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Draughts (British English) or checkers (American English) is a group of strategy board games for two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform game pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over opponent pieces. Draughts developed from alquerque. The name derives from the verb to draw or to move.
The most popular forms are English draughts, also called American checkers, played on an 8?8 checkerboard; Russian draughts, also played on an 8?8, and international draughts, played on a 10?10 board. There are many other variants played on 8?8 boards. Canadian checkers and Singaporean/Malaysian checkers (also locally known as dum) are played on a 12?12 board.
The 8?8 variant of draughts was weakly solved in 2007 by the team of Canadian computer scientist Jonathan Schaeffer. From the standard starting position, both players can guarantee a draw with perfect play.
Draughts is played by two opponents, on opposite sides of the gameboard. One player has the dark pieces; the other has the light pieces. Players alternate turns. A player may not move an opponent's piece. A move consists of moving a piece diagonally to an adjacent unoccupied square. If the adjacent square contains an opponent's piece, and the square immediately beyond it is vacant, the piece may be captured (and removed from the game) by jumping over it.
Only the dark squares of the checkered board are used. A piece may move only diagonally into an unoccupied square. Capturing is mandatory in most official rules, although some rule variations make capturing optional when presented. In almost all variants, the player without pieces remaining, or who cannot move due to being blocked, loses the game.
The World Championship in English draughts began in 1840. The winners in men's have been from the United Kingdom, United States, Barbados, and most recently Italy (3-Move division). The women's championship in English draughts started in 1993. The women's winners have been from Ireland, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.
The World Championship in international draughts began in 1885 in France, and since 1948 has been organized by the World Draughts Federation (FMJD, Federation Mondiale du Jeu de Dames). It occurs every two years. In even years following the tournament, the World Title match takes place. The men's championship has had winners from the Netherlands, Canada, the Soviet Union, Senegal, Latvia, and Russia. The first Women's World Championship was held in 1973. The World Junior Championship has been played since 1971. European Championships have been held since 1965 (men's) and 2000 (women's).
Other official World Championships began as follows: Brazilian draughts, in 1985; Russian draughts, in 1993; Turkish draughts, in 2014.