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Checkers Rules

   To play Checkers download Net Checkers for Windows.

I American Checkers, also known as English draughts, is played on the dark squares only of a standard checkerboard of 64 alternating dark and light squares(eight rows, eight columns), by two opponents having 12 Checkers each of contrasting colors, normally referred to as black and white.

(Serious Checkers players generally use red and white (sometimes yellow) Checkers, and green and buff checkerboards. In any case, colors of the Checkers and the board should be different in order to provide good contrast, and especially to avoid such combinations as black Checkers on black squares.)

II The board is positioned squarely between the players and turned so that a dark square is on each player's left-hand side and the double-corner on the right. Each player places his Checkers on the dark squares of the three rows nearest him. The player with the darker Checkers makes the first move of the game, and the players take turns there after, making one move at a time.

III The object of the game is to prevent the opponent from being able to move when it is his turn to do so. This is accomplished either by capturing all of the opponent's Checkers, or by blocking those that remain so that none of them can be moved. If neither player can accomplish this, the game is a draw.

IV Single Checkers, known as men, move forward only, one square at a time in a diagonal direction, to an unoccupied square. Men capture by jumping over an opposing man on a diagonally adjacent square to the square immediately beyond, but may do so only if this square is unoccupied. Men may jump forward only, and may continue jumping as long as they encounter opposing Checkers with unoccupied squares immediately beyond them. Men may never jump over Checkers of the same color.

Many players believe that Men can NOT jump Kings. This is incorrect Men may jump Kings in the same manner that they capture other Men.

V A man which reaches the far side of the board, whether by means of a jump or a simple move, becomes a King, and the move terminates. The opponent must then crown the new King by placing a Checker of the same color on top it. A player is not permitted to make his own move until he crowns his opponent's King.

VI Kings move forward or backward, one square at a time in a diagonal direction to an unoccupied square. Kings capture by jumping, forward or backward, over an opposing man or king on a diagonally adjacent square to the square immediately beyond, but may do so only if this square is unoccupied. Kings may continue jumping as long as they encounter opposing Checkers with unoccupied squares immediately beyond them. Kings may never jump over Checkers of the same color. They may never jump over the same opposing man or king more than once.

VII Whenever a player is able to make a capture he must do so. When there is more than one way to jump, a player may choose any way he wishes, not necessarily the one which results in the capture of the greatest number of opposing units. However, once a player chooses asequence of captures, he must make all the captures possible in that sequence. He may not leave one or more Checkers uncaptured that he could capture simply by continuing to jump. A "HUFF" of a Checker for failure to jump properly is not permitted as it was in the past. The incorrect move must be retracted, and a correct move must be made. If possible, the correct move must be made with the man or King originally moved incorrectly.

VIII Time limits for play may be based on a fixed amount of time for each move, with less time allowed for situations in which there is one, and only one, capturing move possible, or on a fixed amount of time for a given number of moves, without regard to how much of this time is used on any one move. When the latter method is used, and the given number of moves has been made by each player, with neither having used up the allotted time, an additional allotment of time and moves is given to each. This continues until the conclusion of the game. Unused time is retained when a new allotment is given. A player loses a game if his time expires before he has completed the required number of moves.

Historical Excursus

   There is a good evidence of the game's ancient origin, both factual and circumstantial. That checkers was played in the days of the earlier Pharaohs is well authenticated by Egyptian history and the British museum contains specimens of primitive board quite similar to the modern ones. The roots of the checkers are intertwined with those of chess, a sister game, and there is some conjecture over priority. Checkers being simpler in form, it is reasonable to presume it was devised first, and that chess followed as an elaboration. Plato and Homer mention checkers in their works and the Romans are believed to have imported it from Greece. Comparison of these games of antiquity with the modern pastime may be speculative, nevertheless, the earliest publications on record show the 12 men on each side and the conventional board.
   Antonio Torquemada of Valencia, Spain, published the first book on checkers in 1547. Other Spanish issues followed and in 1650 Juan Garsia Canalejas published a notable volume containing games and traps that are still dependable. The Spaniards may have received their knowledge from older sources in Arabia through the Moors.
   William Payne, a mathematician, was the pioneer of English draughts literature and his book, Guide to the Game of Draughts, appeared in 1756. A striking feature of Payne's book is the dedication by Samuel Johnson, who was exceedingly fond of the game. In 1800 Joshua Sturges brought out a treatise that served as a textbook for nearly half a century until the advent of Andrew Anderson's elaborate compilation in 1848. Thereafter the literature grew at a rapid pace and by 1900 the books counted up in the hundreds.
   After 1900 the growth of scientific play was stepped up by the advancement of U.S. players, who made rapid progress, spurred on by their first team match with a representative British group in 1905.


   Want to learn game strategies and rules? Check out these books! Bookmark us, so you can remember where you saw that Checkers book! These books are shipped from Amazon.

  • cover Win at Checkers by Millard Hopper.
    The book actually presents, in simple terms, a lifetime of checker experience by one of the greatest players of all time. Individual chapters discuss the basic principles of the game, experts' shots and traps, how the beginner loses, standard openings, locating your best move, the end game, opening "blitzkrieg" moves, ways to draw when you are one man less your opponent, two and three move restrictions, and the standard rules of checkers. In other words, here is a book that treats checkers as a game of skill, not just as the casual recreation or "kid's" game most people feel it is.
  • cover Starting Out in Checkers by Richard Pask.
    Checkers (known as Draughts in the UK) is perhaps the world's best known board game with its history being traced back more than 3,500 years. The attraction of the game is that, despite the great simplicity of the rules, highly complex play can result. In this user-friendly introduction to the game,...
  • cover How to Win at Checkers by Fred Reinfeld.
    More tips on improving your Checkers game, from the experts, as well as rules of the game, strategy tips and hints, and suggestions for playing a winning game.
  • cover Play Winning Checkers: Official American Mensa Game Books by Robert W. Pike.
    Gr 8 Up-A book for both beginning and advanced players. Pike points out the benefits of this multigenerational, all-inclusive, interactive game and recommends it to improve concentration and the ability to deal with complex situations. Early pages discuss the history of this ancient game...
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