||Checkers Around the World
Frisian Checkers Game of the
Netherlands (Holland; Nederland)
A Uniquely Different Form of Checkers
Frisian Draughts is a unique form of Checkers
that is still played in Holland today. Originally,
this strategic board game was created in Friesland,
a northern province in the Netherlands. This
game is similar to International
Draughts Checkers, though with a slight
variance in a couple of the rules. Before the
18th century, Frieslanders developed the strategic
board game, now called Frisian Draughts/Checkers.
In early days, this popular game was organized
into matches by innkeepers in an attempt to
entice customers to come into their inn. However,
by the 18th century, Frisian Draughts had spread
beyond the Netherlands into France and was
a notable game in Paris for quite some time.
Some sources also mention that this game of
checkers was played in other countries such
as Armenia and Thailand. In the 1930’s,
the Frisian Draughts Association (DFS ~ Dambond
Fries Spel) was founded and became the organization
that coordinated Frisian draughts matches.
Each year personal and club championships are
organized and the champion will play a match
against the strong computer program, Lusoris.
There are currently eleven clubs with a membership
of 300 players within the DFS. One club, the Vriendenclub,
of Friends’, is intended to draw
the interest of checkers players outside of
Friesland so these new players can be introduced
to this unique aspect of Frisian culture.
Frisian Checkers Game, Rules of Play:
~ The Frisian Game Board ~
Frisian checkers is played on a 10 x 10 checkerboard
- The double corner on the checkerboard
is to the right of each player.
- 20 light and 20 dark checkers or draughts
are used by the opponents.
- The checkers are positioned from the ‘baseline’ dark
squares closest to the player and four
rows up so that there are only two empty
rows of squares left on the board.
~ Object of the Checkers Game ~
- In Frisian checkers, each player’s
objective is to employ game strategy and
capture all the opponent’s men, which
are called ‘draughts’ (checkers
or checker men) or ‘wolves’(kings).
~ Starting Position ~
- As in most checkers games, the opponent
with the lighter checkers starts the game
and then the opponents take turns after
the first move is made.
~ Frisian Checkers Game Moves & Captures
- Moves are made only one at a time by
- Each player may move his/her draught
checker) diagonally, horizontally and vertically,
which means that there are eight possibilities
within a move.
- A move is made by sliding the checker
forward onto an adjacent empty square or
by jumping the opponent’s piece and
thus capturing it.
- Capturing is mandatory and the player
must continue to jump as many checkers
as are in his/her path during the move
on the checkerboard.
- Frisian checker pieces capture in all
directions on squares that are the same
- Neither opponent may jump over his/her
own checker piece.
- Captured checkers may not be removed
until the play is complete and the player’s
hand has been removed from the game board.
~ Crowned to become King ~
- When a player’s draught (checker)
reaches the opponent’s back or king
row, it becomes a ‘wolf’ or
- The opponent must crown the new king
by placing another checker of the same
color on top.
- Another move may not be made until the
opponent’s checker is crowned.
~ ‘Wolf’ or King Moves ~
- Wolves (kings) are able to move forwards
or backwards on the diagonals.
- Wolves (kings) capture an opponent’s
checkers in all directions, landing anywhere
behind the captured checker piece.
- A wolf may only move three successive
times and must then be set ‘free’ by
capture, or by the move of one of the player’s
other men; however, this rule is not in
force if the player only has wolves (kings)
- If a wolf (king) can make the same capture as a regular checker piece, then the king must make the capture; otherwise, the checker that can capture the most pieces must do so.
- When a checker reaches the opponent’s
king row and can continue jumping, then
it must do so; it will not be crowned because
it must continue the jump.
- wolves (kings) can move any number of
- If a player has two kings and the opponent
has only one, the former has seven moves
to make to finish the game.
- If the player does not win the game
in seven moves, then the game is a draw.
~ Special Traits of Frisian Draughts ~
- The checker opponents are closer to
each other than one tends to realize.
- There are many possible checker moves
because the players can cover the game
board diagonally, vertically and horizontally.
- The challenge is inherent in the draughts
(checkers) game because there are so many
more combinations available.
- The chance of the game ending in a draw
are very slim.
- Two kings against one usually means
winning the checkers game.
- With the possibility of so many new
combinations, there are more ways to win
the Frisian checkers game.