Game rules

Draughts is a two-person game on a 100 square gameboard with 10x10 squares (the same as a chessboard). The board is placed so that each player has a white square in their lower-right corner.

Each player has 20 pieces, all the same colour (one player has white and the other black). At the start of the game, the pieces are placed in the black squares in the four rows closest to the player. The objective is to capture your opponent’s pieces and to trap them so that the only moves they can play will lead to their capture.

It is played in turns. The starting player is the player with the white pieces. Each turn, each player moves one of their own pieces.

The pieces are moved, when they aren’t captured, one position forwards (never backwards) diagonally to the right or left, to an adjacent empty square.

When you start to capture the opponent’s pieces, multiple pieces can be captured in the same turn, going right or left diagonally, forwards or backwards. It isn’t necessary to capture the other player, the player can decide on their turn whether to do so.

End of the game

A game of draughts finishes when one of the following situations arises:

  • The person with no pieces left on the board loses.
  • If the player makes a mistake 3 times, they lose.
  • If a player cannot move on their turn as all their pieces are blocked, there are six rules, depending on the type of draughts played:
    • If a player only has one piece left, they can do one extra move after moving their piece.
    • Tie/Draw
    • The player who should move next loses.
    • The player with most pieces wins. If both players have the same number of pieces, the player with the most Kings. If this also doesn’t clarify the winner, the game will finish as a tie.
    • The player with less pieces can surrender.
    • Blocked: when the player has no spaces left to move their pieces during their turn, the game ends.

The game can also finish as a tie if both players have very few pieces left, meaning no matter how many moves played, the game cannot be won. The King always comes first in capturing another piece. The King only moves one square after each capture. A normal piece can capture the final King.

Mathematical solution to the game

On 20th July 2007, an article published by the Science magazine found a mathematical solution to draughts, which would end in a tie. If both players always followed the perfect game following a complete and flawless analysis, the game would always end in a tie.

Chinook is a software created by Jonathan Schaeffer, which was the first programme to offer draughts tournaments. Don Lafferty became the world draughts champion at the time through this platform, who showed that a tie was inevitable.