Checkers is a form of the draughts board game played on an 8×8 board with 12 pieces on each side that may only initially move and capture diagonally forwards. Only when a piece is "kinged" may it move backwards or forwards.
As in all draughts variants, Checkers is played by two people, on opposite sides of a playing board, alternating moves. One player has black pieces, and the other has white or red pieces. Most commonly, the board alternates between red and black. The opponent's pieces are captured by jumping over them.
- Pieces - The pieces are usually made of wood and are flat and cylindrical. They are invariably split into one darker and one lighter color. Traditionally, these colors are red and white, but red and black are common in the U.S., and light- and dark-stained wood are supplied with more expensive sets. There are two classes of pieces: "men" and "kings". Kings are differentiated as consisting of two normal pieces of the same color, stacked one on top of the other. Often indentations are added to the pieces to aid stacking.
- Starting Position - Each player starts with 12 pieces on the dark spaces of the three rows closest to his own side, as shown in the diagram. The row closest to each player is called the "crown head" or "kings row". The black (darker color) side moves first.
- How to move - There are two ways to move a piece:
- A simple move involves sliding a piece one space diagonally forwards (also diagonally backwards in the case of kings) to an adjacent unoccupied dark square.
- A jump is a move from a square diagonally adjacent to one of the opponent's pieces to an empty square immediately and directly on the opposite side of the opponent's square, thus "jumping directly over" the square containing the opponent's piece. An uncrowned piece can only jump diagonally forwards, but a king can also jump diagonally backwards but only one space. A piece that is jumped is captured and removed from the board. Multiple-jump moves are possible if, when the jumping piece lands, there is another immediate piece that can be jumped, even if the jump is in a different direction. When multiple-option jumping moves are available, whether with the one piece in different directions or multiple pieces that can make various jumping moves, the player may choose which piece to jump with and which jumping option or sequence of jumps to make. The jumping sequence chosen does not necessarily have to be the one that would have resulted in the most captures; however, one must make all available captures in the chosen sequence. Any piece, whether it is a king or not, can jump a king.
- Kings - If a player's piece moves into the kings row on the opposing player's side of the board, that piece is said to be "crowned" (or often "kinged" in the U.S.), becoming a "king" and gaining the ability to move both forwards and backwards. If a player's piece jumps into the kings row, the current move terminates; having just been crowned, the piece cannot continue on by jumping back out (as in a multiple jump), until the next move. A piece is normally "crowned" by placing a second piece on top of it; some sets have pieces with a crown molded, engraved or painted on one side, allowing the player to simply turn the piece over or to place the crown-side up on the crowned piece, further differentiating Kings from ordinary pieces.
- How the game ends - A player wins by capturing all of the opposing player's pieces, or by leaving the opposing player with no legal moves.
In tournament Checkers, a variation called three-move restriction is preferred. The first three moves are drawn at random from a set of accepted openings. Two games are played with the chosen opening, each player having a turn at either side. This tends to reduce the number of draws and can make for more exciting matches. Three-move restriction has been played in the United States championship since 1934. A two-move restriction was used from 1900 until 1934 in the United States and in the British Isles until the 1950s. Before 1900, championships were played without restriction: this style is called go-as-you-please (GAYP).
One rule of long standing that has fallen out of favor is the "huffing" rule. In this variation jumping is not mandatory, but if a player does not take their jump because either they (1.) did not see it or (2.) refuse, the piece that could have made the jump is "blown" or "huffed," (which eliminates it from the game). After huffing the offending piece, the opponent then takes his or her turn as normal.
Three common misinterpretations of the rules are:
- that the game ends in a draw when a player has no legal move but still pieces remaining
- that capturing with a king precedes capturing with a regular piece (In such a case, any available capture can be made at the player's choice)
- a piece which in the current move has become a king can then in the same move go on to capture other pieces
Chapters that PlayEdit