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How to Play Checkers

This game may seem old-fashioned, but it's just as challenging as a video game—and your grandparents will actually know how to play it!


  • Step 1: Position board Sit across from the other player, with the board between you. Turn the board so that you each have a red corner square on your right.
  • TIP: If your board isn't black and red, just imagine that the lighter color on your board is red, and the darker color is black to follow these instructions.
  • Step 2: Decide first player Decide who's going first. You can flip a coin, base it on who won the last game, or just agree. Whatever you choose, the starting player gets the black checkers and the other player gets the red.
  • Step 3: Set up board Set up the board. Each player arranges all twelve of his checkers on the black squares (and only black squares!) of the first three rows of his side of the board.
  • Step 4: Make first move The first player (black) begins by moving any one of his checkers in the row closest to the middle of the board diagonally one space. Checkers can only move diagonally, which means the game is played entirely on the black squares.
  • Step 5: Next player moves The next player moves one of his checkers diagonally one space. At this stage of the game, you can only move your pieces forward.
  • Step 6: Take turns Keep taking turns this way, moving another checker or the same checker further forward.
  • Step 7: Jump & capture On your turn, if your opponent's checker is in front of you—that is, on a black square diagonal to yours—and there's an empty square on the other side, you can jump your checker over his, landing in the empty square. Take the other player's checker that you just jumped over off the board and put it to the side.
  • TIP: Remember: if your checker is jumpable on your opponent's turn, he can jump and capture it, so before that happens, try to move out of the way or fill in the empty square behind you so there's no place for him to jump.
  • Step 8: Multiple capture You can jump over and capture more than one checker in a turn. Just remember that there must be one empty square between each one, so that you're leapfrogging one checker at a time—not long-jumping over two.
  • Step 9: "Crown me!" Continue to take turns moving and jumping. If you manage to get a checker all the way to the other side of the board, tell your opponent, 'Crown me!' He'll have to take one of the checkers of yours that he captured and place it on top of your checker. Now you've got a tall 'king' that can move both forward and backward.
  • Step 10: Take turns until win Continue to take turns moving, jumping, and being crowned, until one player captures all of the other's checkers.
  • FACT: Checkers is such an old game that Egyptian kings played it while the pyramids were being built—around 4,000 years ago!

You Will Need

  • A checker board
  • 12.0 black checkers
  • 12.0 red checkers
  • Another player

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