Free checkers or draughts are a group of board games played by two players at a time. The strategy board games include diagonal tactics of stable game pieces or fractions and are played by hopping the pieces of your opponent.
Draughts or checkers are the advanced versions of Alquerque (a board game that originated from the Middle East).
However, the name Draught derives from the action of drawing or moving. On the other hand, the term checkers derives from a checkerboard used to play games.
The most popularly played draughts are- American checkers or English draughts played on a checkerboard of size 8*8; Turkish draught and Russian draught played on 8*8 board; International draughts played on an 8*8 checkerboards.
Malaysian and Singaporean draughts and Canadian draughts are played on a 12*12 checkerboard.
Variants of Checkers or Draughts
There are numerous variants of checkboard games that have evolved to date. Its varieties are as follows.
- Blue and Grey- It is a 9*9 checkerboard having 17 defending pieces on each side of the board. The pieces are free to jump or move in any direction to make the way clear for a captain piece that moves straight to the middle of the board to defeat the opponent pieces.
- Cheskers- The variant was invented by Solomon Golomb. The board pieces are classified into- a camel, bishop, King and men. The game starts with the movement of a bishop and a camel that hops with the coordinates of 3,1 instead of 2,1. The men support to promote the rank of a camel, bishop or King.
- Damath- The variant is popular in the Philippines. To play the game, you must have a good knowledge of math and use the numbered chips.
- Dameo- The board was invented by Christian Freeling. The game is played on an8*8 board that has 64 squares and allow the movement of the pieces in the diagonal and orthogonal direction. It has a different sliding move or tactic used for moving a row of checkers.
- Hexdame- A form of International draughts played on a hexagonal checkerboard.
- Lasca- A variant of checker played on a 7*7 board and uses 25 fields. The game is played by building a tower through jumped pieces that are jumped beneath the jumper. However, only the leading piece is captured to win the game.
- Philosophy shogi checkers- The game is played on a 9*9 checkerboard and ends with capturing the king.
- Suicide checkers- The variant of the checker is also known as losing draughts, anti-checkers or giveaway checkers. In this game, the goal of each player is to lose all game pieces.
- Tiers- A complex checkerboard variant that allows the players to elevate their game pieces into kings or beyond them.
- Vigman’s draught- To play the game, each player possesses two full sets or 24 pieces in which one set is placed on dark squares and the other set on tight squares. Here, a single-player play two games at the same time, one on dark squares and the second on light squares. The final result is evaluated by the summation of the outcomes for both games.
How to Play Free Checkers?
If you are a newbie to checkers, you must learn how to play them. Here, we will discuss the game setup and rules for playing checkers. So, you can start your gaming journey at the earliest.
The Game Setup
As we’ve discussed, what checker games are? It’s time to know, how to play them.
Two players sit on the opposite side of the table facing each other, one of them gets the dark pieces and the other receive lighter ones.
A standard checkerboard has a 10*10 grid of alternating coloured squares(dark and light) in which the pieces are acquired by the dark squares only. Though there are different sizes of checkerboards that we had discussed in the “variants” section, a 10*10 is the most common board to play on. The board comes with two sets of pieces comprising 20 circular disks in each set. Hence, each player gets a single set of pieces.
Rules to Play Checkers
The rules for playing checkers are simple to learn and understand. Read the list of regulations given below.
- Each player gets alternate turns to move their pieces.
- The light squares are kept empty whereas the dark squares occupy the positions on the checkerboard.
- Each turn includes the movement of a single piece that comprises of a piece moving ahead to an adjacent diagonal square that is vacant or jumping ahead to a diagonal adjacent occupied square, given that the square should also be vacant.
- If a player captures the position of their competitor’s piece, he has successfully occupied the piece and that specific piece will be removed from the board.
- Initially, each piece implies a man but changes into a king if it moves to the farthest side of the board. When the situation occurs, a player piles up an extra piece to the top of the original piece to show the change.
- Men can only move in the forward direction while the kings can shift their positions diagonally forward or backwards.
- Both kings and men can jump over multiple pieces given that there are successive vacant squares beyond the pieces that are jumped.
Strategies to Win Checkers.
So far we have discussed the setup and rules for playing checkers. Now, let’s know some tips to win them.
- Don’t get worried if you lose the pieces until it gives you an advantage.
- Try to capture the centre of the boards as it boosts your chances of winning the game.
- Move your pieces in groups in the forward direction to strengthen them.
- Concentrate on capturing as many kings as you can.
- Prevent yourself from losing kings because it can make you lose the game. You can protect your kings by strengthening your pieces on the posterior row of your checkerboard game.
- If you are in the leading position during the game, lose a single piece of yours for the competitor to gain an advantage at the crucial times in the game.