Checkers is a timeless two-player game, one that can be enjoyed by anybody regardless of their age. This game has mass appeal in every country owing to its accessibility and simplicity, and with this fun family pastime, hours can drift away in bliss and satisfaction. Checkers, although humble, is nevertheless a game of pure tactic and strategy. Not only does checkers have an intriguing origin story, but it also has some interesting sides to it, like its beneficial impact on thinking skills.
Historic Past of This Game
It is likely that the game of checkers has been in existence for more than 5000 years. The oldest checker artifact was unearthed in the ancient city of Ur and dated back to 3000 BC. Over time the rules of checkers evolved. When checkers was played in ancient Egypt around 1400 BC, it came in contact with another old game called Alquerque, which had a massive influence on the playing rules of checkers. After centuries of checkers being played the Egyptian way, the rules of the game morphed again in 1100 AD, when a Frenchman decided to have such a game played on a chess board and use 12 pieces for each player.
Dos and Don'ts of Checkers
The goal of checkers is for one player to try and capture all of his/her opponent's pieces or to trap his/her opponent's pieces in such a way that no other moves can be made. When setting up the board for the gameplay, the participants' pieces must be put on the dark squares of the board on their respective sides and the light squares are to be left open. Players will then take turns making moves, and they can move just one piece per move. The pieces can only move diagonally forward by only one square. The method for capturing the opponent's checker is to jump it over diagonally forward. This can only be done if the square behind the opponent's piece is empty. Also, a single checker can be used to capture more than one of the opponent's pieces if there are more jumps available. When multiple jumps are possible in one go, it is mandatory for a player to make all of those jumps to capture as many rival pieces as possible. However, when faced with a choice regarding which jump route to take, it is not required to opt for the path that allows for the most captures. Unlike the workings of chess, a checker piece cannot be captured by moving one's checker diagonally into a square already occupied by an opponent's piece. However, an aspect somewhat similar to chess is that if a player manages to get his/her piece to the other end of the board, then that regular checker piece turns into a king. Kings can move diagonally forwards and backwards by one square. When a player uses his/her turn to change a piece into a king, s/he will then need to wait for his/her next move to use that king. A player wins when s/he is able to capture all of the opponent's pieces or is able to completely block his opponent from making any moves. The game ends in a draw if there are just two pieces repeatedly moving about without capturing the other. The game would also end in a draw if there had been one hundred total moves without any player's pieces being captured.
Brain-Melting Checker Trivia
Did you know that the game of checkers has been found to enhance critical thinking abilities in children? In fact, children are actually taught how to win matches of checkers before they go anywhere near a game of chess. This simple game even has world tournaments dedicated to it, with the very first one being held in the year of 1840. Over the years, male winners of this tournament came from Italy, Barbados, the UK, and the USA, while female champions were crowned from countries like Ukraine, Turkmenistan, and Ireland. Given how widespread checkers is, it is only natural for several different variations of such a game to sprout out. But what's interesting about it is that the game called 'Chinese Checkers' actually has nothing to do with the game of checkers and was only an advertisement slogan invented by businesses. It's also to be mentioned that one of the very first digital board games ever created for a computer was checkers. This was done by Arthur Samuel back in the 1950s. This digital version of checkers turned out to be a massive stepping stone for machine learning and artificial intelligence as in 2007 engineers from the University of Alberta developed a software named 'Chinook', which could automatically play and win digital checker matches. Chinook was not an overnight breakthrough but was the result of countless brilliant minds and hundreds of computers working at it for twenty straight years! Another interesting bit of information that emerged with the success of Chinook is the fact that every match of checkers will end in a draw if none of the competitors makes a mistake. All in all, entire sets of checkerboards have been found inside numerous burial chambers, showing how much people loved this simple pastime. The game might also have had a high status during its early years as it was mostly played by queens. The system of swapping a regular checker piece for a king was incorporated only in the 13th century, and the rule of capturing a piece whenever possible came along in the 16th century. The oldest English book about the game of checkers is that of William Payne's, which was published in 1756. Lastly, Marion Franklin Tinsley is widely regarded as the greatest checker player of all time. During his career, Tinsley never lost a world title match and was indeed world champion from 1955 to 1958 and from 1975 to 1991. In a career spanning multiple decades, Tinsley lost only 7 matches, 2 of which were to Chinook.