Ready to beat your friends or family in a game of checkers? Learning the basics of checkers will give you a huge advantage against amateurs. If you're ready to take your game to the next level, there are specific strategies that can help increase your chances of winning. You can also try to enter tournaments and train with the experts to improve your game.
Part 1 of 3: Increase Chances of Win
Step 1. Focus on crowning more pieces than your opponent
In checkers, the player who has more kings also has a big advantage. Try to crown as many pieces as possible to increase your chances of winning.
- The trick is to advance one piece towards an area on the board that is still a little inhabited by the opponent's pawns, or where the pieces are more spread out. If you can protect this piece with the nearest pawn and sacrifice, your chances of making a king can be quite high.
- See Advanced Strategy below for how to "herd the enemy" and sneak through the king.
Step 2. Don't move the pawns in the back row until the time comes
It is impossible for your opponent to crown his pawns if your back row is still filled so this strategy will prevent your opponent from gaining an advantage too early in the game. You'll also have more move options when it's time to move the back row pawns.
Remember that you can't keep the pieces in the back row from moving. If you run out of pawns or see a profitable opportunity, don't hesitate to move them
Step 3. Advance pawns in adjacent groups or in tandem
Two pieces "in tandem" are pieces that are next to each other forming a diagonal line. Keep the pieces close enough to form a tandem in one move so your opponent has a hard time catching them.
- Moving the pawn "following" the previously moved pawn will make the pawns in front less easy to catch. Follow with two pawns to make it safer because you are blocking the pieces from being captured from both directions.
- See Advanced Strategy to learn how to form a "trapping pair".
Step 4. Swap checkers when in a superior position
It's clear that sacrificing one checker to capture two of your opponent's checks will work in your favor, but sacrificing one piece to get one is also ideal if your check count is already ahead.
For example, if you have 5 checkers and your opponent has 4 checkers, it means that the situation on the board is almost even. However, once you trade three pieces each, you have the big advantage of having twice as many pieces as your opponent
Step 5. Master the center of the board
If you keep a few pieces close to the center of the board, you'll keep a lot of options open and be able to move quickly to the side of the board that needs help. Similarly, preventing an opponent from placing a pawn in the middle will prevent him from gaining an advantage.
It takes practice to assess the number of pieces that need to be placed in the center of the board. The standard rule, you should build enough position so that the opponent can not advance safely other than through the right or left side. Once this goal is achieved, adding more pawns in the middle will usually make them pile up there and reduce your options
Part 2 of 3: Using Strategy to Catch Dam
Step 1. Sacrifice pawns to gain an advantage
The "force capture" rule requires players to capture checkers whenever possible. First, imagine what the situation of the board would be like if you forced your opponent to capture a pawn and maybe you could determine if the sacrifice was worth it.
- If you're trying to crown a piece but your opponent is chasing it, you can sacrifice a less important piece to lure the chaser of the piece you want to become king.
- If you have pieces that form a diagonal, advancing one piece towards your opponent can trigger a force capture that places your opponent's piece close to your other pieces. Make sure you don't open yourself up to a double catch!
Step 2. Try the "Trap Pair" strategy
To use this strategy, you need to wait for a certain preparation on the board. Your first checkerboard (piece 1) must be in the far right or left column. Your second checkerboard (pawn 2) must be diagonally in front of the first checkerboard. In the same diagonal direction there must be an empty space, then one of the opponent's checkers (piece A), then the opponent's checkerboard (piece B) one line behind.
- Move pawn 2 towards the opponent's pawn so that it is in danger of being caught.
- The rule of force capture requires that the opponent's A pawn jumps over Pawn 2, but cannot jump Pawn 1 because it is on the edge of the board.
- After your opponent captures piece 2, you can use piece 1 to jump over piece A.
- In the scenario described, this strategy is an unattractive 1 on 1 trade-off. However, after setting a trap, you can usually wait before “triggering” it until the chance of a double catch appears.
Step 3. Use the "Dribbling the Opponent" strategy
To do this, you need to place 6 pawns on one side of the board as group A and the other 6 on the opposite side as group B. You will use these two groups to determine which pieces to move at various times in the game.
- Move pawns in group A almost exclusively early in the game, and occasionally switch to group B when there are no good moves in group A.
- When you start exchanging pieces with your opponent, prioritize sacrificing A pieces and saving B pieces as much as possible.
- After a few captures, your opponent will concentrate on the side of the group A board. Start advancing the B pieces in the group and you can gain a strong position to crown your opponent past the opponent's defenses that have thinned.
Part 3 of 3: Preparing for the Tournament
Step 1. Define the checkerboard rules to follow
Some tournaments are held using ground rules, known as Go As You Please, GAYP, or freestyle. Others follow the rules 3-move (3 moves), which limits the player's options at the start of the game to a series of 3 moves. (This rule of 3 moves reduces the odds of a draw drastically in a match between two highly skilled players.)
Step 2. Study the checkers strategy guide that matches your rule system and skill level
The current book will contain the latest strategic moves, but this is not very important for beginners. Look for books on checkers at the library or bookstore to find books that are useful and not boring to read.
Step 3. Practice and remember certain opening sequences
For 3-movement games, look for the 3-moves opening encyclopedia. For GAYP rules, choose your preferred opener and practice in-game to find out different responses of your opponent.
Remembering specific board states from mid- and late-game can also help, but you're less likely to encounter certain mid-game situations in a tournament than one of the standard opening moves
Step 4. Play with the best opponents you can meet
Playing against experienced players who are willing to share their knowledge is a great way to improve your game. Whether you want to take part in tournaments or just looking for a skilled opponent, the better your opponent, the more you can learn.
Know your opponent. The "mistakes" that come from skilled opponents can be a trap. Think carefully before capturing an opponent's pawn
- Do not advance one piece alone if there are other pieces that can support it. At the beginning of the game, when the number of pieces is still large, always use them to protect each other.
- Don't play too fast. Especially if you see an opportunity to catch an opponent's piece, new players tend to rush to take advantage of it. When playing against experienced players, it is not uncommon for opponents to set traps under the guise of opportunity.
- Don't play too defensively. The "force catch" rule eventually requires you to leave your defensive position. Trying to crown your pieces is more effective than preventing your opponent from doing so.