It's Your Move!
September 02, 2011
What comes to mind when you think of the board game, checkers? This ancient game can easily be played by young and old. It can be a fun time to share with family and friends, or it can be part of a competitive tournament. Or, if you’re competitive yourself, it can be a competition in the family.
Most players follow the American Checker Federation rules, but there are many other variations. Checkers is also known as "draughts" in England and "juego de dama" or "fechas" in Hispanic countries. Whatever its name, checkers is widely recognized by the board’s checkerboard pattern.
When I was growing up, checkers was just fun. No strategies were used, we just made moves and won or lost. I was surprised to learn, when I started researching the game, that there are actual strategies to playing. (Obviously I just accepted that I lost most of the time!)
MCPL has numerous books and videos on the subject with strategies galore. For basic learning, R.W. Pike’s Winning Checkers: for Kids of All Ages is good. I really like his recommendation of playing with pennies and dimes if you don’t have any checker pieces. Another one of his books, Playing Winning Checkers, includes the rules of play for the American Checker Federation and its many variations: including handicap checkers, Russian checkers, Canadian checkers, international checkers, and games such as Fox and Geese and Eleven Man Ballot.
If you’re taking a trip to the south, The International Checker Hall of Fame is in Petal, Mississippi. Here you will see the two largest checkerboards in the world plus other checkers memorabilia.
One of the many special days in September is National Checkers Day on the 23rd. Why not dust off the checkerboard, and start the weekend with a fun game of checkers? Who knows, it could become a family competition by the end of the weekend. "It’s your move."
Lone Jack Branch