Checkers Around the World
Russian Checkers ~ Shashki
All Russian Federation of Draughts governs
Russian Checkers or Shashki and though this
form of checkers is very popular in the former
Soviet Union, Turkish and International Checkers
are also played. Moreover, Russian Draughts
is an equally popular strategy game in Israel
as well. Russian Checkers/Draughts are usually
played in a ‘Go-As-You-Please’ fashion,
though there are also tournaments held that
include restricted openings. The Federation
also organizes tournaments for two popular
variants of this game: Poddavki and 10x8
Russian Draughts, which has the same rules
as Russian Checkers with the exception that
it’s played on a 10 x 8 checkerboard.
~ The Game Board ~
- The game of Russian Checkers is played
by two opponents on the dark squares of
a standard 8 x 8 checkerboard consisting
of 64 light and dark squares.
- Each player has 12 checkers of contrasting
colors to be used as ‘men’ on
the checkered game board
~ Object of the Russian Checkers Game ~
- As with every other checkers game, the
objective is to strategically outplay
an opponent by capturing all his/her checker
pieces or by preventing the other player
from advancing his/her position by making
any further moves.
- When one opponent has successfully achieved
this goal, then he/she wins the checkers
~ The Starting Position ~
The checkerboard is positioned squarely
between the two players and turned so that
each opponent has a single dark corner on
the left and a double dark corner on the
- At no point during the game is the board
ever changed from this position.
- The checkers are placed on the first
three rows of dark squares closest to
- The players may choose to randomly select
the color of the checkers to be used or
may simply take turns using the light and
- The opponent with the light colored checkers
begins the game with the first move and
thereafter, they alternate making one move
at a time.
- The board is numbered one through thirty-two
and A through H for
game notation and player strategy
~ Russian Game Moves & Captures ~
- Once the game is begun, each player will
move his/her checkers in a forward diagonal
path only to an unoccupied square.
- Players may only move one square at
- All captures are mandatory in the checkers
- Each opponent captures the other player’s
checkers by jumping over each one to an
adjacent empty square directly beyond.
- Capturing jumps are made both forward
and backward and continue as long as there
are opposing checkers in the diagonal path
with unoccupied squares in an adjacent
- At no point in the game may either opponent
jump over his/her own checkers to gain
advantage in the play.
- Capturing jumps may only be made over
the other player’s men or kings.
~ Crowned to become King ~
- In order to become a king, a checker
must reach the opponent’s last or
- If a player’s checker reaches the
far side through a jumping sequence, it
continues to jump on the same move as a
- The checker remains a king at the end
of the capturing sequence.
- Once a checker has become a king, the
opponent must crown the checker immediately
and then may proceed with his/her turn.
- Another checker is placed upon the first
checker to signify the change in status.
~ King Moves & Captures ~
- Russian kings are also ‘flying
kings’ in that they may
move forward or backward any number of
squares on a diagonal path which has
unoccupied squares on which to land.
kings’ capture from any
distance in a diagonal line by jumping
over an opposing checker or king in a
forward or backward direction to an empty
- The capturing king will land on unoccupied
squares during the jumping sequence and
will continue jumping either on the same
path or by changing directions with a right
angle turn onto another diagonal line.
- As with the regular checker pieces, kings
may not jump over their own men.
- Kings must take advantage of all capturing
- If there is more than one way to make
a jump, there is no restriction on which
direction the player must take; the player
may choose the direction and move that
best serves his/her strategy at this point
- The checkers opponent is not required
to make the move that will result in the
greatest number of captures.
- If a capturing sequence allows the player
to jump over an opposing checker or king
with more than one empty square immediately
beyond it, the king must land on a square
that will lead to further jumping.
- If there is more than one such square
in a sequence, then the player may again
choose which one he/she finds most suitable.
- Once a king is moving in a capturing
sequence, then all possible jumps must
be made in that capture.
- If a situation develops wherein one
opponent has three kings and the other
has only one king and there are no other
checkers on the board, a count is initiated
with the moves of the stronger side.
- If the stronger king cannot capture
the lone king by the fifteenth move, then
the game ends in a draw.
- Generally speaking, a win is only feasible
if the opponent with the three kings has
possession of the diagonal path that runs
from the lower left corner to the upper
right corner of the checkerboard.
~ General Rules for Checkers and Kings ~
- Again, as in other checker variants,
a checker is no longer permitted for failure
to make a proper jump.
- If an incorrect jump is made, then it
must be retracted and the correct move
must be made by the same man or king that
began the move in the first place.
- A king or checker may not jump over
the same opposing king or man more than
- No captured checker is removed from
the checkerboard until all capturing jumps
in one sequence have been completed and
the player’s hand has been removed
from the king or checker.
~ Russian Checkers Time Limits ~
- Time limits are set in a checkers game
based on a fixed amount of time allotted
for a given number of moves per player
regardless of how much time is actually
used on any particular move.
- When all moves have been made by both
opponents and neither has used the allotted
time, an additional amount of time and moves
are given to each player.
- Unused time is retained as soon as a
new allotment has been issued.
- This process continues until the end
of the Shashki checkers game.
- If time expires for an opponent before
he/she has made all the required moves,
then the player loses the checkers game.
Russian Checkers/Draughts ~ Poddavki Checkers
This variant of the checkers game is played
in Russian and the ex-Soviet Union countries.
Some checkers enthusiasts in Israel and the United
States also play this version of the game.
Poddavki is a ‘Giveaway’version
of Shashki checkers.
The rules of this variant are the same as
for Russian Checkers in that the game is played
on the dark squares of an 8 x 8 checkerboard
with 12 checkers apiece in contrasting colors.
The board is positioned squarely between the
players so that a dark double corner is on
the right and a single dark corner is on the
left of each opponent. The player with the
light colored checkers begins the play with
the first move, and then they alternate turns
thereafter. Only one move is made at a time.
When a player reaches the opponent’s
king row with his/her checker, then it becomes
a king. Even if the checker arrives at the
king row on a capturing move, it can continue
on as a king and can follow a capturing sequence.
As in Russian Checkers, the kings are ‘flying
The main difference in this version is that
winning is based on forcing the opponent to
capture all the other player’s checkers
and kings or by blocking any further legal
move. The object of winning is the exact opposite
of the regular checkers game. Technically,
it could be said that the object of this Russian
checkers game is really to ‘lose’.