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.