Starting position on a 10×10 draughts board.
Genre(s) Board game Players 2 Age range Recommended[by whom?] 5 years and up. Setup time 10-60 seconds Random chance None Skill(s) required Tactics, Strategy
Draughts ( //, British English; checkers, American English) is a group of abstract strategy board games between two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over the enemy's pieces. Draughts developed from alquerque. The name derives from the verb to draw or to move.
The most popular forms are international draughts, played on a 10×10 board, followed by English draughts, also called American checkers, played on an 8×8 checkerboard, but there are many other variants including 12×12 which is gaining popularity.
- 1 General rules
- 2 Variants
- 3 History
- 4 Computer draughts
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Draughts is played by two people, on opposite sides of a playing board, alternating moves. One player has dark pieces, and the other has light pieces. It is against the rules for one player to move the other player's pieces. The player with the light pieces makes the first move unless stated otherwise. Pieces move diagonally and opponents' pieces are captured by jumping over them to an unoccupied square. The playable surface consists only of the dark squares. A piece may only move into an unoccupied square. Capturing is not mandatory in most official rules, though many people play with variant rules that make capturing to be mandatory. In all variants, the player who has no pieces left or cannot move anymore has lost the game unless otherwise stated.
Uncrowned pieces ("men") move one step diagonally forwards and capture other pieces by making two steps in the same direction, jumping over the opponent's piece on the intermediate square. Multiple opposing pieces may be captured in a single turn provided this is done by successive jumps made by a single piece; these jumps do not need to be in the same direction but may zigzag. In English draughts men can only capture forwards, but in international draughts they may also capture (diagonally) backwards.
When men reach the crownhead or kings row (the farthest row forward), they become kings, marked by placing an additional piece on top of the first, and acquire additional powers including the ability to move backwards (and capture backwards, in variants in which they cannot already do so). As with men, a king may make successive jumps in a single turn provided that each is a capture.
In international draughts, with the flying kings rule kings can move as far as they want along unblocked diagonals. This move can (but needn't) end by a capture in the usual way, jumping over an opposing piece to an adjacent unoccupied square. Since captured pieces remain on the board until the turn is complete, with flying kings it possible for a king to reach a position where he is blocked from moving further by a piece he has just captured.
Flying kings are not used in English draughts, in which a king's only advantage over a man is the ability to move and capture backwards as well as forwards.
National and regional standard rules
National variant Board size Pieces per side Long range kings? Can men capture backwards? Who moves first? Capture constraints Notes International draughts (or Polish draughts) 10×10 20 yes yes White A sequence must capture the maximum possible number of pieces. Pieces only promote when they land on the final rank, not when they pass through it. It is mainly played in the Netherlands, Suriname, France, Belgium, some eastern European countries, some parts of Africa, some parts of the former USSR, and other European countries English draughts 8×8 12 no no Black Any sequence may be chosen, as long as all possible captures are made. Failing to capture results in forfeiture of the piece (huffing). Also called American checkers or "straight checkers", since it is also played in the USA. Brazilian draughts 8×8 12 yes yes White A sequence must capture the maximum possible number of pieces. Played in Brazil. The rules come from international draughts, but board size and number of pieces come from English draughts.
In the Philippines, it is known as "derecha" and is played on a mirrored board, often replaced by a crossed lined board (only diagonals are represented).
Ghanaian draughts 10×10 20 yes yes White Any sequence may be chosen, as long as all possible captures are made. Accidentally passing up a king's capture opportunity leads to forfeiture of the king. Played in Ghana. The board is mirrored (the left side is flipped to the right side and vice versa). You lose if you are left with a single piece (man or king). Canadian draughts 12×12 30 yes yes White A sequence must capture the maximum possible number of pieces. International rules, on a 12x12 board. Mainly played in Canada. Malaysian draughts / Singaporean draughts 12×12 30 yes no not fixed Capture is forced. Failing to do so results in forfeiture of that piece (huffing). Mainly played in Malaysia, Singapore and the region nearby. Also known locally as "Black-White Chess". Sometimes it is also played on 8x8 board when 12x12 board is not available. 10x10 board is rare in this region. Frisian draughts 10×10 20 yes yes White A sequence of capture must give the maximum "value" to the capture, and a king (called a wolf) has a value of less than two men but more than one man. If a sequence with a capturing wolf and a sequence with a capturing man have the same value, the wolf must capture. The main difference with the other games is that the captures can be made diagonally, but also straight forward and sideways. Played in Netherlands. Pool checkers 8×8 12 yes yes Black Any sequence may be chosen, as long as all possible captures are made. It is mainly played in the southeastern United States. In many games at the end one adversary has three kings while the other one has just one king. In such a case the first adversary must win in thirteen moves or the game is declared a draw. Spanish draughts 8×8 12 yes no White A sequence must capture the maximum possible number of pieces, and the maximum possible number of kings from all such sequences. Also called Spanish pool checkers. The board is mirrored (the left side is flipped to the right side and vice versa). It is mainly played in Portugal and in some parts of South America and some Northern African countries. Russian checkers 8×8 12 yes yes White Any sequence may be chosen, as long as all possible captures are made. Also called shashki or Russian shashki checkers. If a man touches the kings row from a jump and it can continue to jump backwards, it jumps backwards as a king, not as a man. It is mainly played in some parts of Russia, some parts of the former USSR, and Israel. In many games at the end one adversary has three kings while the other one has just one king. In such a case the first adversary normally wins if (s)he occupies the main diagonal first and then builds the so-called Petrov's triangle. 