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Checkers (which is also known as chequers or draughts) was first played in France during the 12th century, possibly based on the even older game of Alquerque. Subscribe to our FREE newsletter and you can download a copy of our ebook "The Family Guide to Dice Games" as a free gift. This popular game is known as Checkers in the United States, and Draughts in much of the rest of the world.
The rules to the game are relatively simple, though strategy can be deeper than you might expect.
The object of the game is to eliminate all of your opponent's pieces from the board, before they manage to do the same to you. Each piece may move forward diagonally either one space (if the space is empty) [Example #1] or two spaces (if the adjacent space is occupied by an opponent's man, and the space beyond it is empty) [Example #2]. If your first move resulted in a capture, and you land in a position to jump another of your opponent's pieces, jump (and capture) that piece as well [Example #3].
When one of your pieces reaches the last row of your opponent's board (called "King's Row"), it is transformed into a "King", and granted a special power – it can now move both forward and back! If an opponent's piece is adjacent to yours, and there is an empty space beyond it, then you must jump over his piece and remove it from the board, and must continue jumping as long as there are moves to be made. If a single piece reaches the opponent's kings row by jumping, it must stop to be crowned, and may not continue moving in the same turn, even if additional plays are available. If neither player is able to move a piece (or if both players agree that the game is unwinnable), the game is declared a "draw", and is replayed. Although "American Checkers" (or "Standard Checkers") is the most commonly played checkers in the United States, there are actually quite a large number of variations played around the world. Note that in the diagram, pieces are shown on the light squares rather than the dark squares.
Squares on the board which may be occupied by checkers pieces are numbered 1 to 32, starting at the upper left. It is usually better to play your men towards the middle of the board, rather than playing to the edges, since this gives you the greatest number of choices for movement. Take your time and think through your moves; don't allowed yourself to be pressured by your opponent to "hurry up". Avoid dividing your pieces if possible, and as your numbers dim, concentrate them in one area if you can.
In planning your own strategy, don't neglect to take into account your opponent's probable plans. Don't be afraid to sacrifice some of men in order to force your opponent into moves which thwart his probable plans. When losing some of your pieces seems inevitable, take out as many of your opponent's men as possible in the bargain. When playing against a superior opponent, note their opening moves, and copy their tactics.

Obviously, kings are most valuable pieces, so reaching your opponent's king row is important.
To learn more about the game, consult one of the many fine Checkers Books, or the web sites below, which provide additional rule and strategy guides. Masters Traditional Games: Rules of DraughtsThese rules are provided by Masters Traditional Games, an Internet shop. The Standard Laws of CheckersThese rules, from Jim Loy's Checkers Pages, describes the official rules of the game, with his own annotations.
Wikipedia English Draughts RulesRules for English Draughts (more commonly known as checkers), from the free online encyclopedia.
The board consists of 64 squares, alternating between 32 dark and 32 light squares. Each player places his or her discs on the 12 dark squares closest to him or her. A disc making a non-capturing move (not involving a jump) may move only one square.
A disc making a capturing move (a jump) leaps over one of the opponent's discs, landing in a straight diagonal line on the other side. If a player is able to make a capture, there is no option -- the jump must be made.
When a disc reaches the furthest row from the player who controls that disc, it is crowned and becomes a king. Kings may combine jumps in several directions -- forward and backward -- on the same turn.
Players take alternate turns to move one piece diagonally to a vacant square, starting with Black.
Players can capture an opponent's piece by jumping over it in a straight line to a vacant square. If a player moves one of their pieces to the home rank of the opposing player, that piece becomes a King. The game finishes when one player captures all their opponent's pieces or blocks their opponent so they cannot move any of their pieces. It is a two-player game played on a board made up of 64 alternately-colored squares, eight to a side. The following overview of how to play Checkers is intended to introduce you to the basic concepts of the game; further study would be wise for serious players. If a piece "jumps over" an opposing man, that man is "captured" and removed from the board.
A sequence of several moves may thus be strung together, resulting in the capture of more than one of your opponent's men in a single move, an often-crushing blow to your opponent's hopes.
A king is usually denoted by stacking two regular pieces, and is sometimes called "kinging" or "crowning".

That notation is used by most Checkers Software to record and play back games, and to aid in analysis and strategy discussions. Checkers supports both 1 and 2 player gameplay, so you can play against your friends or test your skills against a challenging computer opponent. It is positioned so that each player has a light square on the right side corner closest to him or her. Only one disc may be captured in a single jump; however, multiple jumps are allowed on a single turn. If more than one capture is available, the player is free to choose whichever he or she prefers.
One of the discs which had been captured is placed on top of the king so that it is twice as high as a single disc. Single discs may shift direction diagonally during a multiple capture turn, but must always jump forward (toward the opponent).
In most cases, this is because all of the opponent's discs have been captured, but it could also be because all of his discs are blocked in. Sometimes they have a crown on one side to show a piece has become a King (see step 4); if so, pieces start the game with the crown face-down. Note that the game is only played on the black squares, with the black square in the lower left corner.
Some counters are designed with a crown on one side, so that the piece can be flipped over to show it is a King. Unfortunately, games quite often end in a draw when neither player can block or capture all of their opponent's pieces. They are not a complete set of standard regulations encompassing all situations that might be encountered.
3 AI levels of gameplay (beginner, expert, master) lets you keep having fun as you improve your game. Capturing is not optional - you must capture an opponent's piece if there is an opportunity to do so.
Other counters are made to fit on top of each other so that a King is shown by two pieces joined together.
Once a piece has moved and you take your finger off it, it cannot be moved again until your next turn. You can also capture multiple pieces as long as there is a vacant square between each piece, even if they are not in a straight line (see diagram below).
Note: Good players can use a forced capture in a strategic move to make their opponent move a piece for their own advantage.

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