Checkers is played on a 64-square board by two players who take turns moving one of their 12 pieces one square forward to advance or capture pieces.
The Frisian Checkers variant is similar to International Checkers except that captures are made in a vertical, horizontal and diagonal direction.
The Turkish Checkers variant is unique because all 64 squares on its 8 x 8 board are used and kings move horizontally and vertically like chess rooks.
The Spanish Checkers variant has the same rules as the Brazilian Checkers variant except that its board is a mirror image of the Brazilian variant.
The Pool Checkers variant rules are similar to the Brazilian and Russian Checkers except that it has no obligatory maximum quantity capture rule.
The Checkered History of Checkers
The board game called "Checkers" in North America and "Draughts" (pronounced as "drafts") in Europe is one of the oldest games known to man. The history of checkers can be traced to the very cradle of civilization, where vestiges of the earliest form of the game was unearthed in an archeological dig in the ancient city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia, which is now modern day Iraq. Using a slightly different board, no one is sure of the exact rules of the game which was carbon dated at 3000 B.C. A similar game using a 5x5 board, called Alquerque is known to have existed in ancient Egypt as far back as 1400 B.C.
This Egyptian version was so popular that man played it for thousands of years. Then, in the year 1100 A.D., an innovative Frenchman thought of playing the game on a chess board and increased the number of pieces for each player to 12. This modified game was then called "Fierges" or "Ferses," but it was more appropriately called as "Le Jeu Plaisant De Dames," because it was considered a women's social game. Later, the game was made more challenging by making jumps mandatory and so, this newer version was referred to as "Jeu Force."
As early as the mid 1500s, books were written on the game and in 1756, an English mathematician wrote a treatise on draughts. Now, with its own written rules, the game settled in England where it was known as "Draughts" and in America where it was called "Checkers." The game steadily rose in popularity as the years went by. 1847 was an important year in the history of checkers when the first championship award was given. Later, game enthusiasts noticed that certain openings gave advantage to one side. And so, to begin the game in a random manner, two move restrictions were developed for expert players. In modern tournament checkers three move restrictions are prescribed.
1952 was a landmark year in the colorful history of checkers as Arthur L. Samuel created the first checkers program that was used by a computer. Gradually, these game programs were improved as computer speed and capacities increased. Today, computer programs rely more on data base information that show every possible move combinations when 10 pieces remain on the board and less on strategies. Checkers has entered practically every home through the Internet and has played to a draw and sometimes, even defeated the best players. Checkers continues to be as popular as ever and people all over the world play different versions of the game to entertain themselves, strengthen their powers of logic or simply enjoy quality time playing a good game at home with the family.