|Genres||Board game |
Abstract strategy game
|Setup time||< 1 minute|
International draughts (also called international checkers or Polish draughts) is a strategy board game for two players, one of the variants of draughts. The gameboard comprises 10×10 squares in alternating dark and light colours, of which only the 50 dark squares are used. Each player has 20 pieces, light for one player and dark for the other, at opposite sides of the board. In conventional diagrams, the board is displayed with the light pieces at the bottom; in this orientation, the lower-left corner square must be dark.
According to draughts historian Arie van der Stoep, the 100 square draughts board came into use in the Netherlands between 1550 and 1600, and the number of pieces was extended to 2x20 between 1650 and 1700. The name "Polish draughts" was following a Dutch convention of the time that "unnatural" ideas were considered "Polish".
The general rule is that all moves and captures are made diagonally. All references to squares refer to the dark squares only. The main differences from English draughts are: the size of the board (10×10), pieces can also capture backward (not only forward), the long-range moving and capturing capability of kings known as flying, and the requirement that the maximum number of men be captured whenever a player has capturing options.
These are extra rules accommodated in some tournaments and may vary:
Each of the fifty dark squares has a number (1 through 50). Number 46 is at the left corner seen from the player with the light pieces. Number 5 is at the left corner seen from the player with the dark pieces.
The first world championship was held in international draughts in 1894. It was won by Frenchman Isidore Weiss, who held the title for eighteen years with seven world championship titles. Then, for nearly sixty years, the title was held by representatives from either France or the Netherlands, including Herman Hoogland, Stanislas Bizot, Marius Fabre, Ben Springer, Maurice Raichenbach, Pierre Ghestem, and Piet Roozenburg. In 1956, the hegemony of the French and the Dutch was broken: the champion was Canadian Marcel Deslauriers. In 1958, the USSR's Iser Kuperman became the world champion, beginning the era of Soviet domination in international draughts, a feat which would mirror their domination at chess around this time.
The official status of the world championships are held under the auspices of the World Draughts Federation (FMJD) since 1948. In 1998, the first World Championship was held in the format of the blitz. The first Women's World Championship was held in 1973. The first women's champion was Elena Mikhailovskaya from Soviet Union. A World Junior Championship has been contested since 1971; the first winner was Nicholay Mischansky.
In addition to the World Championships, there is also a European Championships since 1965 (men) and 2000 (women).
The World Draughts Federation maintains a ranking. As of 1 January 2022[update], the men's list is headed by Alexander Georgiev from Russia, and the women's list is headed by Natalia Sadowska from Poland.
Computer draughts programs have been improving every year. First draughts programs were written in the mid-1970s. The first computer draughts tournament took place in 1987. In 1993, computer draughts program Truus ranked about 40th in the world. In 2003 computer draughts program Buggy beat world number 8 Samb. In 2005, the 10-time world champion and 2005 World champion, Alexei Chizhov, commented that he could not beat the computer, but he also would not lose to the computer. In 2010, the 9 piece endgame database was built.
Alexander Schwarzman beat computer program Maximus on April 14, 2012. Schwarzman won game 2 in the 6-game match. The other 5 games were draws. Schwarzman was world champion in 1998, 2007, and 2009. Jan-Jaap van Horssen of the Netherlands wrote Maximus. Maximus used a six-piece endgame database. The computer was an Intel core i7-3930K at 3.2 GHz 32 gigabytes memory; it had six cores with hyperthreading. The average search depth was 24.5 ply. The average number of moves evaluated per second was 23,357,000. The average search time was 3 minutes and 52.98 seconds.
Some older well known programs are: