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If you like playing board games, then two of the most popular games that you could possibly choose are chess and checkers. Now, both of them are extremely well known, especially in the Western world. Checkers is a game that you probably played a lot as a kid and chest might be a game that you play a lot now as an adult.
Whatever the case might be, what we’re here to do today is to compare chess and checkers with each other. We want to find out what makes them similar and what makes them different from each other. The main point of today’s article is to help you choose between these two awesome games.
Chess and Checkers: The Basics
Before we start talking about the shared similarities and the differences between chess and checkers, let’s first figure out what both of these games actually are.
What Is Chess?
Chess is an extremely old game that traces its origins all the way back to the 6th century in India. Chess is a two-player board game. Both players get 16 pieces, many of which move in their own specific ways. Keep in mind that there are six different types of pieces that each player gets. The game is played on a board that features 64 squares on an eight by eight square grid.
Chess is an extremely strategy-heavy game that requires players to move their pieces in such ways that they will capture their opponents without themselves being captured. The main point in chess is to capture the opponent’s king through what is called checkmate. With that being said, chess may end in a draw or a stalemate. Most people would agree that in terms of strategic games, chess is one of the hardest ones to play.
What Is Checkers?
While chess may look like a very similar board game due to the fact that it is also played on a board that is 8 by 8 squares for a total of 64 squares, the fact of the matter is that checkers is actually a much older game as it dates all the way back to 3000 BC in the UK. In checkers, both players get 12 pieces for a total of 24 pieces.
Generally speaking, the colors are identified as black and white, although checker pieces may be different colors. In checkers, the pieces move in a diagonal manner in the forward direction, with the main point being to jump your opponent’s pieces, which results in a capture. A player wins the game of checkers when all of the opponents’ pieces have been captured, or if the opponents pieces have been trapped so they cannot make any more moves.
Similarities of Chess and Checkers
Alright, so now that we know what both chess and checkers are, let’s figure out what makes these games similar to each other.
1. They Are Both Board Games
One of the most basic similarities that both chess and checkers share is that they are both board games that involve moving pieces in certain ways across a grid. There are of course different types of games out there, such as dice games and card games too, but both chess and checkers are strictly board games that are only played with the pieces on the board. There is no dice and there are no cards.
2. They Are Both Played on the Same Board
Another fairly basic similarity that both chess and checkers share is that they’re both played on the same type of board. Both games are played on a grid board that features 64 squares. These squares are arranged in an eight by eight pattern. The squares also feature alternating colors, which are generally black and white. Many people would say that chess is actually played on a checkerboard, mainly because checkers is a much older game and the boards do look identical.
3. Number of Players and Play Style
Yet another basic similarity that both chess and checkers share is that they are both strictly two player games. Now, some people might choose to play in teams of two, but this is really not how these games were designed to be played. Moreover, they are also strictly turn-based games, in which players alternate taking turns, or in other words, you make a movement and then your opponent makes a move, and so on and so forth. Each player gets one move per turn.
4. They Are Both Strategy Games
The next similarity that both of these games share is that they are both strategy-heavy games that involve a lot of thinking and forethought. Now, most people would say that checkers is definitely a much easier game to play, mainly because all of the pieces move in the same way, whereas in chess there are six different types of pieces, all move in different ways. So while both are strategy heavy games, most people would say that checkers is more child-friendly, whereas chess is a lot harder.
5. Pieces Can Be Promoted
Another similarity that chess and checkers share is that both games feature the concept of promotion. In chess, if one of your pawns gets to your opponent’s final line (the last grid spaces on their side) then it is turned into a queen, rook, knight, or bishop, and they can do everything that those respective pieces can do. In checkers, when a normal piece which is referred to as a man reaches the furthest side of the board, it then is promoted to a king. A second checkers pieces is put on top of the first one to signify this change. In both chess and checkers, these upgraded pieces are generally seen as the best pieces in the game as they can move very freely.
6. They Are Both Old Games
Now, of course, both games are not the same age, but with that being said, both chess and checkers are literally hundreds of years old. These are some of the oldest games known to man, especially checkers as it is almost 3000 years old, give or take.
Differences Between Chess and Checkers
Now that we know what makes chess and checkers similar, let’s figure out what makes them different from each other.
1. Number and Types of Pieces
One difference between these two games is that in chess players are given 16 pieces, whereas in checkers each player only gets 12 pieces. Moreover, in chess, there are six different types of pieces, which include the pawns, the rooks, knights, queens, bishops, and the king. On the other hand, in checkers, all of the pieces are the exact same. What is of course important to note is that in chess, all six of those pieces move in different ways, whereas in checkers they all move the same way.
2. Winning a Game
Another difference between these two games is how they are won. The game of chess is won when a player checkmates the opponent’s king. The game of chess may also end in a draw or a stalemate. On the other hand, the game of checkers is won when you have the most number of pieces left on the board and your opponent either has no pieces left or can no longer make any moves. One is about capturing the king whereas the other one is more of a last man standing kind of game.
3. Arrangement of the Pieces
In chess, all 16 of your pieces are arranged in the first two lines on the grid. In other words, the 16 squares closest to you all have a piece on them. On the other hand, in checkers the pieces are placed on the first three lines, which means that those twelve pieces sit on alternating pieces along the first three rows closest to you.
4. Promotion Is Different
In checkers, when you can promote a piece, they are all promoted to the king. On the other hand, in chess, when you promote a pawn, you can promote to a queen, rook, knight, or bishop, thus providing you with some choice in this regard. Keep in mind that in checkers there is also no so-called royal family, at least not until one of the men is promoted to a king. On the other hand, chess has a full royal family.
The fact of the matter is that because in chess, there are six different piece types that can move in different ways, that it is a much harder game to play and to master than checkers, where all of the pieces move in the same way. There are many more moves and move combinations in chess than there are in checkers. This is why most people say that checkers is more of a child’s game, whereas chess is like the adult version.
6. Capturing Pieces
One of the biggest and most fundamental differences between these two games is that in chess an opponent’s pieces are captured when you land on that same square, whereas in checkers an opponent’s piece is captured when you jump over their piece with your own piece.
7. Who Goes First
In checkers, the player with the black pieces always goes first, whereas in chess the player with the white pieces always moves first.
8. Playable Squares
In chess, pieces can be played on all 64 squares of the grid, whereas in checkers only the dark squares can be occupied.
Chess vs. Checkers: Which Game to Choose?
The bottom line here is that if you want a strategic board game that is not all too hard to play, then we recommend going with checkers. However, if you want a real challenge and you want to play a strategy-heavy game that is quite difficult, then we recommend chess.
Although checkers and chess do of course share some similarities in the grand scheme of things, they are fairly different games, with chess being the much harder of the two.