How to Play Checkers

How to Play Checkers

How to Play Checkers

Checkers is an easy to learn game that can bring hours of fun. Called Draughts in most countries, the game of Checkers dates back to at least the fourteenth century and possibly even further back into antiquity. The rules for the game are straight forward. Here is how to play Checkers according to the US Standard Rules.

Setting Up The Game Board

The checkerboard is made up of 64 squares, alternating in a light and dark pattern. 32 squares are light, and 32 squares are dark. Checkers is played by two players, each starting with 12 tiles. One player has the light tiles and one the dark tiles. The board is set up so that each player has a light square in the right corner on his side of the board. Each player lays out his tiles on the 12 dark squares of the three rows closest to him. Two rows will be empty in the middle of the board.

Playing The Game

The player with the dark tiles moves first. Players will usually use some form of chance, like flipping a coin, to decide which player uses the dark tiles. After the first move, players take turns moving their tiles. Tiles may only be moved onto the dark squares, so all moves must be made diagonally. Single tiles may only be moved forward and only one tile at a time.

An opponent’s tile may be captured, that is removed from the board, by jumping over it with a tile. The tile must be moved in a straight diagonal line directly to the square on the other side of the opponent’s tile. Only one of the opponent’s tiles may be captured in each jump, however multiple jumps may take place in a single turn if the initial tile moved is in position to make another jump. If a jump is possible, it must be played. The player has no choice. If there are multiple jumps possible, the player may choose which jump to make.

When a tile reaches the furthest row from it’s starting position, the tile is crowned and becomes a king. One of the tiles previously removed from the board is placed on top of that tile so that it is of double height. While kings are also limited to moving diagonally, moving only on the dark tiles, they may move either forward or backwards. This flexibility can be a major advantage in the game.

Ending the Game

A Checkers match ends when one of the opponents cannot make a move. This is usually caused by one player having his last tile captured. It can also happen, though, when one player has all tiles completely circled by his opponent, leaving him no place to move.

While these game rules are from the US Standard Rules, other variations of the game exist. Checkers can be played as a friendly game between friends or in tournaments around the country. Those interested in playing Checkers at the tournament level should contact The American Checker Federation for more information.

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