Rules of checkers: Russian, tournament, international

Rules of checkers

In the article “Rules of checkers” we will tell in detail the rules and principles of the game in Russian and international checkers, get acquainted with the device of the checkerboard.

#CheckersRules #RussianCheckers #InternationalCheckers

Checkers is a very popular logical game brought to us by Vikings and seafarers. In Russia, the game quickly took root, became one of the favorite games of Russian bogatyrs, and Tsars Vladimir Monomakh and Peter I were strong players.

So, how to play checkers? A good player loses without excuses, wins with gratitude and agrees to a draw with a smile. Let’s look at the basic and most popular rules of checkers.

Rules of Russian checkers

The game is played by two people, one playing with white checkers and the other with black checkers. The pieces are arranged on a board of 64 black and white squares, or more correctly – fields. Each field is usually labeled with letters and numbers.

Checkers board
Checkers board

The board is positioned correctly if there is a black square in the corner on the left hand. This square is called A1 for the white player, and H8 for the black player. All checkers are placed on the black squares, occupying the first 3 horizontals closest to the player.

The main task is to capture all the checkers of the opponent or block them so that the next move is impossible. If no one manages to do this, a draw is declared.

Players take turns, starting with white. Simple checkers move strictly diagonally one square and only forward, of course, if there is room for it. Backward moves are not allowed. Players place checkers on the board so as to take as favorable positions as possible.

To take/eat/beat an opponent’s piece located next to it, you need to step over it to the free space behind the checker. At the same time the checker can fight both forward and backward. The game rules allow you to take as many enemy pieces at one time as the situation on the board allows.

How the checker walks and beats
How the checker walks and beats

It turns out, it is possible to perform a powerful combo with a successful arrangement of pieces. Note that players are obliged to take the opponent’s pieces, if there is such an opportunity. Even in the case if it is unfavorable for them.

So, let’s look at the example on the photo below. A simple checker D4 stands next to two black pieces, and white can take either of them. We choose which way to fight.

Majority rule
Majority rule

Let’s add to our example one more black checker on the field G3. Does anything change? No, we can still choose for ourselves which way to hit, forward one or back two. In fact, this is not just a clarification. In many types of checkers there is a “majority rule”, which obliges players to always choose the side of the battle with the most checkers. In our, Russian a checkers, there is no such rule, so we hit as we want.

At the beginning of the game all checkers are simple pieces, but as soon as one of them reaches the end of the field – it becomes a queen. “Queen” is the strongest piece and can move several squares both forward and backward, across the entire diagonal (the prototype is the Queen in chess).

The visual designation of the “Queen” is an upside down checker. If a queen can eat several checkers in one direction at once, it is obliged to make a full fight, not to stop in the middle.

The queen and her rules of battle
The queen and her rules of battle

Very rarely, but in the game there are situations when during the battle of several checkers (combo), checker or queen repeatedly goes to the already beaten checker, in this case the move stops in front of the checker that was beaten earlier. In other words, it is forbidden to take the same checker twice, but crossing an empty field twice is allowed. Turkish strike rule” also applies in international checkers.

Each of the cells on the board has a name. How is a cell given a name? The board consists of 8 horizontal and 8 vertical rows. Horizontal rows are labeled with numbers from 1 to 8. The vertical rows are labeled with the letters of the Latin alphabet from A to H.

It turns out that each cell on the checkerboard has its own name. It consists of a letter and a number, i.e. in the example above the cell is named G3 or D4.

Tournament rules of checkers

The first rule is that it is mandatory to beat, i.e. if at some point a player can eat an opponent’s checker, then he must do it. If your opponent did not notice that he should have eaten your checker, but made some other move, then you are obliged to tell him about it, return the move back and replay the position from the moment of the mistake.

The most severe rule of the tournament game of checkers is “touched – go”. It means that a player who touches his checker, intentionally or accidentally, is obliged to make a move with it.

This rule is introduced to prevent players from constantly moving their pieces around the board, checking what will happen after a move. When playing checkers you need to very well imagine what position will turn out after his move, and only after making sure that the move you are satisfied, you should touch your pieces.

These were the basic rules and principles of the game of Russian a checkers. And now let’s briefly consider the rules of the game in international checkers (100-cell checkers), a game somewhat different from the Russian checkers.

Rules of International checkers

The basic draughts rules are preserved. Checkers here go only on black squares, it is also mandatory to take checkers, but the board has become larger (10*10). Checkers are placed on the first four lines, and each player will have not 12, but 20 checkers.

The cell naming system is also different here. They will no longer be called letters and numbers (G3 or D4), but exclusively numbers. The black cells of the 100-cell board are called in order from 1 to 50.

International checkers
International checkers

100-cell checkers differs from Russian checkers by two rules of play. The “majority rule” is a binding rule for players to choose the variant of the battle in which they will eat the largest number of checkers (a simple checker and a queen are considered as one checker).

The second rule – if during the battle a simple checker reaches the field of turning into a queen and there is a possibility to continue the battle, such checker does not become a queen, but continues to beat the opponent’s checkers with a backward move as a simple checker.

Rules of checkers (video)


The most popular types of a checkers in the world are international a checkers (10*10), on which international tournaments are held (World Championship, World Cup, American and African Championships, etc.).

In second place in popularity is Russian a checkers, as they practically do not differ from the international kind.

In third place is English a checkers, most popular in the USA, Canada and Great Britain.

In our opinion, there is no difference whether white goes first or black, because before the game is held a draw, which determines the color of checkers for the opponents. There is a legend in the draughts/chess world, according to which black color brings luck, so white pieces are given a kind of a head start.

A "toilet" in checkers is a situation in which a checker has nowhere to go, i.e. it is a locked or blocked checker in the game.

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