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Objective of the Game

Checkers, also known as 'draughts', is a timeless abstract strategy game for two players dating back almost a thousand years. In the game you move your pieces until you've jumped over all pieces of your opponent and have removed them from the board. Players move one piece diagonally at a time in alternating play (starting with light). All references to squares refer to the dark squares only. The board is an 8 by 8 square of squares in alternating light or dark colours. Players should set up pieces on the 12 dark squares in the first three rows closest to them (the light spaces are completely ignored in the game), setting up three rows of 4 checkers.

Game variants

There is a lot of Checkers variants. Four of them are available on Board Game Arena :

  • International Checkers (10x10 board, men can capture backwards, kings can fly, one must capture as many pieces as possible)
  • Straight Checkers (8x8 board, men cannot capture backwards, kings can capture backwards but cannot fly, one must capture if possible but not necessarily as many pieces as possible)
  • Brazilian Checkers (8x8 board, men can capture backwards, kings can fly, one must capture as many pieces as possible)
  • Russian Checkers (8x8 board, men can capture backwards, kings can fly and go on capturing immediately after getting crowned, one must capture if possible but not necessarily as many pieces as possible).

Make sure to check the rules for the variant you are currently playing: the following detailed section applies only to Straight Checkers.

Straight Checkers

Moving & Capturing

Take turns moving a checker one space diagonally forward towards the opponent's side of the board on a square that contains no checkers of either player. You may 'jump' your opponents checkers by making a capturing move if your checker is located at most one space behind your opponent's checker (on your side). When capturing you jump over the checker moving two spaces in the same direction and then remove their piece from the game. Capturing multiple pieces using multiple jumps in the same turn is a key part of the game, when doing so you may change which direction they're moving diagonally, but they must still always move forward.

  • If you have the opportunity to jump your opponent's checker, you must.
  • You may continue capturing subsequent checkers until there are no more possible captures.
  • If you have the opportunity to jump a choice of opponent's checkers, you may choose which but must capture one of them.


When one of your pieces reaches the end of the opponent's board that piece is upgraded to a king, these may move in either direction now.

  • Kings may move forward or backward diagonally.
  • Kings can still only move one diagonal space at a time unless capturing.
  • Kings may move both forward and backward in the same turn when capturing.


Complete one of the following two objectives;

  • Capture all of your opponent's pieces.


  • Block all your opponent's pieces so they can't make any more moves.


A draw is declared if any of these conditions occur;

  • The same situation repeats itself for the third time (not necessarily consecutive).


  • 25 moves have been played without moving a man forward or making a capture.


  • Be aggressive, you are more likely to win. Playing to the board sides are safer though without reward.
  • Forward- always forward, it's alright to lose pieces as long as you take the opponent's, save your kings.
  • Balance your position, good practice is to have as many pieces on your right half of the board as on the left half. If you see a big imbalance in your opponents position you can try to empty the emptier half even more and advance to a king.
  • Safety in numbers, don't leave your pieces alone, move them one after another to protect them. Having lots of holes between your pieces opens you up combinations.
  • Protect your rear, such that the opponent cannot do a combination to your last row, protect your forward pieces.
  • Sacrifice when needed. Draw out your opponent so you can get 2-1 trades the following turn, don't expose your kings without reward.
  • Each king you get is a huge bonus, try to get as many as possible and don't waste them, sacrificing several (generally up to 2) pieces for a king can be alright.
  • Don't forget to block your opponent when possible, you make not only that piece vulnerable but fail to protect it with a counter and give your opponent the chance to take multiple of your pieces in one turn.