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In traditional draughts, the rules written on our copy of the game say a king can take in any direction even if there are empty spaces between the king and the piece it will take.

Is this right? Even if it is, I don't fully understand the rules.

  • For example, if the diagonal has b - - w - - w - and the black piece is a king, can the king jump over both white pieces and take them?
  • Also, can a king take a piece then change direction and take another one?

Some more Internet research suggests that this variant is actually called International Draughts with flying kings, despite what it says on our box.

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3 Answers 3

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Yes, a king can do that, but he has to land in between two pieces. If the diagonal had been b - - w w - - -, he wouldn't have been able to capture the pieces.

And yes, a king can change direction, but again, he has to land on the field where he changes direction. A player must capture as many pieces as possible.

There are many variants of draughts, as evidenced by the WikiPedia article. Pick one you like, or make up your own.

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So in my example he could only have changed direction from this position - - - w b - w - ? Once you are in a corner there is no other direction to go in. Can we choose when he changes direction or is there some rule that says he must choose the direction that maximises the number of pieces he takes? –  felix Feb 12 at 21:53

As Wikipedia already details, there are many different draughts variants, but there are two common rules and one exotic rule according to which kings can capture.

  1. Long-ranged kings. This is the most common rule, which applies to e.g. the International/Brazilian/Canadian, Russian, Spanish and Czech draughts variants and to Pool checkers in the USA. A king can "scan" across empty squares for capture victims, and it can also "slide" through empty squares directly behind a jumped piece. Each of these potential "landing" squares can be used as the starting point for "scanning" for the next victim, which can be in a direction orthogonal to the current direction.

  2. Short-ranged kings. This applies to American checkers and Italian draughts. A king can only capture a piece when it is directly adjacent to it, and it has to "land" directly behind a jumped piece from which it can continue jumping other pieces, including in a direction orthogonal to the current direction.

  3. Exotic kings. The prime example is Thai draughts, where the king can "scan" across empty squares for capture victims, but where it has to "land" directly behind a jumped piece, and can only "scan" for its next victim from that same landing square.

For almost all draughts variants, the jumped pieces are only removed from the board when the king is on its destination square. Furthermore, it is not allowed to jump the same piece more than once during a capture sequence. Changing directions in a capture sequence is therefore only by 90 degrees left or right.

For Thai draughts, however, each jumped victim is immediately removed from the board, after which the king can continue capturing more victims, including in the direction it came from (i.e. 180 degrees turned).

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Flying kings are used in International Draughts but are not used in American Checkers. International Draughts is usually played on a 10x10 board, with American Checkers on an 8x8 board.

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This does not answer the question about the rules –  bengoesboom Feb 14 at 4:34

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