2 variants must be signaled : the 10x8 variant(wide 10, high 8), and the poddavki, which is the give away variant of shashki (it has official championships). Italian draughts 8×8 12 no no White If there are many sequences to capture, one has to capture the sequence that has the most pieces. If there are still more sequences, one has to capture with a king instead of a man. If there are still more sequences, one has to capture the sequence that has the most kings. If there are still more sequences, one has to capture the sequence that has a king first. Men cannot jump kings. The board is mirrored (the left side is flipped to the right side and vice versa). It is mainly played in Italy, and some Northern African countries. Czech draughts 8×8 12 yes no White If there are sequences of captures with a man and other ones with a king, it is necessary to capture with a king. After that, any sequence may be chosen, as long as all possible captures are made in the chosen sequence. This variant is from the family of the Spanish game. Argentinian draughts 8×8 12 yes no White A sequence must capture the maximum possible number of pieces, and the maximum possible number of kings from all such sequences. The rules are similar to the Spanish game, but the king, when it captures, must stop after the captured piece, and may begin a new capture movement from there.
With this rule, there is no draw with 2 pieces against 1. The board is mirrored.
Thai draughts 8×8 8 yes no Black Any sequence may be chosen, as long as all possible captures are made. During a capturing move, pieces are removed immediately after a capture. Kings stop on the field directly behind the piece captured and must go on capturing from there, if possible, even in the direction where they have come from. Turkish draughts 8×8 16 yes no White A sequence must capture the maximum possible number of pieces. In this form of the game (also known as Dama), men move straight forward or sideways, instead of diagonally. When a man reaches the last row it promotes to a flying king (Dama) which moves like a rook. The pieces are placed on the second and third rows. It is played in Turkey, Kuwait, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Greece and several other locations in the Middle-East, as well as the same locations as Russian checkers. There are several variants in these countries, with the Armenian variant (called tama) also allowing some form of diagonal movement. Myanmar draughts 8×8 12 yes no White A sequence must capture the maximum possible number of pieces. Players make agreement before starting the game. They can choose two options "Must Capture" and "Free Capture". In "Must Capture" type of game, the man that doesn't capture will be collected by the opponent as a fine. In the "Free Capture" game, it is optional to capture.
In most non-English languages (except those that acquired the game from English speakers), draughts is called dames, damas, or a similar term that refers to ladies. Men are usually called stones, pieces, or some similar term that does not imply a gender; men promoted to kings are called dames or ladies instead. In these languages, the queen in chess or in card games is usually called by the same term as the kings in draughts. A case in point includes the Greek terminology, in which draughts is called "ντάμα" (dama), which is also one term for the queen in chess (the men are known as "pawns").
- Suicide checkers - Also called anti-checkers, giveaway checkers or losing draughts. This is the misère version of checkers. The winner is the first player to have no legal move: that is, all of whose pieces are lost or blocked.
- Les Vauriens/Mule Checkers is a checkers variant in which some pieces affect the outcome as in suicide checkers, while the rest are treated normally.
- Lasca is a checkers variant on a 7×7 board, with 25 fields used. Jumped pieces are placed under the jumper, so that towers are built. Only the top piece of a jumped tower is captured. This variant was invented by World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker.
- Cheskers is a variant of checkers invented by Solomon Golomb. Each player begins with a bishop and a "knight" (which jump with coordinates (3,1) rather than (2,1) so as to stay on the black squares), and men reaching the back rank promote to a bishop, knight, or king.
- Tiers is a complex variant of checkers that allows players to upgrade their pieces beyond kings.
- DaMath is a checkers variant utilizing math principles and numbered chips popular in the Philippines.
- Standoff is an American checkers variant using both checkers and dice.
Games sometimes confused with draughts variants
- Halma is a game in which pieces can move in any direction and jump over any other piece, friend or enemy. Pieces are not captured. Each player starts with 19 (two-player) or 13 (four-player) pieces in one corner and tries to move them all into the opposite corner.
- Chinese checkers is based on Halma, but uses a star-shaped board divided into equilateral triangles. Despite its name, this game is not of Chinese origin, nor is it based on checkers.
A similar game has been played for thousands of years. A board resembling a draughts board was found in Ur dating from 3000 BCE. In the British Museum are specimens of ancient Egyptian checkerboards, found with their pieces in burial chambers, and the game was played by Queen Hatasu. Plato mentioned a game, πεττεια or petteia, as being of Egyptian origin, and Homer also mentions it. The method of capture was placing two pieces either side of the opponent's piece. It was said to have been played during the Trojan War. The Romans played a derivation of petteia called latrunculi, or the game of the Little Soldiers.
