Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

General Discussion about the game of Checkers.

Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Chexhero on Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:08 pm

I just had to make this post. I got a little sick to my stomach yesterday because I happened to read some very disturbing comments on the Internet regarding a comparison in game difficulty between chess and checkers. While we all know how under appreciated our game is, I think any of you would be disturbed when you see messages like this:

"If you are looking for a faster game, definitely it is checkers but when you want to apply critical thinking, then a game of chess will do especially when your opponent is a good one since checkers mostly is a game of luck."

"Chess. It's more complex and interesting. It actually stimulates a war, where the rooks are your generals and the bishops are your archers. Did you know that chess was played by war generals in the ancient times? Compare chess to checkers. Checkers is just a bunch of stones moving one step at a time. What's fun about that?"

"I prefer chess by a long shot.

Just this week computers "solved" checkers. A perfectly played game is a draw. (It was intuitively thought so for a long time, but computers proved it).

Computers play chess extremely well too, but they will never "solve" chess. Chess is much more complicated. A computer could not play a "perfect" game of chess if every sub-atomic particle in the universe contained a bit of chess information. (That has been mathematically proven also)."

"chess is a way of life... checkers is a game that any child can play with little strategy"

Had enough torture yet? There were more, but for now I will spare everyone the pain. Obviously, all of these people have no idea how difficult checkers really is. There are several reasons I can give why checkers can actually be the more difficult game.

The first thing chess players will say is chess is way more complex than checkers. There are more pieces on the board, all squares can be used and the pieces have different functions and ways of moving. Yes, chess is obviously a more complex game, but what they fail to realize is, checkers is extremely complex too! It is like comparing your chances in the water with a 30 foot killer whale (chess) or a 15 foot great white shark (checkers). Yea the great white is smaller and less intelligent, but I got news for you, you aren't going to survive against the great white either nor even have a chance. While computers have arguably mastered checkers completely, humans have never come close, not even the great Tinsely. It is very dumb when people say why play checkers when the game has already been solved. So chess is more complex, so what? To play a game of checkers at the master level takes every amount of critical thinking as a chess game does.

Another thing is, checkers is obviously played at a much higher level than chess because it is less complex. Therefore, your margin for error in a checker game is a lot less than what it is in a chess game. You make an obvious losing move against a high level master player in checkers and it is just about over. While you still need to be extremely careful in a chess game against a great player, you are still going to have more margin of error than in a game against a great checkers player.

What is really easier about checkers? The rules. There are less rules in checkers and is therefore an easier game to play. But every bit as difficult and challenging to play at a high level as a chess game.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Wavuti Uwepo on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:24 pm

Chexhero wrote:Another thing is, checkers is obviously played at a much higher level than chess because it is less complex. Therefore, your margin for error in a checker game is a lot less than what it is in a chess game. You make an obvious losing move against a high level master player in checkers and it is just about over. While you still need to be extremely careful in a chess game against a great player, you are still going to have more margin of error than in a game against a great checkers player.


I just recently read the following in "Vocabulary of Checkers" (1909) by William Timothy Call-

Blackburne's opinion: The following remarks, credited to J. H. Blackburne, the Enghsh chess master:
''Draughts is a less attractive game, infinitely less, but it is more scientific. You see, a step at draughts is irreparable. At chess, however, you can get back, change the disposition of your men, and possibly win."


I can attest the truth of Blackburne's statement! One wrong move and usually the checkers game is as good as lost.

Chexhero wrote:I got a little sick to my stomach yesterday because I happened to read some very disturbing comments on the Internet regarding ... checkers. While we all know how under appreciated our game is, I think any of you would be disturbed when you see messages like this:


When I read the above from Chexhero, I recalled something quite unbelievable I read last night while I was on the CNET site looking at checkers programs. The following was part of a review.

We started out at the intermediate level, and the game proceeded as checkers typically does, although we were surprised that 100% Free Checkers forces players to jump their opponents when they have the opportunity; that's a rule we've never encountered before.

How do they know how checkers usually proceeds if they don't know how it's played?

Crazy...

P.S. CNET doesn't have any checkers programs of much use except GUI Checkers. It's not a strong program (but stronger than me...) and you can also get just the engine to put into CheckerBoard.
Steven.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Wavuti Uwepo on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:31 pm

Chexhero wrote:"If you are looking for a faster game, definitely it is checkers but when you want to apply critical thinking, then a game of chess will do especially when your opponent is a good one since checkers mostly is a game of luck."


That one is still making me laugh!
Steven.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Jay H on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:49 pm

Chexhero wrote:......"especially when your opponent is a good one since checkers mostly is a game of luck."



I just had to post on this......
Sunset Bell, Master player from many years ago was once asked by a newspaper reporter during an exhibition he was giving......" Mr. Bell, isn't it true that Checkers is just a game of luck ?"

Bell responded......"It sure is, and I have a ten-spot that says I am a helluva lot luckier than you are....."
Aut Inveniam Viam Aut Faciam !!!
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Chexhero on Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:56 pm

Bell responded......"It sure is, and I have a ten-spot that says I am a helluva lot luckier than you are....."


