How to play International Draughts - rules & tips

International Draughts, also known as Polish Draughts or International Checkers, is a strategy board game for two players played on a 10x10 board. This prestigious variant of draughts is very popular in Europe and the best players play in professional draughts league in the Netherlands.
  • Draughts 10x10

1. Board & pieces

International draughts is played on a big 10x10 board, consisting of 50 light and 50 dark squares (100 in total). Correct starting position follows below rules:

  • a dark square on a draughts board should be in your left bottom corner
  • each player sets 20 pieces (5 pieces in 4 rows) only on the dark squares
  • two middle rows (ranks) are left empty.

2. How to move pieces?

Light colored pieces start the game and each player can make one move in her/his turn. Please remember that:

  • all moves and captures in international draughts are made diagonally, only on dark squares.
  • a regular piece (called sometimes as man) can move only forward to the adjacent, open square

Tip: The best players usually start the game with the central pieces.

3. Capturing

Besides moving on the board, you are also allowed to jump over the opponent pieces and remove them from the board. This is the capturing.

Follow below rules of capturing in international draughts:

  • capturing is mandatory, so if you have an opportunity to jump over the opponent piece, you have to do it
  • you can capture more than one opponent’s piece in a single move
  • majority rule: if you have a few capturing options, you are forced to choose the sequence that grabs the maximum number of opponent’s pieces
  • ordinary pieces (i.e. uncrowned ones) can capture forwards and backwards

Good to know: sometimes you can sacrifice your own pieces to capture more opponent’s pieces. And it is called the shot. Some of the shots in international draughts have unique and funny names e.g. novice shot or coup Napoleon.

Check out our video lesson to discover all the beauty of the capturing in international checkers.

4. King

Once your ordinary piece reaches and stops on the last rank of the board (kings row) it becomes a king. And the king is much more powerful than an uncrowned piece.

A crowned piece in international draughts is so-called a flying king. It means it:

  • can move and capture diagonally forwards and backwards with the long range
  • can capture more than one opponent’s piece in one move
  • can stop on any open square after the jumping over the opponent’s piece.

Did you know that in Spanish a checkers king is called dama, a word that refers to a lady? Sounds like a game of thrones, doesn't it?

5. Winning the game

Your can win international draughts game in two different ways:

  • by capturing all opponent’s pieces
  • by freezing out all opponent’s pieces

In other words you win when your enemy cannot make any move.

Hey! You may also enjoy our Checkers app

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Checkers app
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