Easy Checkers Strategy

Checkers may seem like a simple game that you play with an elderly relative, but it’s actually quite complex and difficult to master. In fact, variations of the game were enjoyed by Egyptian pharaohs and powerbrokers in the Roman Empire. If you don’t believe me, try going to one of the more popular sites (Yahoo or Pogo) offering online checkers and play a few games. After you’ve suffered though a string of humbling losses to advanced players, pause and reconsider your opinion.

Serious players spend hundreds or thousands of hours studying the game of checkers, but you don’t have to be that obsessive to succeed and have a good time (unless you’re looking to win a world championship). If you are looking for the more advanced stuff, then check out this page full of checkers strategies. However, in the following article, I’ll examine some easy checkers strategies for beginning players, covering both in-game play and preparation. Anyone can follow these steps, whether you’re a tween looking to make new friends over a game of online checkers or a senior citizen who wants to keep their mind sharp.

But no matter what your level of skill or commitment, the most important rule of checkers is this: have fun. This might take the form of dissecting an opponent’s moves by careful study, or it might be as simple as heading to the park and trading jumps with a buddy. If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’ve lost before the first piece is ever moved.

Basic Strategy Tips for Checkers – Study and Preparation

Winning at checkers isn’t as simple as sitting down and moving pieces around. If you want to improve your game, you’ll need to put in some time and effort.

Play All the Time – The most important and easy checkers strategy that I can pass along is this: If you want to get better at checkers, you need to play. This might mean playing online, through the mail, against a portable checkers computer, or face-to-face with a real person. As a Roman author said in 1st century B.C., “Practice is the best of all instructors.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Lose – One of my favorite checkers quotes (there aren’t many) comes from the legendary draughts champ and author Derek Oldbury. He once said, “If you don’t want to lose, don’t play.” More accurate words were never spoken, as anyone who’s just beginning to learn the ins and outs of checkers will suffer more defeats than they care to keep track of. Just remember that losing is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if it helps you improve in the future.

Read a Book on Checkers – While there are plenty of books on chess, you might be surprised to learn that a number of works have also been written about checkers strategy. Beginner players shouldn’t get too bogged down in complicated maneuvers and openings, but it can never hurt to be familiar with the concepts and history of the game. I suggest choosing from one of these three: Win at Checkers by Millard Hopper, How to Win at Checkers by Fred Reinfeld, or Move Over by Derek Oldbury. The first two can be purchased at an online store such as Amazon, while the latter book can be downloaded as a free PDF file.

Buy a Checkerboard – Yes, you can play checkers online, but it’s also important to buy a physical checkerboard and set it up in your home. Try to keep it somewhere that encourages you to sit down and play, and always make sure to invite guests to engage in a friendly game or three. If you have children or limited space, another option is a small magnetic checkerboard. It can be stored anywhere, and the surface will keep pieces from getting lost.

Play Against a Computer – You can play against the computer online, or you can buy a small electronic checkers set. In either case, make sure you play the computer on the highest difficulty level. While you’ll lose far more than you win in the beginning, this will give you an opportunity to examine moves and see what you’re doing wrong. This is how a player improves over time, even though it may be a blow to your ego in the beginning. A computerized checkers program also has the advantage of patience. It will wait quietly while you consider and examine moves, and it will never yell at you to hurry up. Most programs also allow you to back up the game and examine previous moves, which is perfect for those looking to improve at checkers through study.

Simple Strategies & Tactics for Checkers – In Game Decisons

Now we come to simple strategies for checkers that can be used during actual gameplay. I’ve tried to keep this section as basic as possible, as beginning players get overwhelmed by complicated terminology. Some of these examples of easy checkers strategy will work every time, while others have mixed results. In either case, exercise patience and stay focused on your goal: to have fun and get better at checkers.

Before you make a move, make sure to examine every possible outcome.

In the later stages of the game, try to keep your kings near the center of the board for maximum flexibility of movement.

If your opponent has an obvious move coming up, try to move one of your pieces into a position to block it.

Keep your back row filled as long as possible. As long as the back row is occupied, the opposing player will be unable to convert his pieces into kings.

In the American version of checkers, players must take a jump when it’s presented to them. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice a piece in order to set up a multiple jump on your own turn. This can be a major advantage when you find yourself ahead in the piece count.

When a piece is located in a side square, it cannot be jumped by an opposing piece. Keep this in mind and use it to your advantage.

Watch out for the lower left and upper right corners of the board. These spots only allow you one possible move.

Pieces located in the center of the board have more movement options than those along the sides.

Try to keep two pieces close together whenever possible. This allows each piece to possibly cover the other and keep from getting picked off.

While keeping pieces in the center of the board can work to your advantage and provide greater movement options, make sure that all your pieces aren’t too close together. If this happens, movement may be hampered by fellow pieces being on all sides.

The next time you need an easy checkers strategy to help get you through a challenging game, be sure to give the above tips a try. For those who want to take their game to the next level, follow the listed advice about study and preparation. But no matter which category you fall into, just remember the following: Checkers is just a game, and games are meant to be fun.