Checkers Vs. Chess (Which Is Better?)

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 05:26 pm

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Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 05:26 pm

When you compare checkers and chess, you will realize that they are pretty similar games. Both games use a board with 64 squares, and the pieces are moved around to play.

You can also promote your game pieces if you manage to reach the 8th rank on the board with any checker pieces or with your pawns in chess. 

But this is where the similarities end.

The main difference between the two games comes with the complexity of the moves. The red and black checker pieces just go in one direction on the board… forward (until they become kings) while in chess the pieces move not only forwards and backwards but also side to side and with many different rules for each piece.

Checkers and chess are very different games so comparing them or trying to determine which one is better can be difficult. 

Checkers is better for beginner or younger players as the game is much less intricate. Chess requires much more thought (since the pieces all have different moves) so it is better for teens/adults that are looking to challenge their minds. 

Ultimately whether checkers or chess is better really depends on your personal preference. If you want something more challenging, chess is better for you as the different roles assigned to the pieces make it more complex.

But if you are looking for a more casual yet stimulating strategy game, checkers would be perfect for you.

Both checkers and chess can be fun to play but it is important that you not only know the rules for each game but also that you follow them. For example, one rule that many people don’t follow is that in checkers you have to jump the opponent’s pieces if one is available.

Since many people don’t know (or follow) this rule it often prolongs the checker games.

Another common rule of checkers that people don’t follow is what happens if a player can’t move any of their pieces. According to the rules if a checker player can’t move any pieces they lose the game. But many people don’t follow this rule either.

There are also many rules in chess that people don’t know or understand. The most common one is that if a move is repeated 3 times in the same game then the game can be considered a draw (if one of the player’s calls it out). So be careful when trying to put your opponent in checkmate so they don’t get you with this one.

In this article, I will pit checkers and chess against each other and discuss how these games differ. Let’s dive into the differences below.

Checkers And Chess Differences

Both checkers and chess games require strategizing and contemplating your opponent’s moves, which makes neither very easy. But chess is undoubtedly more challenging because of the reason mentioned above.

Let’s now have a look at some of the differences between these two widely popular board games.

Game Pieces

In chess, you and your opponent each will get 16 different pieces in two colors – black and white. These pieces will have different shapes and designations: king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn.

Knowing the role of each of these pieces and how you can use them to your advantage is difficult for beginners. 

You have to set up these pieces on the first two rows of the board, on both the black and white squares.

On the other hand, you will get 16 pieces in checkers, all shaped like discs. They will come in black and red colors, respectively, for each opponent.

In this game, you will have to place the discs on the black squares only, which requires 3 rows for all 16 discs. All of the pieces in checkers can only move diagonally forward until they are “crowned”. 

Once a piece is crowned they can move diagonally forward and backwards. 


In chess, each of the different game pieces has its own unique movement. Rooks can only move horizontally or vertically, whereas bishops can only move diagonally. Both of these pieces can move any number of squares.

Kings can only move one square in any chosen direction unless moving in a particular square will get the king captured. Queens can move vertically, horizontally, or diagonally for any number of squares.

Knights move two squares vertically or horizontally, then one square diagonally. Pawns move in a vertical direction and can cross only one square each round.

You can move the pieces only diagonally for checkers and only move one square per round unless you are capturing one of your opponent’s pieces. If you are double or triple jumping in checkers you are allowed to move and capture more than one piece in a turn while in chess you are limited to capturing a single piece.

Another important difference in regards to chess and checkers is that you only move in one direction in checkers while in chess you can move forward, backwards, and side to side. The only way you can move more than forward in checkers is after your piece becomes a “king”.

Once your checker piece is a king you can them move it forward or backwards across the board. This makes getting a double or triple jump with the king a lot easier as well.

The first move in a game of chess must be a white pawn. For checkers, a black piece moves first.


In chess, your objective is to use your pieces with their own unique moves to trap your opponent’s king. You can capture other pieces of your opponent from the board to make the game easier for you, but that is not part of the main objective.

For checkers, your objective is to capture as many of the opponent’s pieces as you can and be the player with the most pieces remaining at the end of the game.

So, you do not target any single piece in checkers; instead, all of your opponent’s pieces are your targets.

Capturing Opponent’s Pieces

In chess, if the unique movement of one of your pieces lands on a square that is currently occupied by one of your opponent’s pieces, you can capture it by moving your piece to that square.

This rule does not apply to pawns. Pawns can only move vertically forward by one square to capture a piece. 

When it comes to capturing, if your opponent’s piece is on a diagonal square in front of your pawn, then you can capture it moving diagonally. You cannot use a vertical move to capture pieces with pawns.

For checkers, you can only capture pieces by moving diagonally and jumping over one of your opponent’s pieces and landing on an empty square next to your opponent. 

You cannot capture a piece if the square diagonally next to your opponent’s piece is not empty.


Both the games allow you to promote specific pieces if conditions are met. In chess, if one of your pawns reaches the farthest row from its original position, which is the 8th row from you, then it can be promoted to a queen, bishop, rook, or knight.

You can then move that pawn as you would the promoted designation.

By contrast, in checkers, if one of your pieces reaches the farthest row, which is also the 8th row from you, it can be promoted to a king.

A king in checkers can move in any direction diagonally. This allows it to move both directions across the board and  capture pieces much more easily. 


Both of these games are played on an 8 x 8 board composed of 64 squares. Usually, a chessboard is black and white; a checkers board is black and red. 

While these are traditional colors, you can find both chess and checkers boards in other colors as well.

The color of the squares does not hold much meaning in chess, apart from distinguishing the squares from each other. In checkers, however, you can only play on the black squares. The red squares remain empty at all times.

Final Words

In the battle of checkers vs. chess, neither comes out on top as the winner as the gameplay makes them different from each other.

While chess may be tougher to master, do not underestimate checkers because it can get pretty intense, too – especially if your opponent is a tough one.

Which game is ultimately better really depends on you and what you prefer. If you like a good challenge and a game that will last quite a while then you will want to play chess. 

If you just want a simple game that will be over pretty quickly then checkers is a good option. 

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 05:26 pm

Matthew R

Hi, My name is Matt and I am all about toys! When trying to find accurate information online about toys I was finding it difficult so I decided to make this site.

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