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  A view from ACF Player's Representative Richard Beckwith : 2006-07-18

Checker rules questions (for beginners)

This article is geared more for beginners. I occasionally receive questions regarding rules, tournament info, etc. A recent question (and follow-up) from a female reader pertains to much "amateur" checker play that I see. So, I thought I would share (with minor editing), as we welcome beginners to our site.

Question #1: I have been playing with a friend who insists that I've
never beaten him. I beg to differ because I have rendered him unable to
move in two games thus far. He believes this to be a draw, but I
disagree. Please help me end this argument! Thank you for your time! :-)

Answer #1: There's some "old-style" rules under the "Classroom" menu on this site.
Anyway, the short answer, from what you have described, is a win for
you. If he is unable to move (due to losing all pieces, or having all
remaining pieces blocked), then that is loss of game. A draw occurs
when neither player can pin down the other player, for example, if each
player has one king see-sawing back and forth in one of the double
corners. Otherwise, there are no immediate, automatic "stalemate" draws, as in

Another common misunderstood rule is whether or not one is required to take a jump. Jumps are required (if a choice of jumps, then you pick one, but you still have to jump), but many "amateurs" ignore this.

Question #2: Thank you very much for such a speedy response! My friend has another
question about the second rule you mentioned (aka huffing). Is it true
that if another move is available other than a jump, that move can be
made and it is not required to jump? I think that if a jump is
available, you must take it no matter what other move exists.

Answer #2: My recollection is that "huffs" and "blows" were abolished some 70 years ago. Yes, if you have a jump (or choice of jumps), you must take a jump, even if other non-jump moves are available. I see many amateurs ignore this, which is why I brought it up. While I recognize there are many rules variations out there, forced jumps are recognized by ACF, other federations, and virtually all gaming sites & programs that play straight checkers. Personally, I find the game offers little strategy (and beauty) if jumps aren't compulsory. Anyone can move just about anywhere, even into a 3-for-1 shot, without consequence by simply declining the jump. But just knowing you have to jump means you must tread with much strategy and foresight so that you are not forced into taking a jump that you don't want to take!

One other rule detail, if a single piece (not a king) jumps into the king row, that piece must stop a turn and get crowned, even if a jump back out of the king row is immediately available. There are variations on this specific rule in other international checker games (and pool checkers) which require you to immediately jump back out.

Read more articles from your ACF Players Representative in the Rep's Corner Archive.

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