Checkers is another one of those games that has been around for hundreds of years but no-one knows the exact origins of the game. It is a game with very few rules and should be easy to learn the basics in minutes but with experience there are tactics and skill that can be used to make you a top player that should win most of your games. Young and old enjoy this game and it can often be seen played outside cafe's and shops by many people in Europe and also the USA.
To play the game you require a game board, this is exactly the same as a chess board with 64 squares that are coloured alternately either black and white or red and white depending on the Checkers set that you purchase, some young people will often improvise and use the pavement itself marked out with chalk and use bottle tops or similar for the playing pieces. The playing pieces are eight round discs, one set are always white in colour, the other set are red or black, yet again dependant on which set you purchase.
The board is placed so that there is a white square at the bottom right hand corner bottom corner , the pieces are placed on the first two rows of the board and always on the black squares, in this game the white squares are never used. The object of the game is to capture all of your opponents pieces or block their pieces so that they cannot move at all, if you can get your pieces to the other end of the board you will receive a bonus that is covered further down this article.
The two players toss a coin to decide who will be black and who will be white, this step is sometimes omitted if both players have agreed to play a certain number of games to decide the overall winner, in this case they take turns playing alternately with each colour.
Black always takes the first move, each piece can only move diagonally on the board, they must never be placed on a white square and they can only move forwards one square at a time unless they are capturing an opponents piece, then they jump over the captured piece and remove it from the board. They cannot occupy a square that already has a piece on it and if a certain piece is blocked it cannot be moved, the player then has to move another piece.
You can only capture a piece by moving diagonally. There is no limit as to how many pieces you can capture with each move, as long as each capture is within the rules i.e. the square diagonally in front of the piece to be captured is empty then you can carry on.
If a piece is in a position to be captured then the opponent must capture that piece, if this rule is broken then there are three options
If one of your pieces reaches the other end of the board then you can “crown “ that piece and it becomes a King. This is a good piece to have on the board as Kings can move backwards as well as forwards giving you more options to capture your opponents pieces.
Once you have captured al of your opponents pieces or if your opponent cannot move any of their pieces then you have won the game, there may be instances where both players are moving aimlessly around the board with out gaining any advantage, in this case both players can agree on a stale mate and declare the game a draw.
As you can see the rules are very easy to learn and you can begin to play straight away, practise will improve your game and you should get better at the tactics over time, in some cases it is not always about capturing as many pieces as possible, you can win games by deliberately blocking all of the opponents pieces, many times this has won a lot of games.
Always plan 2-3 moves ahead, this will give you a strong game plan and you should always be one step ahead of your opponent.
Watch experienced players and see how they play the board to their advantage, this is often the quickest way to pick up tips and improve your game!