Checkers, anyone?

Checkers (or “draughts”) dates back 5000 years to the Egyptians, shows up in the writings of Homer and Plato, with variations played by Romans (Latrunculi), Arabs (Alquerque), Chinese (aptly titled Chinese Checkers), and even Hawaiians (Konane), let alone Canadians, Germans, Russians and more, sometimes on boards of 10×10 or even 12×12. Regular but not boring checkers, 8×8 board, captures necessary when possible, “King”ing peiece when they reach the last row, no moving backwards (except for Kings), etc.

We use the 1957 classic “How to Win at Checkers” by prolific chess author Fred Reinfeld

Notation can be tricky to follow when reading, with the movable squares numbered 1-32 as shown above, beginning from the top left corner. However, Black moves first, it seems unintuitive to learn Black’s main strategic opening strategies (“openings”) from the perspective of the defender, White, at the bottom of the board, unless one prefers to play from the opposite side of the board from one’s pieces … so we will here show opening strategy sequences of moves from the perspective of Black, who (unlike in chess) moves first.

checkers discussions much more complicated than the game itself
(one might argue)

Our board puts Black at the bottom, but reverses the numbering; no compromise is perfect.

(Black) Squares are numbered Above game begins 1. 9-14 22-18

Seven opening systems are shown, ranked from best to not-so-best, as follows

  1. 11-15 Single Corner Group (Glasgow, Old Fourteenth, Souter, Dyke, Ayrshire Lassie)
  2. 9-14 Double Corner (Pioneer, Defiance)
  3. 11-16 Bristol Group (Bristol, Bristol Cross, Millbury, Paisley)
  4. 10-15 Kelso
  5. 10-14 Denny
  6. 12-16 Dundee Group
  7. 9 -13 Edinburgh Group

If that was not overly informative, then the following graphic representation may be slightly more helpful

1. 11-15 Single Corner/Glasgow 2. 9-14 Double Corner
3. 11-16 Bristol 4. 10-15 Kelso
5. 10-14 Denny Group 6. 12-16 Dundee Group
7. 9-13 Edinburgh Group

1. Single Corner Group: Glasgow, Old Fourteenth,
Souter, Dyke, Ayrshire Lassie

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