Checkers or Draughts, as it is known in Great Britain, has
ancient roots. It is thought that the earliest form of checkers
was a game discovered in an archeological dig at Ur in Iraq.
Carbon dating makes it appear that this game was played around
3000 B.C. However, the game used a slightly different board, a
different number of pieces and no one is quite certain of the
In Ancient Egypt a game called
Alquerque, which had a 5X5 board was a common and much played
game. Historians have traced it as far back as 1400 B.C. It was
a game of such popularity that it was played all over the
western world for thousands of years.
Around 1100 a Frenchman got the
idea of playing the game on a chess board. This meant expanding
the number of pieces to 12 on a side. It was then called "Fierges"
or "Ferses". It was soon found that making jumps mandatory made
the game more challenging. The French called this version "Jeu
Force". The older version was considered more of a social game
for women and was called "Le Jeu Plaisant De Dames".
Now the rules for checkers were
set and the game was exported to England and America. In Great
Britain the game was called "Draughts". Books were written on
the game in Spain as early as the mid 1500's and in England a
mathematician name William Payne wrote his own treatise on
Draughts in 1756.
Through the years the game has
retained its popularity. In 1847 the first world championship
was awarded. Yet as time went on, it was realized that certain
openings always gave one side an advantage. Thus, two move
restrictions were developed for expert players that actually
began the game in a random manner. Today even three move
restrictions are used in tournament checkers.