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Learning Checkers Strategy

In checkers, as in any subject undertaken for mastery, the novice should be learning checkers strategy from resources already published by masters in the field. Unfortunately, it seems that learning checkers strategy materials don’t really focus on the knowledge required by the new, inexperienced player. Checkers authorities have produced an abundant volume of learning checkers strategy literature dealing with the results of expert players in tournaments, matches and other challenging games. These checkers strategy books are also supplemented with copious analyses of game play in magazines and newspaper articles, yet very little has been written at a purely novice level that explains the principles and strategies that constitute the game's science. Most checkers strategy literature makes the mistake of trying to bridge this wide gap between the checkers beginner and the master with a few generalities to introduce the game rather than taking the time to give some concrete advice that the first time player can digest and implement.

Many excellent players have therefore attained their rank the hard way by learning the correct lines and the underlying principles by a lot of trial and error or simply, playing game after game after game. Proper schooling would certainly have simplified learning checkers strategy slow and tedious climb. Some expert checker players have been fortunate to have been coached by masters and have, therefore, been spared the tedium of this trial and error learning method. Trial and error methodology is not one to give the best results because it tends to waste time and effort and does not give any assurance of quality play or even depth of understanding of the checker game.

Though some novice checker players might imagine that the game expert possesses a secret mathematical learning checkers strategy rule, which solves every situation that arises on the checkerboard, there is no magical formula for instantaneous checker success. There is no specific ‘modus operandi’ in checkers as the number of possible positions is virtually limitless and no one has ever mastered checkers to the point of infallibility. No checkers literature has come up with the perfect blueprint for automatic wins in the game. The expert's advantage lies in the systematic use of memorized play as well as analytical skill and the ability to look ahead with vision, while using specific principles, formation theories and a knowledge of practical end play.

Memory is an important factor in learning checkers advancement. The checker player may possess an inherent ability and has devised good technique, but there is also the opposition who may know book play equally well and has an massed accumulation of the great masters' learning. Knowledge is power in checkers strategy. If the checker player knows the correct moves in a position, then success is well within reach. So it comes down to this: learning checkers strategy and study different literature and available resources on checkers, learn game plays and tactics and develop the strength behind a good memory, while at the same time, practice the game well. The player who spurns all book lore and relies on his own cross-board effort alone reminds one of the musician who plays by ear.

The following comment on Checker Strategy Books is taken from the Northwest Draughts Association, which quotes Dave Mulholland, Dublin’s premier draughts player in the early decades of the 20th century, when he wrote in his column in the 1912 edition of “Weekly Irish Times” as follows:

We do not agree with those who make a fetish of the “book.” As a record of fine play on certain lines of certain openings, it is invaluable and to the learner it indicates the main principles of attack and defence. Some players however seek to memorize so far as possible the play given, while others confine their attention almost entirely to the study of a particular opening. This is not conductive to learning checkers all round cross board play. One’s standard of play can best be improved by the development of one’s mental powers and for this purpose nothing is more effectual than a game, slowly played and carefully thought out. The books then referred to for learning checkers comparison, to find the weak moves and to confirm the strong ones. The ambitious student should remember that the learning checkers books are not infallible and should not be afraid to be original. There is no desire in all this to underestimate the usefulness of the “book”. We value our own little checkers strategy library.

Before beginning a checkers game, the player must have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of play such as rules and game principles. This, as has been discussed, can be acquired through various available learning checkers strategy resources. Forcing an opponent's moves is one of the real secrets of winning checkers games. However, in order to apply forcing tactics, it is necessary to know something about formations, traps and shots, problems on end play, and to look forward in the game play with keen vision. In planning the checker game, it is important to make use of the forcing principle in preference to playing a waiting game, while hoping that the opponent will make a mistake. Work the game in such a way that correct positional play will secure a win.

In some respects, the game of checkers and its strategy has been likened to that of a war and its battle tactics. Each player becomes a general with an army of twelve men on a battleground of thirty two squares. The leaders in war maneuver their forces with military precision, all the while attacking here, sacrificing there and striving to outwit the foe by strategy or overwhelming the opposition with superior numbers.

