Checkers (Draughts)

Number of players



An 8x8 grid of squares which alternate between light and dark colors. The horizontal rows of squares are called “ranks,” the vertical columns “files.” Players sit on opposite sides, with a “light” colored square in their right hand corner.


Each player has 12 round checkers (or draughts) in different colors.


Each player places their checkers on their first 3 rows on only the dark squares (or every other square).


Players move only one piece per turn on a diagonal. Checkers may only move on a forward diagonal, unless they have been “kinged” (see “kings” below). Checkers move only 1 square at a time unless making a jump (see “capturing” below).


If an opposing piece sits on an adjacent forward diagonal to one of your checkers with an empty space on the diagonal directly behind it, you may jump over that piece to the empty space, and remove their piece from the board. If, on a players turn, that player has the opportunity to make a jump, they MUST make the jump…even if it is not in their best interest, or they have a better move somewhere else. If a player has more than one possible jump they can make on their turn, they may choose which one to make, but again, they must make a jump.

If a player completes a jump, and their checker ends up next to another piece they could also capture, that player may go ahead and complete the second jump. There is no limit to the number of opposing pieces that can be captured this way in a single turn.


Whenever a checker makes it all the way to the opposing edge of the board, that checker becomes a “king.” The checker may be marked as such by placing another checker (previously captured) on top of it. Some checker sets come with pieces that may be flipped over to reveal a king symbol on the reverse side. Kings are more powerful than regular checkers in that they may move backward. Kings are still subject to moving one space per turn on a diagonal unless jumping.


Traditionally, the black (or darker) colored pieces move first, with the play then alternating between the players.


A player wins the game when he or she has either captured all of their opponent’s pieces, or left their opponent with no legal moves. Players may agree to draw if there are so few pieces left on either side that no one is in a position to force a win.

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