Checkers Learning Hub.

How to play International Draughts

Game setup

International Draughts, also known as International Checkers or Polish Checkers, is played on a 10 by 10 board with alternating dark and light squares. The board is oriented so that each player sits with a dark colored square in the leftmost corner of the row closest to them.

Each player starts with 20 checker pieces placed on the 20 dark squares of the 4 rows closest to them. Checker pieces are flat disks, often with ridged edges and are generally black and red or black and white.


The game of Internation Draughts is won when all of your opponents pieces are either captured or blocked. A game can also end in a draw if both players agree or automatically if a position repeats three times with the same player having the turn each time.

Game play

Players take turns moving their men across the board while attempting to capture or block all of their opponent’s pieces. Players will try to advance their pieces to the enemies homerow (the row closest to him/her), at which point the piece becomes a “king” and can move in both directions.


Pieces can only move diagonally

Dark squares are the only valid squares for checker pieces to move to. A piece will always move diagonally by traversing the same number of rows as columns.

Men can only move forward

Men must advance forward in the direction of the opponent’s home row except when capturing in which case they may move forward or backward diagonally.

Pieces can only move one square when not capturing

During a normal, non-capturing, move, pieces advance to a square diagonally adjacent to their current square.

Pieces can only move to vacant squares

A piece can never land on a square that already has a piece of either color on it.

Pieces are captured when hopped over

Pieces can jump their opponents when they are on a diaganolly bordering square and the square behind it is vacant. Multiple pieces can be jumped in a single turn this way if possible based on the board arrangement.

Captures are mandatory

If a capture is available then a player must take it and if multiple capture moves are possible then the player must choose the one that captures the most pieces.

Men are crowned after reaching the enemy’s home row

When a man ends it's turn on the opponent's homerow it is "crowned", making it a king with the new ability to move in both the forward and backward directions any number of spaces. Kings can also capture opponent pieces any number of squares away as long as their are no friendly pieces blocking their path. Kings still are required to obey the mandatory capture rule. A king is physically marked by placing a second checker piece on top of the first. In online games the king is often denoted with a crown icon on the checker.

A player wins when their opponent no longer has any legal moves or when he/she resigns

A draw occurs when both players agree, automatically after 3 repeated board positions with the same side to move

Players can choose to agree to a draw at any time during the game but a draw is also automatically called after a board position is repeated three times which do not have to occur consecutively.

Differences from American Checkers

Flying Kings

Kings are much more powerful in International Draughts because they can move and capture pieces any number of squares away. Kings can land on any square they want beyond a captured piece as well.

Mandatory Maximum Captures

If multiple captures are available then the rules of International Draughts require you to take the one that captures the most pieces. In American Checkers you are allowed to take any capture move without consideration for how many pieces will ultimately be taken.

Board Size and Starting Piece Count

Internation Draughts is played on a 10 by 10 board with 20 checker pieces on each side while American checkers is played on an 8 by 8 board with 12 checker pieces per side.

Men Capture Backwards

In International Draughts men can capture in and diaganol direction just like kings.

Crowning only if turn ends with piece on opponent's home row

In Internation Draughts, if a piece lands on the opponent's home row during a multi-hop capture move but continues jumping and ends the turn somewhere else then the piece is not crowned. This differs from American Checkers where landing on the home row automatically crowns the piece and ends player's turn even if that piece still has captures it could otherwise take.


Is International Draughts solved?

No, International Draughts remains unsolved as of 2023 despite American Checkers being solved in 2007 by Jonathan Schaeffer's team. Solving International Draughts is substantially more complex combinatorially due to the larger board size, flying kings and men's backward capturing ability.

Can a single Draught take a king?

Yes kings can be taken by a single draught piece according to International Draught's rules.

What is the huffing rule in draughts?

The huffing rule was a historical rule that allowed an opponent's piece to be removed from the board if it had a capture available to it but did not take it either deliberately or by mistake. The rule is not included in the modern rules described by the World Checkers Draughts Federation.

How far can a king move in International Checkers?

A king can move any number of spaces in International Checkers so long as the path is not obstructed. This rule is referred to the flying kings rule.