Learning checkers tactical maneuvers are also used in the friendly mind sport, a game that is based purely on mental skill and individual technique. A great general does not advance the army into battle haphazardly and a good checker player should ensure that a game of checkers involves advance planning and the use of formations in which the men protect one another and present a concerted front toward the opposition.

No matter what the fight, the attacker must be completely aware of the battlefield. In all likelihood, there are danger zones that must be avoided so therefore, they should be learning checkers in advance; however, this is also the prime objective into which the attacker wants to impel the opposition. May be there are key points that will control the whole realm of action once seized and then the resultant course of events will either be dictated by the attacker or by the opponent.

The checkerboard is the battlefield and the player must understand all key positions or squares that will dictate specific moves in the game play. It is important to note that the squares are not all the same; in fact, those in the center of the board are unlike those around the perimeter. From the center, it takes only a few moves to get to any square on the board. It is a long way from one side of the board to the other and by the time the player gets there, it may be too late and the game is lost.

Apart from speed, the central squares offer a wider scope for the checker player. From this position, the player can attack or protect either flank, depending upon which tactic offers greater profit. In some cases, the checker player will switch the attack or defense, from one flank to another and then this will necessitate that the player pass through the central squares. If these squares are in the player’s control, the strategic plan may be carried out; however, if the opponent dominates the central squares, then communications are diminished or even cut off and the checker men will have to move around the sidelines. Therefore, control of the center can mean control of the board.

Learning Checker Outer Squares

So this means that learning checkers will tell you that the outer squares are less desirable than the central position and the squares in the very corners of the board are even less desirable still and in many cases, are unsafe for strategic checker play. The four corners of a checkerboard are not identical. As has been mentioned before, two of the corners on the board consist of only one square with one exit from that square. Generally, these single corners are to be avoided, if at all possible, for they are unsafe. The double corner squares protect each other and with twin exits will be safe in contrast to the single corners.

Central control is important; however, that doesn't mean that every checker piece the player has is automatically moved into the center as soon as possible, for this will only clutter the board so that the player can not make any viable moves. A tightly packed group calls forth a pincer movement from the opposition. Control is the essential, but the checker player only needs to occupy the center of the checkerboard with as many checker men as will gain control of this, but no more. Control is achieved when the opponent is unable to move on to any of the center squares and is thus forced into the less favored areas of the board. This is therefore the player’s ultimate goal so that the enemy is driven into the wilderness where death is eminent. Central control is a means to this checkers strategy end.

Checker players should also consider learning he diagonal position in the game. A chain of squares across the checkerboard forms an oblique line or a diagonal. Per there are seven diagonals running across the board from upper right corner to lower left corner or vice-versa. However, only one is a true diagonal and straight from end to end, and this is the diagonal line that extends from single corner to single corner:

D-Line Diagonal on checkerboard

D-Line Diagonal on a Checkerboard

Just as the squares often determine the value of the pieces, so the action of the checkers as a whole may determine the character and strength of the diagonals and a diagonal is strong because it allows the configuration of telling formational patterns. Learning checkers diagonals are of significant importance early in the game, when there are available numbers of checkers to form chains of attack or defence. Later in the game, when the forces are dwindling to a few scattered checkers on the checkerboard, then the individual squares gain strategy importance.

One of the vital concepts of the checker game is that a player does not always make a move because he/she wishes to do so, but at times because the player must make a play. When it is a player’s turn, then a move must be made to somewhere on the board. If a player has a turn but cannot make a legal move, then the game is lost. This is what decides the player’s fate and nothing else.

A good checker player never rushes the game play but takes time to analyze the checkerboard carefully, examining every possible move, playing slowly and thoughtfully. The move that is likely to beat the player is the one that was overlooked or one the checker player did not think worthy of real consideration. Move in haste and repent at leisure is appropriate as a motto in checkers. It is so better and much more wise to play one good game of checkers than a hundred sloppy, careless ones. Good checker players and masters alike always use their heads in conjunction with their hands.

One of the best learning strategies a player can use during his/her turn is to consider the elimination process by rapidly determining the best play that is available with this move. Therefore, the checker player should start with a quick mental count of every possible move or at least as many as come to mind at that point.

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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