Definitions

draughts

draughts

[draft, drahft]
draughts: see checkers.
or draughts

Board game for two players, each with 12 pieces positioned on the black squares of a 64-square checkerboard. Play consists of advancing a piece diagonally forward to an adjoining square, the goal being to jump and thus capture each of an opponent's pieces until all are removed and victory is declared. When a piece reaches the final (king) row, it is crowned with a piece of the same colour and can begin to move in any direction. Similar games have been played in various cultures and in times extending back to antiquity.

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Draughts (British English) or 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.

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 board, but there are many other variants. Draughts developed from alquerque.

General rules

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 dark pieces makes the first move unless stated otherwise. Pieces move diagonally and pieces of the opponent are captured by jumping over them. The playable surface consists only of the dark squares. A piece may only move into an unoccupied square. Capturing is mandatory in most official rules, however, many people still play with variant rules that allow capturing to be optional. A piece that is captured is removed from the board. 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).

In international draughts, kings can move as far as they want in diagonals like a bishop in chess. However, they cannot capture like a bishop, but jump over the captured piece, moving over as many empty fields as the player wants but jumping over only a single, opposing piece in each jump. (As with men, a king may make successive jumps in a single turn provided that each is a capture.) This rule, known as flying kings, is 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. Notice that captured pieces are removed from the board only after capturing is finished. Thus sometimes the captured but not yet removed piece obliges a king to stop after capturing at a given field where he in turn will be captured by the adversary.

Variants

National and regional standard rules

National variant Board size Pieces per side Flying 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, 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 white Any sequence may be chosen, as long as all possible captures are made. 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 checkers 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 checkers 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.
Frisian checkers 10×10 20 yes yes White A sequence of capture must give the maximum "value" to the capture, and the king has a value of slightly less than 2 men. If a sequence with a capturing king and a sequence with a capturing man have the same value, the king must capture. The main difference with the other games is that the captures can be made diagonally, but also straight forward and sideways. Only 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 checkers 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 in 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 in 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 checkers 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 checkers 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 game is from the family of Spanish game.
Argentinian checkers 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 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 checkers 8×8 8 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 Spanish game (but with 8 pieces on each side), but every piece is taken away from the board at each jump, and the king, when it captures, must stop after the captured piece, and may begin a new capture movement from there, even in the direction where it comes 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 of the Middle-East, as well as the same locations as Russian checkers. There are several variants in these countries, and in Armenian variant (called tama), pieces can move straight forward or sideways, but also diagonally.

Invented variants

  • 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.

History

The game has been played in Europe since the 16th century, and a similar game was certainly known to the ancients. In the British Museum are specimens of ancient Egyptian checkerboards.

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.

Computer 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. As of December 2007, this makes English draughts the most complex game ever solved.

See also

References

External links

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