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Checkers — A Guide for Beginners

Outdoor checkers tournament

If you’re looking for a classic board game that’s easy to learn and fun to play, checkers is a great choice. Also known as draughts, it has been played for centuries and is enjoyed by people of all ages. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started playing the game.

Checkers gameplay

For generations, Checkers, also called Draughts, has been a beloved pastime enjoyed by folks of all ages. The rules are simple, making it a cinch to learn and giving players the potential for countless hours of amusement.

To get started, each player places their pieces on the dark squares of the board. The pieces can only move diagonally and can only capture an opponent’s piece by jumping over it to an empty square. Should a checker piece reach the opposite end of the board, it gets promoted to the esteemed rank of a “king” piece, which grants the privilege of moving in both directions, forwards and backwards.

A good player must always be one step ahead, anticipating their opponent’s moves and planning their own. A well-executed jump or blockade can quickly turn the game in your favor.


Checkers is a game of strategy and tactics, and winning requires careful planning and execution.Maintain a unified front: It's important to keep your pieces closely linked and in proximity to each other to establish a solid defensive wall that can defend against your opponent's moves.Scan the board for opportunities to jump over your opponent's pieces, as this clever tactic can provide you with a big edge and enable you to snatch up several pieces in a single move.Aim for kinging: If possible, aim to get one of your pieces to the opposite end of the board and become a king.Remember, winning in checkers requires both skill and luck.

What is best - Checkers or Chess?

The age-old battle: Checkers vs. Chess! While both games require strategy and critical thinking, they each have their unique quirks and challenges. Checkers has simple rules and an emphasis on capturing your opponent's pieces, making it a thrilling and competitive experience. Chess can be a more cerebral and challenging game, perfect for those who enjoy a mental workout. Whether you prefer the adrenaline rush of checkers or the mental gymnastics of chess, both games provide endless hours of fun and excitement. So, which is better? It really depends on your personal preferences! If you enjoy fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled games, then Checkers might be more up your alley. But if you enjoy more methodical, strategic gameplay, then Chess is the way to go.

Does double jumping in Checkers exist?

You betcha! In checkers, a double jump, also known as a "multiple capture," is when a piece jumps over not one, but two of your opponent's pieces in a single turn. Because it allows your piece to jump over two of your opponent's pieces in one move, a double jump can result in some serious gains on the board. It's like a turbo boost for your piece and can quickly turn the game in your favor.

How old is Checkers?

The classic game of Checkers is a timeless source of entertainment that has been around for longer than you might think! Did you know that its origins can be traced back thousands of years? That's right, the game of checkers has been enjoyed by people for centuries. In fact, the earliest version of checkers was played in ancient Egypt around 3000 BC! While the game has evolved over time and is now played on more sophisticated boards with standardized pieces, the basic rules have remained the same for centuries. The basic concept of moving pieces diagonally and capturing opponents' pieces has remained consistent throughout its long and rich history.

What first move is the best in Checkers?

In Checkers, there isn't a single "best" first move. However, most experienced players will recommend starting with a center piece, either in the third or fourth row. This allows for flexibility in the game, as it opens up multiple paths for your pieces to move and can also help in creating a strong defensive line. The opening move in checkers can set the tone for the entire game. There are several popular opening moves, but no move can guarantee a win. Nonetheless, certain players opt for a more daring approach to begin the game. One such approach is to make an aggressive opening move, such as executing a double-corner opening. In this move, the player moves two pieces from diagonally opposite corners of the board, aiming to control the central area and apply early pressure on their opponent. Other players might opt for a more defensive opening move, such as the single-corner opening, which involves moving a single piece to one of the corners of the board. Ultimately, the best opening move depends on the player's individual style and strategy.

Is Checkers good for your brain?

Yes, playing Checkers can be good for your brain! Delving into a game of checkers not only brings about heaps of entertainment but also provides the added advantage of enhancing one's focus, memory, and strategic thinking abilities, according to several studies. In other words, indulging in the game of Checkers is like treating your brain to a fun workout session, resulting in a sharpened cognitive edge. Additionally, playing Checkers can promote socialization and improve communication skills, as players often engage in friendly banter and conversation during the game. So next time you're looking for a mentally stimulating activity, consider a game of Checkers!

The Rules of Checkers

Checkers has remained the same across all of board game history. It’s a board game where players take turns moving their pieces diagonally forward one space at a time, except for capturing moves. The game is played on an 8×8 board with alternating light and dark squares.

Each player starts with 12 pieces placed on the dark squares of the first three rows on their side of the board. Here are the basic rules to keep in mind:


The goal of checkers is to capture all of your opponent’s pieces or to block them, so they can’t move.


• Each player moves one piece at a time.
• Pieces move diagonally forward one space at a time, except capturing moves.
• If a player’s piece lands on a square adjacent to an opponent’s piece and the square behind it is empty, they can capture the opponent’s piece by jumping over it and landing on the empty square.
• The captured piece is then removed from the board.


If a player’s piece reaches the last row on their opponent’s side of the board, it is “crowned” and becomes a “king”. Kings can move diagonally forward and backward. Kings can also make multiple capturing moves in a single turn.

End of Game

Checkers ends when one player captures all of their opponent’s pieces or when their opponent is unable to make a legal move.


Checkers is played in various versions worldwide, and each has different rules and strategies. Here are a few popular variations:

English Draughts

English Draughts is the most widely played version of checkers globally in this variant.

• The game is played on an 8×8 board with 12 pieces per player.
• Pieces move only diagonally forward, one space at a time.
• Capturing is mandatory when possible.
• If a piece reaches the last row on the opponent’s side of the board, it becomes a king and can move forward and backward.

American Checkers

This variant is played on the same 8×8 board as English Draughts but with only 10 pieces per player.

• Pieces move diagonally forward or backward, one space at a time.
• Capturing is mandatory when possible.
• If a piece reaches the last row on the opponent’s side of the board, it becomes a king and can move forward and backward.

International Draughts

International Draughts is the most complex variation of the game, played on a 10×10 board with 20 pieces per player, in this variant.

• Pieces move diagonally forward or backward, one space at a time.
• Capturing is mandatory when possible.
• Kings can move both forward and backward, and can also make multiple capturing moves in a single turn.

Wrap Up

Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting, checkers is an excellent game to improve your problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, and concentration. It’s a game that can be played by people of all ages and can be enjoyed casually and competitively. So grab a board and some pieces, and start playing today!