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Building Your Checkers Strategy

Charise Rohm Nulsen / July 28, 2020
Building Your Checkers Strategy

Checkers is a classic game that can be played online for hours of fun. You can play against another person, or you can play on your own by challenging yourself against the computer program. Use your best Checkers strategy to capture all of your opponent’s game pieces from the board and to get your game pieces “Kinged.” The winner is determined when all of the opponent’s pieces are captured or when a player can no longer make any moves.

Overview of How to Play Checkers

Each player begins with 12 checkers with each player’s game pieces being a different color from the opponent’s. Set the checkers on the dark spaces leaving the white or light squares open. The game pieces can only move on the dark spaces throughout the game, and they can be moved forward diagonally, unless they become “Kinged” which allows them to move both forward and backward.

Each player will have the goal of having their checkers “Kinged” by arriving on the furthest row on the board from the side where they began. Players will want to capture as many of the opponent’s pieces as possible by jumping the other player. Jumping can occur when your piece is diagonally next to an opponent’s piece but only if there is an empty space to land in on the other side.

You may even have the opportunity to double or triple jump depending on the placement of your opponent’s checkers. This is not a game where you can win by comfortably sitting back and mostly making defensive moves. You need to balance a solid defense with a forward-moving offense at the same time.

Many people feel that it is easiest to learn Checkers before learning how to play chess, as Checkers is simpler to learn. Checkers offers players of all ages an opportunity to learn how to implement strategy and problem-solving skills within a game. The more you practice checkers, the better you will become at calculating the next moves and developing a Checkers strategy to win the game. 

Checkers Strategy

There are many strategies worth keeping in mind when you play Checkers:

  • Keep your back row intact for as long as possible. This is a simple but important Checkers strategy. The longer you are able to keep that back row intact, the longer you can prevent your opponent from being “Kinged” which will give them the ability to move both forward and backward. 
  • Always have more Kings than your opponent. Power will always be on your side if you have more Kings than your opponent does. You have the best chance of doing this by moving your game piece towards an area of the board where your opponent has the fewest pieces.
  • It is okay to sacrifice one of your game pieces. It is not always a bad thing to have one of your game pieces captured. The key to having a piece captured is to allow it only if you can jump two of their pieces in return.
  • Block, block, block! As the game begins to wind down, try your best to block your opponent into places where they can’t move. You can win the game when your opponent can no longer make moves.
  • Use a pyramid formation. As early in the game as possible, move your game pieces into a pyramid formation in the center of the room with the point closest to your opponent’s side of the board and with the base of the pyramid in the back closest to you. Keep that formation for as long as possible and use the game pieces on the side to make major moves.

Checkers Tips and Tricks to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t be overly focused on gaining Kings. If your only goal is getting “Kinged,” you may find yourself losing too many pieces to capture along the way. Maintaining the back row as being intact and keeping a pyramid formation in the center is just as important to focus on as gaining Kings.
  • Practice by playing onlineThe more you play, the more comfortable you'll feel with your Checkers strategy! You can prepare yourself for anything a human opponent may have in store for you by working on strategies in online Checker games versus the computer program.
  • Keep teams of checkers together. If you keep checkers in tandem with each other, you can have your checkers move forward with a teammate game piece or two who can prevent the first forward-moving piece from being jumped.
  • Have control in the center of the board. This tip goes along with the pyramid strategy. Controlling the center of the board allows those middle game pieces to move to whatever side needs support and assistance.
  • Force your opponent to move their back row. When you prevent all other moves, your opponent will be forced to move their back row. This forces your opponent to let go of a strategy and opens up space for you to gain Kings.

Keep up your Checkers practice to work on making these tips and strategies second nature in your game. The more you play, the more you will be able to anticipate your opponent’s moves. You’ll have fun improving your Checkers strategy while also advancing your problem-solving abilities, as well as the chance to beat your family and friends!


Guest Blogger for Coolmath Games