LOL

Well Jay, we at least showed 3 or 4 chess players just how lucky they were at the game :)
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby MostFamousDane on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:56 am

I must admit I have never met anybody who thought (a single game of) checkers was just luck - that is completely beyond me - where do these people think the randomness is coming from ?

Regarding the complexity of Checkers vs Chess from a game theoretic stand point both games are EXPTIME-complete so they belong to the same complexity class. Chess has much bigger space complexity but on the other hand the decision complexity of checkers is much higher.

Regarding the point that keeps coming up that checkers is solved - it is simply wrong. Checkers has not been solved in anyway near the normal understanding of the word. The Chinook team has done some long searches on some openings that are not guaranteed to be 100 % correct. That has very little to do with solving checkers and people have done the exact same thing in chess http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8047. It can be claimed that computer checkers is much closer to perfection than computer chess but that means absolutely nothing - maybe the people doing checkers programming are just much smarter than the chess programmers :D. Many of the fundamental techniques used in computer chess where actually invented for checkers and trivially generalized to chess.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby liam stephens on Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:56 am

WOW !! - Well said Sune.

University of Alberta, please note.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby George Hay on Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:51 am

Great article Sune, thanks for the link! I found this part ironic (LOL):

"...50 years ago Bobby Fischer published a famous article, "A Bust to the King's Gambit", claiming to have done exactly that. I was curious to see how valid his conclusions were. Turns out they were amazingly accurate....

Genius or luck?

Probably mostly luck. Naturally some of his lines are not accurate: they weave in and out of draws. But the main conclusion is correct."

Both games are great. I consider checkers harder than chess, especially in the opening. What is difficult in chess is
playing the pawns, the most checkers like pieces in chess!

--George Hay
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:08 am

Chess is more complicated game than checkers, however checkers certainly is not game of luck.

If we want to make checkers more marketable and gambling and compare it with poker and other card games - we can easy do this: just play randomly one side of 174 3 moves deck (includes some losing openings).

Respectfully,

Alex
I am playing checkers, not chess.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Chexhero on Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:51 am

Currently on kurnik:

Chess: 2413 players
Checkers: 15


That is, for every 160 chess players, there is "1" checker player.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby MostFamousDane on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:06 pm

Chexhero wrote:Currently on kurnik:

Chess: 2413 players
Checkers: 15


That is, for every 160 chess players, there is "1" checker player.


I just did the counts for yahoo and the counts were

Chess: 2490
Checkers: 210

I'm actually shocked that the checkers count was this low - there used to be thousands of checkers players on Yahoo.

It is looking a little better on flyordie where the counts were

Chess: 3500
Checkers: 969
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Chexhero on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:29 pm

Well what has happened I think is many players from other checker sites (pogo, yahoo) have moved to flyordie. Another factor in the decrease of population is because sites like yahoo and pogo became program infested. When I started on pogo almost 9 years ago, it was packed full of good internet players. Normally 5 or 6 rooms were completely full and others pretty packed. Now on pogo, they are lucky to have 1 room full. Cheating was always a problem, but became worse as time went on as auto programs like playbuddy became available. Kurnik is by far the best site for keeping cheaters out, but I feel over the last few years there cheating is on the rise.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Eric Strange on Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:37 pm

TONS of yahoo playser quit when playbuddy came around. They did not migrate anywhere... they just quit playing. The same happened with pogo and many other websites.

You have to keep in mind age also. I started playing in yahoo games when I was in 7th or 8th grade.... so 1998, and then I started playing religiously in about 2000. The funny thing is that if you randomly asked 100 people in yahoo how old they were, 90% would be within 2 years of my age then.In 2004 is when auto programs hammered yahoo, pogo and multiple other websites. This gave all the people who just graduated high school a very good reason to quit their addiction to the game.

Unfortunately, they have not come back to the game in all these years. Checkers is not generating many new younger players because kids are playing MMO's (Mass Multiplayer Online) games. As technology is increasing with xbox and playstation people are also able to play people from around the world on those. With intense graphics, multiple goals to work for, and the ability to be part of groups of millions of players and interact with them all. checkers has fallen to the side. Not too mention with these types of games, ANYONE can win, gain rank, etc. Nobody drops rank no matter how bad they are.

It is a matter of years before serious chess playing decreases the same as checkers has. Checkers is seriously addicting and if we were able to get millions of players across the world to play it for a day online. They would get hooked and start playing seriously. Oncew my site is finalllllllly finished which is taking FOREVER!!!! I plan to not only advertise to all current checkers sites... I plan to challenge chess players from all chess sites. I think they hold the type of personality we are looking for. You can also expand on this idea... but you get the picture.

It is time for extreme measures and if everyone came together online (which is the easiest way to get word across to millions of people) we would be SWIMMING in new players.

food for thought :)
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Chexhero on Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:48 pm

Good post Eric. Could you give us an approximate date of when your site will be completed?
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Eric Strange on Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:07 am

Every time I have done that, my coder has proven me wrong, He has been working very very hard to fix some bugs that were very difficult to diagnose and this has been most of the hold back. Should be pretty smooth sailing from here. He has fixed them now so it should be pretty smooth sailing from here. But no I cannot give a date right now.
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