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Checkers Around the World

French Draughts/Checkers Game
Le Jeu de Dames

France Checkers MapFrance Checkers Flag

The game of French checkers, now popular all over the world, is known as Les Dames in France. As in many countries, this game has a history within the French culture. The first version was developed in the south of France ca. 1100 when the ancient game of Alquerque was played on a checkered chessboard using twelve pieces on each side of the board. This game was then called ‘Fierges’ or ‘Ferses’, later called ‘Dames’. The rules of the old game of Le Jeu de dames á la française did not include forced capture of the opponent’s game pieces, even when there was an opportunity to do so. This compulsory rule of capture ~ forcing a player to take ‘enemy’ pieces ~ was introduced into France ca 1535 and the new game became known as ‘Jeu Force’. The old game without ‘huffing’ was given the name ‘Le Jeu Plaisant de Dames’ or simply, ‘Plaisant’. The author of the first French work published on the original game in 1668 was Pierre Mallet. Although his knowledge was very basic compared to others of that era, his rules and historical notes formed the foundation of numerous later publications, which established the game of checkers in French society. ‘Jeu Force’ later became ‘Draughts’ in Britain and ‘Checkers’ in the U.S. In France, the game of Checkers became known as ‘Le Jeu de Dames’. ’Le Jeu Plaisant de Dames’ is now recognized as ‘Continental or Polish Draughts’ and is superior in complexity to British draughts in that it uses a slightly different rule set, which gives the element of capturing the opponent’s checkers greater scope. This version also differs with respect to the power given a player’s checker once it has been crowned. ‘Continental or Polish Draughts’is played in France, Belgium, Holland and Poland in Europe and likewise on some of the islands in the West Indies. Although the name is often referred to as ‘Polish Draughts/Checkers’, the game was not invented in Poland, but according to historical sources, in France.

French Checkers Rules of Play:

~ The Game Board ~

  • The French checkerboard consists of a 10 x 10 pattern (100 squares) of alternating light and dark squares.

  • Two opponents face each other with 20 checkers aside, placed on the first four rows of the board on the squares nearest each player.

  • The checkers used are contrasting colors, usually referred to as ‘black’ and ‘white’, though often are actually colored red and white.
  • ~ Object of the French Checkers Game ~

  • Each player uses strategy to out maneuver the opponent so that he/she cannot make a move on his/her turn.

  • To prevent the opponent’s further movement is accomplished by capturing all his/her checkers or by blocking their position so that no move can be made.

  • The player who achieves this outcome, wins the french checkers game; if neither player can accomplish this tactic, the game is a draw.
  • ~ Game Starting Position ~

  • The board is positioned squarely between the two opponents and is placed so that a single dark corner is on the player’s left side and a double corner is on the player’s right side.

  • The opponent with the light checkers begins the game with the first move and then the players alternate turns thereafter, making only one move at a time.
  • ~ Game Moves & Captures ~

  • The checkers can only move forward one square at a time either diagonally left or right to an unoccupied square.

  • Capturing is mandatory but the player’s checker may capture forward or backward in a diagonal path.

  • If a continuous capture is possible, then the opponent must make this move until the run is complete as long as there are empty squares immediately adjacent to the checkers being captured.
  • ~ Crowned to become ‘Queen’ ~

  • When a checker reaches the opponent’s last row, it is crowned by that player and becomes a ‘queen’.

  • This ‘queen’ can move any number of squares along the diagonal on any given turn.

  • The ‘queen’ may capture any unguarded checker or queen piece in any diagonal path she takes in a move by leaping over the captured piece and remaining on any empty square that the queen chooses along the same diagonal beyond the piece that has been captured.

  • If the ‘queen’ has the opportunity to take another unguarded checker, then she must choose the diagonal where the capture can be made.










  • International Checkers
    Brazilian Checkers
    or Draughts
    English Draughts
    (Great Britain)
    Danish Draughts
    (Checkers)
    Frisian Checkers Canadian Checkers Russian Checkers
    Italian Checkers Polish Checkers Spanish Pool Checkers
    French Checkers German Checkers African Checkers
    Turkish Checkers Lasca Checkers Alquerque Checkers
    Thai Checkers Czech Checkers Sri-Lanka Checkers
    Tiers Checkers Spanish Checkers Checkers Federations

    DeerLake Online Store Items

    Wonder Mugs Play checkers online, and enjoy drinking from this cool wonder mug.
    When adding hot liquid, the colors of the mug will change, checkers cool.

    Checkers is a two-player game, where one player is assigned white-chip checkers and the other red. The aim is to play checkers online, capture all of the other player's checkers or make them impossible to move.

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