The American Checkers-British Draughts Variants

These variants are basically one and the same game. Called as "Checkers" in the United States and "Draughts" in Great Britain, these are probably the most well-known checkers variants in the world.

The American checkers variant is the first board game that was programed into a computer against which human players competed. In 1992, the computer, "Chinook," played and defeated all opponents in the US Checkers Championship. American checkers champion, Marion Tinsley, who only lost seven championship games in his thirty-year reign played against Chinook in the final games and defeated the computer at 4 wins, 2 losses and 40 draws. Then, in 1995, Chinook won the championship against Don Lafferty with 1 win and 31 draws out of 32 games. The victory of a machine against a human being in a game that involved logic and reasoning opened the possibility for the development of an artificial intelligence that could match the limitless powers of the human mind. The victory of the Chinook computer was only a prelude to the victory of the Deep Blue computer program against the greatest chess champion of all time, Gary Kasparov four years later.

Rules of the Game: These variants are played on an 8 x 8, or 64 squares checker board where the double corner is on the right of each player. The player who has the black pieces moves first.

The Moves of the Men: The pieces can move forward on each empty square on either the left or right. When these checkers pieces reach the last line, they are "kinged."

The Moves of the Kings: The kings can move either forward or backward on any empty square around them.

Captures: If confronted with more than one path to jump to capture his opponent's pieces, a player may choose any of the paths available to him and should only come to a stop on a square when there is nothing more to capture.

Captures by the Men: The men can capture by moving forward only and jumping over an opponent's single piece that is adjacent to it provided that the following square is empty. And if they can jump again from the square on which they landed to capture another piece, they are obliged to continue the capture.

Captures by a King: A kinged piece can capture opposing pieces just like men, except that they can make the capture either moving forward or backwards.

The Winning Player: The player who cannot make any move because he has either lost all his pieces or all his pieces are blocked, losses the game.

Conditions for a Draw: There may be a draw by mutual agreement of the players or if the same move has been made three times by any of the players.