Some say draughts come from Spain and others see the roots of this board game in France. Draughts - a real story.
While thinking about the roots of draughts, you need to look back at the history of ancient Egypt. Egyptians used to play Senet - the game which is recognized as the predecessor of draughts. Another ancient entertainment associated with draughts was the Roman game Latrunculi.
The first more detailed and also more contemporary reference to draughts come from the area of the 16th-century Spain - Antonio de Torquemada wrote about the game draughts in the mid-sixteenth century and a few years later Pedro Ruiz Montero from Andalusia dedicated his treatise to draughts.
It can be assumed, however, that the Arabs were those who contributed to the spread of draughts around the world. This game was known in the Arab world as "El Quirkat" ("Alquerque") and by sub-Saharan Arabs called "damma".
Interestingly, today in many countries the term draughts is derived from the Arabic word "damma", eg Spanish and Portuguese "Damas", French "Dames" or Czech "Dáma".
The term draughts in English is related to the former meaning of the word "draught" i.e. "move". It is also often explained that the word "draughts" is related to the fact that during the game the pieces "are dragged" from the board.
In the first half of the 18th century, a new version of draughts appeared in France - played on 10x10 board. According to a legend the new variant was invented by the Polish officer Franciszek Żubr.
The most popular variants of draughts are:
The first world championships in 10x10 draughts took place in Paris in 1885 and the winner was a French, Anatole Dussaut. Nearly 100 years later, in 1973 the first women's world championship took place, and the champion title was won by Elena Mikhailovskaya.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Jonathan Schaeffer created a computer program Chinook that will never lose a game in the English variant of draughts (checkers). Jonathan Schaeffer has proved that if no player makes a mistake, the game always ends in a draw. Still no computer programs has been able to solve classic or international checkers, let alone chess.
If you want to learn more about the different variants of draughts (i.e. checkers), take a look here
It's not a secret that tmany famous people were draughts (or checkers) enthusiasts. Napoleon Bonaparte, Cicero, Edgar Allan Poe, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Darwin and Jean Jacques Rousseau were keen on draughts and were spending a lot of their time playing this game.
Though we live in the era of video games, draughts / checkers are still a very popular pastime. On one hand, it can be explained by simple and transparent rules of the game - already a 4 or 5-year old kid can learn how to play on the 8x8 board. On the other hand, draughts is also a great family game that can be played during autumn evenings or quiet Sunday afternoons. And although the rules of the game are not complicated, the results of the gameplay can often be really surprising.
It should be noted here that draughts is not only great fun for people of all ages, but it also develops intelligence, perceptiveness, improves logical thinking and perfects problem-solving skills, both in the case of children and adults. And in the world of smartphones and tablets, you can play draughts or checkers almost everywhere.return