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Looking Back At The History Of Checkers

Charise Rohm Nulsen / July 31, 2020
Looking Back At The History Of Checkers

Checkers is a game that goes all the way back to ancient times. As one of the oldest games in the world, the history of checkers is long and captivating. Checkers remains extremely popular and can be played by one or two people online at a time. Different versions of checkers exist all around the world, with the most well-known international version being Chinese checkers. Players enjoy the game for its roots in logic and problem solving skills, and it’s a board game that can easily be played by players of most ages with some children learning the game as early as age four.

What is Checkers?

Checkers is a board game that uses the same board utilized in a game of chess. There are 64 light and dark squares on the board, and each player receives 12 disc-shaped playing pieces which are typically in contrasting colors. The object of the game is to capture or block all of the other player’s game pieces. If neither side can make an obvious win happen, the game is called a draw.

There are many variations of checkers. In Frisian Checkers, playing pieces can be captured vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. In Turkish Checkers, all 64 squares on the playing board are used in the game. Spanish Checker and Brazilian Checkers have the same rules, but the playing boards are mirror images of each other. Pool Checkers has different capture rules.

Checkers is considered to be an excellent family game, but with the availability and popularity of online checkers, the game has become even more accessible. Single players can work on their skills as they play versus a computer program that has been known to beat even the best of players.  

Who Created Checkers?

The history of checkers goes back to the Middle East where it began as a different version with a slightly different board. This ancient form of the game was found in an archaeological dig in Ur. This ancient city was in southern Mesopotamia, though this area is now known as Iraq. The original game has been carbon dated to around 3000 B.C.

In Egypt, a variation of the game called “Alquerque” was discovered which goes back to around 1400 B.C. This ancient game used a 5x5 board. It appears that the game was as popular back then as it is now. The Egyptian version of checkers continued to be played for thousands of years. The game has even been mentioned in the writings of Homer and Plato.

What is the Development and History of Checkers?

Around the 16th century, the game began to be played more like the way that we play today with the introduction of the compelling capture rule. In Europe, checkers is considered to be one of the oldest games ever. A Frenchman evolved the game to utilize 12 pieces for each player. The game then became known as "Fierges" or "Ferses.” During this time, it also became known as a social game for women.

After this time, the game made its way to England and America. In Great Britain, they called the game “Droughts.” Since the game had made its way around the world and maintained international popularity, a world championship of checkers was held in 1847. Various new move restrictions were added to the game rules for experts over the years after this time.

In 1952, checkers was introduced as a computer program game, which was a big step in the history of Checkers. The capabilities of the computer version of the game has continuously evolved over the years as technology has evolved. Speed and strategy have enhanced tremendously, and now online checkers is considered to be incredibly popular all over the world.  

Checkers is a game that can never truly be mastered, so it lends itself to many years of enjoyment and continuous challenge. You can play a game of checkers online now whether you have one or two players. Take pleasure in the fact that you are participating in one of the oldest games of all time, and that many have dedicated their time to this game throughout the years to bring you the game we all currently know and love.

If you want to learn how to play checkers, you can also check out our blog about that here.


Guest Blogger for Coolmath Games