Basic Rules for Checkers

In addition to my recent posts regarding the rules for playing chess. I first introduced a table product that you can play chess, checkers, and backgammon on. Now, for this article, I am introducing a tutorial on how to play basic rules checkers.

About checkers

According to Wikipedia, Checkers or draughts as it is commonly known in the United Kingdom, is a strategic board game for two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform game pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over opponent pieces. The name derives from the verb to draw or to move.

There are many variations of the game of checkers (draughts) from different counties such as Canadian checkers, Russian draughts, and Turkish draughts to name a few. There are also variations where there are king pieces that “fly” diagonally across the board to jump over and take away the opponent’s man or king. For this post, I am going to go over the U.S. version of checkers where there are no flying king pieces. In addition, this version of checkers is the one I am most familiar in playing.

The checker board layout

The game of American checkers is played on an 8 x 8 checkerboard, and played by two people who are battling each other to win the game like chess.

At the outset of the game, both players start off with 12 pieces of black chips and 12 pieces of light chips. One player has the dark pieces (usually black). The other has the light pieces (white or red). As shown in the picture above, the chips would be placed in the darker colors closest to the players. Players would alternate turns after moving one of the designated pieces. It is not allowed to move an opponent’s piece as it is considered illegal or “cheating”. A move consists of moving a piece diagonally to an adjacent unoccupied square. If the adjacent square contains an opponent’s piece, and the square immediately beyond it is vacant, the piece may be captured (and removed from the game) by jumping over it. Note: once a piece has been moved, it cannot move backwards until it reaches the end of the board in which case becomes a “king.”

Only the dark squares of the checkered board are used. A piece may move only diagonally (not horizontally or vertically) into an unoccupied square. Capturing is mandatory in most official rules, although some rule variations make capturing optional when presented. In almost all variants, the player without pieces remaining, or who cannot move due to being blocked, loses the game.

The checker pieces


Uncrowned pieces (men) move one step diagonally forward, and capture an opponent’s piece by moving two consecutive steps in the same line, jumping over the piece on the first step. Multiple opposing pieces may be captured in a single turn provided this is done by successive jumps made by a single piece; the jumps do not need to be in the same line but may be performed in a”zigzag” (change diagonal direction) motion. The English version of draughts have men that can capture only forward.


When a man reaches the crownhead or kings row (the farthest row forward), it then becomes a king where a “king (or crown) me” is announced from the player who moved in that position, and is marked by placing an additional piece on top of the first man, and acquires additional powers including the ability to move backwards (and capture backwards, in variants in which they cannot already do so). As with non-king men, a king may make successive jumps in a single turn provided that each jump captures an opponent’s man or king.

Once a game has been gridlocked, where only back and forth moves between same locations on the board avoid jumps, the player with the majority of free space wins the games.

In conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this post that I created. If so, please share on social media. If you have any questions or comments, please add them in the comments section below, and I’ll do my my best to answer them as soon as I can. I have included a combined audio and video to get a better understanding of how the game of checkers is played below. Thanks for reading!


  1. // Reply

  2. // Reply

  3. // Reply

  4. // Reply

    Great post on how to play checkers. This was always a childhood favorite of mine. I was taught by my grandpa. I try to show my wife but she just doesn’t get it. I will send here the link to your website and maybe that’ll give her all the information she needs to be a legitimate checkers player. You have a lot of valuable information on this post and i see it helping many people out in the near future. Thank you.

    1. // Reply

      Thanks so much Heathguy! I was hoping that the information that I provided here would be enough to learn to play the game. As always, I’ll put as much information on my posts to help people on how to get a better understanding on how to play checkers, chess, etc. I hope this site gives your wife the know-how to learn the basics of how to play the game of checkers. Take care.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.