THE
BASIC
RULES

* Numbered boards are used by writers and authors, to record moves for the literature. (And to follow games on our pages) To start the game, if Red move from square 11 to 15, then it is recorded as: 11-15 etc.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE RULES

"Can men jump kings?"
The answer is ABSOLUTELY! The rules of checkers have been written by the American Checker Federation and the British Draught Federation, for over 2 hundred years. Since our rules below specify that jumps must be taken, there is no provision, otherwise. There are many "variations" of the game. English checkers, ( 10x0 or 100 square board) Pool checkers where pieces can move backwards. Italian checkers where men cannot jump kings. But these are just that. Variations. It is ok to play by rules both players agree to, and some of these variations are very popular. They are NOT the official rules we play by in tournaments, and in International matches with G.B. Both the EDA, (English Draughts Association) and the BDF, (British Draughts Federation) use the these same "official" rules.

"If one cannot move is the game a draw?"
No! If one cannot move the game is lost. The object of the game is to capture or confine your opponents pieces. Either way wins.

"Can a king "fly" along diagonals"?
NO! A king moves 1 square at a time, unless jumping.

"Can single men move, OR capture, backwards"?
No.

First, the board is always oriented so that the double corner is always on each players lower right, as shown in the diagram above.

Red, or the dark side, always moves first.

Jumps are mandatory.

Whenever you can jump two or more different ways, the option is yours.

If a player can jump 1 man in one direction and 2 or more in another, the option is still up to the player. (This also applies to kings. Single men CAN JUMP KINGS.) Which ever way is chosen, all pieces must be taken. NOTE: the piece that initiates the jumping, MUST continue the jumping till all available pieces are taken. A player may not "stop" jumping with a piece, and "start" jumping with another piece.

When a piece is jumped, it is considered removed from the board and cannot be jumped again. ( Perpetual jumping is forbidden.)If a player overlooks a jump and moves, he is to be shown and take the move back and take the jump (s).

A piece entering king row for the first time, must be crowned and that ends the turn. It cannot enter and leave king row on the same turn. Only Kings can move into and out of king row. Your opponent must then immediately crown the piece, before he plays. If he fails to crown the piece, there is no penalty, but a "reminder" is in order.

TOUCHING PIECES. Official ACF rules, forbid the touching of pieces unless you move that piece. This is rigidly enforced in tournament play. If a piece is touched and committed in either direction, the move must be completed in that direction. The penalty for violating this rule, is forfeiture of the game.
EXCEPTION. A player may "straighten" or adjust the pieces to the center of their squares, at any time. It is proper to "inform" your opponent and request to "straighten." It is also proper to honor that request.

DRAWN GAMES. A draw may be offered at any time, by either player, and is considered drawn when both players agree. Wins are the same rule. A win is scored when an opponent must sacrifice his last man-OR cannot move, because all pieces are totally confined.

Talking or otherwise distracting your opponent, or other players, is generally not allowed, and can bring a stern warning from the referee, in tournament play. Along the way, many variations of the rules have become popular. English 10x10 checkers, has 10 rows of pieces. "Pool" checkers is very popular, and Italian checkers has it's own rules. Still another is "flying" kings"! It is ok to play by any of these, if mutually agreeable. We are-here-presenting the "official" ACF and "BDF" rules, that have governed the game for over 2 hundred years.

Checkers is a Gentlemen's game. Be courteous. Play by the rules, and ask your opponent to do the same-in a kind way.


For an expanded discussion of "The Rules", see the excellent Web Pages of Jim Loy.