game out.
- Shot: A classic checkers strategy, a shot is when a player purposefully sacrifices one or more of their own pieces to capture more later in the game. If done successfully, a shot can give the player an advantage and ultimately an opportunity to win the game. Shots are common in checkers since players are always thinking ahead with a win in mind.
- Crowning: Crowning is the process of getting one of your pieces king status during a game of checkers. To get a king, one of your pieces has to reach the end of the board on your opponent’s side. When this happens you can place another piece on top of that piece, declaring it a king. Crowned pieces can move both forward and backward as well as capture multiple pieces at once.
There are many great checkers players worldwide, but many of the top players are from England and the United States. Marion Tinsley is labeled as the greatest checkers player ever, and he was an American mathematician besides an avid checkers player. He was a world champion 8 times, and never lost a championship match during his career. Some call him the DaVinci of checkers.
Here are the most famous checkers players you should know:
- Marion Tinsley
- Alex Moisyev
- Ron King
Events and Competitions
There is only one main event in checkers, and that is the world championship. The competition has been around since 1840, with Scottish players dominating the game until the 1930s. The women’s championship was established in 1986. There are two versions of the competition, 3-Move, and GAYP. 3-Move checkers is when the game is started 3 moves in, while Go As You Please (GAYP) is started from the beginning.
Here is the most popular tournament in checkers:
- World Checkers/Draughts Championship: The championship is held every two years with a title match organized by the World Draughts Federation. Players like Ron King and Marion Tinsley have dominated the championship with multiple wins.
Where do the pieces go on the checkerboard?
All of the pieces go on the dark spaces of the checkerboard.
How do you get a king?
You get a king in checkers by getting one of your pieces all the way to your opponent’s end.
How do you capture a piece?
You capture a piece by jumping over it, there must be a clear space for you to land.
How do you win a game of checkers?
You win a game by capturing all of your opponent’s pieces.