Checkers Learning Hub.

How Many Spaces Can a King Move in Checkers?

In American Checkers (the variant played on, also known as English Draughts, kings can move a single space diagonally in any direction on each turn. In other variants, such as International Draughts, kings are allowed to move as many spaces as they can until hitting another piece. This is referred to as a flying king and makes the king significantly more powerful.

American Checkers King Move Rules

If the king is not capturing an opponents pieces then it can only move diagonally one space per turn.

Unlike men, the uncrowned pieces you start the game with, kings can move in all 4 directions if they are not blocked.

Kings can capture in all four directions as well.

Sometimes multiple captures allow a king to travel large distances of the board or take circuitous paths.

Flying King Move Rules

On non-capture mvoes, flying kings have the same rules as a bishop does in chess. They can move diagonally but cannot move beyond a piece (of either side) that blocks their way.

Here is an example of the moves available to a flying king on an open board.

Here the flying king's range is limited because pieces block it's path.

A flying king can also capture an opponent's pieces any number of squares diagonal to it if the square immediately beyond it is unoccupied.

Flying kings can double, triple, quadruple jump and beyond if the board arrangement allows for it.

They still cannot jump over multiple diagonally adjacent pieces however.

There's a dizzying array of checkers variants, each of which with it's own rules around how kings can move but they all fall into one of the two camps described above. This table is a useful cheatsheet for which checkers variants use which king movement rules.

King Move Rules By Checkers Variant

Variant Flying King
American Checkers no
Internation Draughts yes
Ghanaian draughts yes
Frisian draughts yes
Canadian checkers yes
Brazilian draughts yes
Pool checkers yes
Jamaican draughts yes
Russian draughts yes
Mozambican draughts yes
Spanish draughts yes
Singaporean checkers yes
Czech draughts yes
Slovak draughts yes
Hungarian Highlander draughts yes
Argentinian draughts yes
Thai draughts yes
German draughts yes
Turkish draughts yes
Myanmar draughts yes
Tanzanian draughts yes
Italian draughts no
Gothic checkers no