In the standard rules of Checkers as it is played in tournaments and the like, jumps are mandatory, i.e. if it is possible for you to jump, you must jump, and if it possible to do jump again you must do so, and keep jumping until you can’t jump anymore. But kids often play a variant of Checkers where you don’t have to jump if you don’t want to. My question is, what are the best strategies for this variant?

From experience I think the second player has an advantage in this variant. In particular, I think that if the second player engages in perfect play, it will be impossible for the first player to win, so the first player’s best strategy is just to not move your back pieces, play the best you can, and hope that the second player makes a mistake and moves the back pieces (either because they’re forced or because they foolishly choose to). And the second player’s best strategy is to not move your back pieces and either try to reach a point where the first player has to move their back pieces and you can get a king, or a point where the first player has no more moves left. Is that in the right ballpark?

Note that I’m taking about a “no flying kings” variant.

2 Answers 2


One of the big reasons kids don't like the forced jump rule is the simple fact of feeling trapped into sacrificing their pieces by taking yours. I believe you are correct in your strategy of holding back your final line however sometimes if you set traps and places where you will capture pieces is a better strategy. Hope this helps.

  • 2
    Am I right that if two players engage in perfect play then the second player will always win? Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 13:34
  • 1
    And is checkers without forced jumps a solved game, like checkers with forced jumps? Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 13:35
  • I think the answer to both questions would be yes. The no jump rule only opens up more options and "paths" for the game to take.
    – Jokus
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 21:44
  • If you can substantiate both of those claims, I’m happy to award you the bounty. Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 23:46

I recommend moving one of the two middle pieces as your first move, then take the piece one vertical space down from it then moving it into the empty space created by your first move. This creates a highly defensible triangle position, and can turn the tables when you are put first.

Always move the first move inward, eg: if your first move is using the second piece from the right then move it to the left, and if it the third from the right move it to the right.

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