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American Checkers Rules – Learn How to Play a Strategic Game of Checkers and Win

Jun.18.2021
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what are the rules of checkers

How to Play Checkers

If you have always wanted to learn to play checkers, you will be happy to find out that the rules of the game are relatively easy. Learning with this helpful guide on checkers for beginners will help you learn what makes checkers easy and fun. The basic checkers rules are easy to follow even if you are not an advanced player or it’s your first time playing the game. The goal of the game is to be the last player standing with movable checker pieces on the checkerboard. The game of checkers involves logic and strategy and it is a fun way to keep your mind active and engaged when you are enjoying some free time.

What is Checkers Game

Checkers is a board game that is an Americanized version of a game that has been around for a very long time that is globally known best as Draughts. Draughts is a game that came about as a slight modification of the French game Fierges was invented in 1100 CE. There are also paintings and artifacts that point to ancient civilizations having their own versions of checkers thousands and thousands of years ago. The game is known today as checkers and it can be played as a board game between two people or as of 1952, a game played against a computer using software engineering.

The game of checkers became a tool for software engineers to develop important algorithms and artificial intelligence. While they might not be as highly frequented or studied as chess tournaments, there have been checkers tournaments and competitions since the invention of the game, some with grand prizes of a few thousand dollars. Checkers boards have 64 squares of alternating different colors (for the purposes of this guide let’s say 32 black squares and 32 red squares) and 24 chips or checkers pieces (12 black pieces and 12 red pieces).

The players move the pieces around in a specific way on the board to play the game. Historically in the United States checkers has been a fun game or pass-time for families and kids, much like a game of cards might be. Playing checkers can also actually be quite beneficial for brain health and development. This is because it activates many different parts of the brain via it’s colorful patterning and the required use of logic and strategy to win the game. Whether you’re playing against a friend or trying to beat the computer in an online game of checkers, you might be strengthening your neural pathways by playing a fun game.

How to Set Up a Checkers Board

how to play checkers game

Part of the instructions for checkers includes setting up checkers boards. To set up the board you will need to put the red checkers pieces on all of the black squares on one end of the board and all of the black checkers pieces on all of the black squares on the other end of the board. There should be an equal number of checkers pieces on each side of the board and they should be evenly spaced out in the same way.

How to Play Checkers Game

So what are the rules of checkers? The American checkers rules are pretty straight forward. First you need to set up the board in the checkers starting position. This means you have your 12 red pieces on the black squares on one end and your 12 black pieces on black squares on the other end. Then the first player will make a move. But wait! Who goes first in checkers? There is no codified way to figure out which player makes the first move in checkers but there are ways that you can make it up to chance like flipping a coin or putting your names in a random generator on the computer.

If you don’t have a super competitive mindset about the game you can always just take turns going first starting with whoever wishes to be the first in the first round. You can always play multiple rounds if you don’t like the outcome of the first round and switch up who goes first in the game.

Playing the Game

Once you have decided who goes first it’s time to begin playing the game. The first player must venture one piece out into the open board. To move your pieces on the checkerboard you have to move only to the designated squares. No checker piece can go to a red square if you are starting with your pieces on the black squares, only the black squares are fair game. If you wish to use only the red squares, you need to make this decision when setting up the board and then both players may only move their pieces on the red squares.

Once the first player moves a piece then the second player deliberates and makes a strategic move to follow. You will alternate turns this way with one player moving and then the next player moving as a result. When moving your piece during your turn, you can only move one square at a time unless you are jumping over another player’s piece.

You can jump over multiple pieces if you have the chance. When you jump over another player’s piece you get to take the piece and put it in your pile. The goal of the game is to take all of the other player’s pieces. When one player’s piece gets all the way to the other side of the board, to the first row of squares in front of their opponent, they can say “king me.” When the player says “king me” they can get one of their pieces back by adding it to an existing piece on the board so it is a double stack with two pieces on one square instead of one.

Once a piece is “kinged” it can move both forwards and backwards on the board. Until the piece is kinged it can only move in a forwards direction. Once all of the pieces of one color have been removed or the pieces of one color are blocked with no place to go the player with pieces remaining and able to move is deemed the winner.

Final Thoughts

basic checkers rules

Now that you know how to play checkers you can play anytime and anywhere with anyone. You can do your best to beat the computer on an online game or you can bring a checkerboard to a family gathering and play with all of your relatives.

There are even mini travel sized checkerboards with magnetic pieces that you can play on the road or in the airport when you don’t want to break out the full sized version. If you play often enough, who knows, you might become the next world checkers champion.

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