Draughts, also called Checkers: How old is it and what is its origin?
Recent historical insights indicate that the game was created sometime within the timeframe between the year 0 and 500 AD during the reign of the Roman Empire.
In the beginning, the game was played on an alquerque board. After the 14th century, it was being played on an unchequered or chequered board with 64 squares. In the second half of the 16th century, you could find boards with a size of 100 squares. The size of the board had even increased to 144 squares in the 19th century in some places.
As a result of the changes, Draughts evolved from a strategic game to something where strategy and coordination go hand in hand. During the long evolution of the game, many different variants have been developed.
For more details about the history of Draughts, visit the site of Arie van der Stoep.
In all Draughts variants, the following rules apply:
- Players take turn by moving one piece
- Pieces can move to an adjacent empty position
- An adjacent opponent piece can be captured by jumping over it (which implies the next position is available)
- When possible, several captures can be performed at the same round (with the same piece)
In International Draughts, these additional rules also apply:
- Pieces moves only on dark squares
- Simple pieces can only move forward, except for capture
- Promoted pieces, called kings, can move along any diagonal
- After a capture, a king can stop at any available position on the diagonal after the captured piece (assuming skipped positions were free)
- White starts
- Capture is compulsory
- Captured pieces are removed after all captures are done
- If a player must choose between several capture sequences, he must choose the one that captures the most opponent pieces
- If a piece reaches the last line during a capture sequence, it is not promoted, unless the capture finishes on the last line
- A player who cannot play any move loses the game
History lost the name of those who invented the Draughts game base, but a few contributors deserve to be mentioned here:
- Alfonso X of Castille (1221-1284) for writing the rules of Alquerque for the first time.
- Philip Mouskat (~1243) for mentionning the crowning rule.
- Robert Charles Bell (1917-2002) for his research in board games and draughts in general, and for proposing improvements to the rules of Alquerque.
Development: Michel Gutierrez (@_mig_)
Graphic design: Jérôme Choain (@jcfrog)