How Checkers Works

Checkers Strategy

Checkers is far more advanced than people might realize when they first start out. There are numerous strategies and play styles to consider.

When studying checkers strategy, you'll first need to understand checkers notation. Notation is used to mark spots on the board, and it's used in shorthand to record classic games. If you're playing the darker color, the notation starts by numbering off the dark squares across the bottom from right to left and moving up the board in that pattern. So, your first square would be a "1" in the bottom right corner. If you're playing white, the notation starts with "1" at the top left, moving across to the right and then down the board, like reading lines in an English-language book.

A move is recorded by first listing the origin square and then the landing square. So, the first move of a game might be something like 12-16, which would be taking the dark piece that is farthest left in the third to bottom row and moving it one spot diagonally forward and to the right. Jumps are typically marked with an "x," so taking the same piece from the first example and jumping an opponent piece would result in 12x19.

Blocking in checkers is an important strategy in winning. It's useful both to frustrate the opponent and to delay any plans he starts to lay down. Blocking requires moving your pieces to locations on the board that prevent your opponent from jumping. The trick is in figuring out your opponent's plans -- not an easy feat by any means. Checkers is all about planning ahead, though, so it's a useful skill to learn.

As with any strategy, planning your potential moves in advance may be the best way to win a game. If you can predict what your opponent may be up to, you can learn to block or set traps for them. Traps can include things such as exploiting the forced capture rule, in which you sacrifice one of your own pieces to get to more of your opponent's, or a side route strategy, in which you block the chance for your opponent to jump you by hugging the side of the board.

There are thousands of possibilities and nearly as many strategies for playing a good game of checkers. Check out the next page for lots more information on playing and winning at checkers.

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