The Checkers Board

Checkers is played in many countries in many variations. Because of the various cultural backgrounds, there are nearly as many types of checkerboards and sets as there are countries in the world.

American Checkerboards

The standard American checkerboard is made of eight rows and columns, making 64 squares. Most often, the squares are alternating red and black blocks, though they can come in any two light and dark colors. Regardless of the actual color, players refer to the light color as white and the dark color as black. Americans play with the same board that is used in chess.

Checker pieces come in two sets of 12 pieces, one set for each player. They are round disks and each set is either a light or dark color, usually red and black like the checkerboard. The game is played only on the black squares.

Regulation Checkerboards

The American Checker Federation defined checkers sets quite differently than the classic red and black sets American children commonly know. Instead, the board must have green and buff squares, and play takes place on the green squares. Each square must be 2 inches on a side so that the playing surface measures 16 inches.

The Checkers BoardCheckers pieces must be round, colored red and white and turned from a solid material. The pieces must have a diameter between 1.25 and 1.5 inches. While the rules do not define the thickness of pieces, the rules do specify that they must be much wider in diameter than they are thick.

However, regulation American sets are difficult to come by. Many players resort to crafting their own boards for lack of regulation board and piece suppliers. Players may also use backgammon pieces when no regulation checkers pieces can be found.

Other Checkers Sets

In most cases, checkers boards are folded boards, vinyl boards, or semi-rigid plastic. At the 2009 Barnstable County Fair in Barnstable Massachusetts, fair goers were seen playing checkers on plywood, covered in a woven beige and black Checkers rug, with squares measuring 3 inches a side. The checkers pieces were gigantic, measuring almost as large as the squares!

This is just one sample of the many varieties of non-regulation boards. Such checkers sets are only limited by the players’ imaginations. Checkers lovers can choose from an endless supply of materials and sizes when choosing checkerboards.

High-End Checkers Sets

The high-end Checkers market offers boards made of bird’s eye Maple and players can purchase silver and gold checker pieces. One may also purchase hand-crafted stone boards, made of Mountain Black Slate and Oak Wood Green Indian Marble. Other boards come in copper and green gold laid on slate. Any hard stone or metal combination would make a truly elegant board.

Crafted Checkers

Crafters also create Checkers sets made with simplicity. Quilted mats can be played upon with simple dyed stones. One can also go green by creating a simple set with recycled materials. Simply draw 2-inch squares on a 16-inch piece of cardboard and use bottle caps as pieces. One player uses the caps right side up and the other uses them right side down.

Checkerboards can be made with kids for added fun. Weave 2-inch strips of paper to create the board and use sandwich cookies to play. Open the cookies and use the tops for dark pieces and the bottoms with crème filling for white pieces.

Outdoor Checkers

Teak is a popular material for jumbo checkers sets. You can find them in 6-inch circles for play on a large mat or blanket, intended for outside play on the lawn. Smaller, portable games are also available with a folding metal board and magnetic pieces. There is no end to the variety of checkerboards and checkers sets you can find or create.