Is checkers just as simple as we think?

Xilin Chen, Reporter


Checkers, or draughts, is a board game between two players. Just like other board games, the main purpose of checkers is bringing fun to players and improving logical progressions. Checkers share the same board as chess, which is a 8-by-8 board with squares of alternative colors of dark (Red or Black) and white. However, checkers has a very different set up of pieces and rules.


As a popular game, checkers has several different systems of rules. The rules in this article are English Draughts rules. Though there are different systems of how to play checkers, the starting positions of the systems turn out to be similar. Both sides arrange all of their checkers (all identical) on the dark square on the first three lines of each side, as the starting position. The player who is on the side, with the dark pieces, moves the first.

Considered a piece uncrowned, it can only move forward diagonally to an unoccupied dark square. When it jumps, or captures any enemy pieces, player A moves one of the pieces from a dark square that is diagonally adjacent to one of player B’s piece to the empty space right beyond player B’s piece in the same direction. Player A then can remove the player B’s piece. If there are any possible jumps, the player is forced to take the jump (One important condition is that on player A’s perspective, B has to be in front of A, not behind). After one jump occurs, if more jumps are possible, the player can and has to take the consecutive jumps.

What is crowning then? Crowning happens if any piece ever reaches the last line of the enemy side. Then the crowned piece, known as the king, could move and capture both forward and backward. When any player crowns one of their pieces by capturing, they cannot make any consecutive jump backward. They have to hand the turn to the opponent.

During a game, players on both sides are making calculations in their mind of how to manipulate their pieces to manage to a win. Victory can be reached if all enemy troops are removed, or they have no legal moves. If this cannot be reached on both side, it is considered a draw.

All of the pieces are played in the dark squares only!


As a strategy board game, checkers requires many thoughts. Different than chess, checkers is a multi-purpose game since chess is aimed on the king, while checkers is aimed on all of the pieces. It could sound like checkers has no specific target, but that is not accurate. As a way to get advantages, targets are created usually on the enemy’s weakness. Therefore, the players should think of creating such weaknesses; for instance, creating a blank on the enemy’s side, which is helpful to crown a piece to a king. Players should also avoid the similar tactics their opponent uses on them. Another way to seize the advantage is to activate pieces rapidly; this is a way to increase the spatial advantage. In that way, the pieces have more actions to be considered, simultaneously reducing the action of some enemy pieces.

Real Life Connections

Checkers is a popular board game. Its popularity may exceed chess because of its convenience. However, checkers is definitely not simple. The attraction to checkers could be related to real life. For instance, pieces in checkers may represent equality, but it reflects that such equality in society is relative. Some pieces may be considered to have better positions than others during certain positions or situations. The rule of forced captured, represents any forcing situations in real life—like challenges. This suggests that the only way is to face a challenge is head on. This could also bring up a question: could we do something to avoid the forced situations in life? The most important thing checkers brings its players is fun. Maintaining a positive altitude is very important, otherwise everything will just collapse, like when the pieces are being jumped consecutively.