An Arabic game called Quirkat or al-qirq, with similar play to modern draughts, was played on a 5x5 board. It is mentioned in the 10th century work Kitab al-Aghani. Al qirq was also the name for the game that is now called Nine Men's Morris. Al qirq was brought to Spain by the Moors, where it became known as Alquerque, the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name. The rules are given in the 13th century book Libro de los juegos. In about 1100, probably in the south of France, the game of Alquerque was adapted using backgammon pieces on a chessboard. Each piece was called a "fers", the same name as the chess queen, as the move of the two pieces was the same at the time.
The rule of crowning was used by the 13th century, as it is mentioned in the Philip Mouskat's Chronique in 1243 when the game was known as Fierges, the name used for the chess queen (derived from the Persian ferz, meaning royal counsellor or vizier). The pieces became known as "dames" when that name was also adopted for the chess queen. The rule forcing players to take whenever possible was introduced in France in around 1535, at which point the game became known as Jeu forcé, identical to modern English draughts. The game without forced capture became known as Le jeu plaisant de dames, the precursor of international draughts.
English draughts (American 8×8 checkers) has been the arena for several notable advances in game artificial intelligence. In the 1950s, Arthur Samuel created one of the first board game-playing programs of any kind. More recently, in 2007 scientists at the University of Alberta evolved their "Chinook" program up to the point where it is unbeatable. A brute force approach that took hundreds of computers working nearly 2 decades was used to solve the game, showing that a game of draughts will always end in a stalemate if neither player makes a mistake. The solution is for the draughts variation called go-as-you-please (GAYP) checkers and not for the variation called three-move restriction checkers. As of December 2007, this makes English draughts the most complex game ever solved.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- ^ When this word is used in the UK, it is usually spelt chequers (as in Chinese chequers); see further at American and British spelling differences.
- ^ The Online Guide to Traditional Games
- ^ a b c Strutt, Joseph (1801). The sports and pastimes of the people of England. London. pp. 255. http://books.google.com/?id=eJwSAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA255#v=onepage&q=.
- ^ The Rules of Draughts from Masters Games
- ^ a b c d e Oxland, Kevin (2004). Gameplay and design (Illustrated ed.). Pearson Education. pp. 333. ISBN 0321204670, 9780321204677. http://books.google.com/?id=l05TkZFbS24C.
- ^ a b c d e "Lure of checkers". The Ellensburgh Capital: pp. 1. 17 February 1916. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=yo0KAAAAIBAJ&sjid=x0sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1525%2C2429787. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- ^ "Petteia"
- ^ Austin, Roland G. (September 1940). "Greek Board Games". Antiquity (University of Liverpool, England) 14: 257–271. http://www.gamesmuseum.uwaterloo.ca/Archives/Austin/index.html. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
- ^ Peck, Harry Thurston (1898). "Latruncŭli". Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York: Harper and Brothers. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text.jsp?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0062%3Aentry%3Dlatrunculi&highlight=latrunculi. Retrieved 2006-11-23.
- ^ Berger, F (2004). "From circle and square to the image of the world: a possible interpretation or some petroglyphs of merels boards". Rock Art Research 21 (1): 11–25. http://mc2.vicnet.net.au/home/aura/shared_files/Berger1.pdf.
- ^ Bell, R. C. (1979). Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations, volume 1. New York City: Dover Publications. pp. 47–48. ISBN 0-486-23855-5.
- ^ a b Bell, Robert Charles (1981). Board and Table Game Antiques (Illustrated ed.). Osprey Publishing,. pp. 33. ISBN 0852635389. http://books.google.com/?id=yUQXzmslEkwC.
- ^ Chinook - World Man-Machine Checkers Champion
- ^ Checkers Is Solved - Schaeffer et al. 317 (5844): 1518 - Science
- ^ Jonathan Schaeffer, Yngvi Bjornsson, Neil Burch, Akihiro Kishimoto, Martin Muller, Rob Lake, Paul Lu and Steve Sutphen. Solving Checkers, International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), pp. 292-297, 2005. Distinguished Paper Prize
- ^ Chinook - Solving Checkers Publications
- World Checkers & Draughts Federation
- World Draughts Federation (FMJD)
- European Draughts Confederation
- Danish Draughts Federation - some good pages on strategy
- Polish Draughts Federation (PDF)
- American Checker Federation (ACF)
- Northwest Draughts Federation (NWDF)
- English Draughts Association (EDA)
- German Draughts Association (DSV NRW)
- Server for playing correspondence tournaments
- Server developed by Royal Dutch Draughts Federation dedicated to 10x10 draughts
- Mind Sports South Africa
- Jim Loy's checkers pages with many links and articles.
- A free program that allows you to play more than 20 kinds of draughts.
- The history of checkers/draughts
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