checkers[ edit ]


Draughts, also known as checkers, is a group of board games between two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over the enemy´s pieces.

The most popular forms are international draughts, played on a 10×10 board, followed by English draughts, also called American checkers that is played on a 8×8 board, but there are many other variants.

The name "draughts" is preferred by English players and others in the United Kingdom and its former colonies and territories. In the United States, Canada, and Australia the name "checkers" is preferred. This article treats the names "checkers" and "draughts" as synonyms, though the longstanding name "draughts" is used except in specific references to the game in these countries, where "checkers" is used.

History
Though many authorities believe the game of draughts originated around 1100 AD, probably in southern France, other authorities disagree. It has been generally held that the inventor created the board game by combining a chessboard with the rules of Alquerque. Earlier evidence has been found of a similar game played in ancient Egypt, and mentions of the game had been made by Plato and Homer in the first few centuries BC. Egyptian origins can be traced as far back as 1600 BC.

The game pieces of draughts in 1100 AD were called "ferses", the name that was given to chess queens in this time period, and the draught ferses moved in the same way as the queen did in chess. Note however that at this time the queen was able to move only one square per turn. The one new move this game introduced was the ability to jump over an opponent´s pieces and take them. At this time the game was known as "Fierges".

In Philip Mouskat´s "Chronique" (1243) is a reference to the use of "Kings", suggesting that the ability to promote a piece existed at this time.

When in Chess "ferses" were renamed to "Dame", the same occurred in Draughts, and the game´s name also changed to "Dames". While it is thought that the original Fierges had a compulsory capture rule, there is no evidence that this rule existed in Dames. This rule was however reintroduced in France in 1535. Modern play includes this rule.

The name "Checkers" originated with European settlers in the United States. The version of checkers most often played in the United States is identical to the English variant of draughts, though there are some regional variants of checkers, such as pool.

In the 18th century an anonymous Pole invented the variant of draughts that is played on a 10×10 board with 2×20 pieces. This variant was called Polish draughts and was later called international draughts.

General rules
Draughts is played by two people, on opposite sides of a playing board, alternating moves. One player has dark pieces, and the other has light pieces. The player with the light pieces makes the first move unless stated otherwise. Pieces move diagonally and pieces of the opponent are captured by jumping over them. The playable surface consists only of the dark squares. Capturing is mandatory. A piece that is captured is removed from the board. In all variants, the player who has no pieces left or cannot move anymore has lost the game unless otherwise stated.

Here are some important terms to know:
  • Flying kings - kings that can move as far as they want in diagonals like a bishop in chess. However, flying kings cannot capture like a Bishop.
  • Crownhead or Kings Row - the farthest row forward where men become kings when they touched this row.

Uncrowned pieces (in other words, men) move one step and capture other pieces by making two steps (that is, jumping over the opponents´ piece).

Variants
  • International draughts - The board size is 10×10 with 20 pieces on each side and has flying kings. If there are many sequences to capture, one has to capture the sequence that has the most pieces. If a man touches the kings row from a jump and it can continue to jump backwards, it has to jump backwards, but it is not kinged. It is mainly played in the Netherlands, France, some eastern European countries, some parts of Africa, some parts of the former USSR, and other European countries. This is the most popular variant of draughts.
  • English draughts - Also called American checkers or "straight checkers". It is played on an 8×8 board with 12 pieces on each side. Black (the darker color) moves first. Men (the uncrowned pieces) can only move and capture forward. When there is more than one way for a player to jump, one may choose which sequence to make, not necessarily the sequence that will result in the most amount of captures. However, one must make all the captures in that sequence.
  • Brazilian checkers - Exactly the same rules as international draughts, but it is played on a 8×8 board. It is mainly played in Brazil.
  • Canadian checkers - Exactly the same rules as international draughts, but it is played on a 12×12 board with 30 pieces on each side. It is mainly played in Canada.
  • Pool checkers - Exactly the same rules as Brazilian checkers but when there is more than one way for a player to jump, one may choose which sequence to make, not necessarily the sequence that will result in the most amount of captures. However, one must make all the captures in that sequence. Another different rule between Brazilian checkers is in which black moves first, instead of white. It is mainly played in the South-Eastern states in the United States.
  • Spanish checkers - Also called Spanish pool checkers. Men cannot jump backwards. Exactly the same rules as Brazilian checkers, but if there are many sequences to capture, one has to capture the sequence that has the most pieces. If there are still more sequences, one has to capture the sequence that has the most kings. The board is mirrored (the left side is flipped to the right side and vice versa). It is mainly played in some parts in South America and some Northern African countries.
  • Russian checkers - Also called shashki checkers or Russian shashki checkers. Exactly the same rules as Brazilian checkers, but if a man touches the kings row from a jump and it can continue to jump backwards, it has to jump backwards as kings, not men. It is mainly played in some parts in Russia, some parts of the former USSR Brazilian checkers, but if a man touches the kings row from a jump and it can continue to jump backwards, it has to jump backwards as kings, not men. It is mainly played in some parts in Russia, some parts of the former USSR, and Israel.
  • Italian checkers - Men cannot jump kings and men cannot jump backwards. If there are many sequences to capture, one has to capture the sequence that has the most pieces. If there are still more sequences, one has to capture with a king instead of a man. If there are still more sequences, one has to capture the sequence that has the most kings. If there are still more sequences, one has to capture the sequence that has a king first. The board is mirrored (the left side is flipped to the right side and vice versa). It is mainly played in Italy, and some Northern African countries.
  • Suicide checkers - Also called anti-checkers, giveaway checkers or losing draughts. One has to give away all of one´s pieces or block all of your pieces to win; that is, stop oneself from having a legal move.
  • Russian poddavki checkers - Suicide version of Russian checkers.
  • In Turkish draughts pieces move straight forwards or sideways, kings moving like a rook in chess, so that both red and black squares are used. Each player starts with 16 pieces in the first two rows. It is played in the same locations as Russian checkers.

Halma and Chinese checkers

Halma is a game in which pieces can move in any direction and jump over any other piece, friend or enemy. Pieces are not captured. Each player starts with 19 (2-player) or 13 (4-player) pieces all in one corner and tries to move them all into the opposite corner. Halma is actually a very different game than checkers.

Chinese checkers is based on Halma, but uses a star-shaped board divided into triangles. Contrary to its name, this game is not of Chinese origin, nor is it based on checkers.

References


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article No 872 / last change on 2005-07-01, 09:50pm

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This article is based on the article checkers from the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and stands under the GNU-Licence for free documentation. In the Wikipedia a list of the authors is available.

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