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Do You Have To Jump In Checkers?

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One of the most classic games around today would be checkers. The classic checkerboard with red and black pieces is a game that many of us learned at a young age. Personally, I loved this game growing up even though I wasn’t very good at it. 

My older siblings would always beat me without a problem at all. Looking back though, I realize that we didn’t always play the correct way. 

One rule that we definitely did not follow was if you had to jump when the opportunity arose. 

The official rules of checkers is that if there is an opportunity to jump one of your opponent’s pieces, then you must do so. If there is more than one piece that you are able to jump in that turn, then you are allowed to pick which one you want to jump… but you must jump one of them.

This forced-jump rule forms the basis of all tactics in the game of checkers, as it allows one player to control the tempo of the game and thus the position on the board. 

Another thing about jumping, is if there are multiple jumps in one turn, you must take those as well.

This rule may be a good thing or it could be a bad thing depending on your strategy. You may have other plans on the board that did not include you jumping the opponents pieces, but sometimes things just don’t go our way. 

Having to jump may even cost you a piece or two, but in the end, you could come out on top. It all depends on how you strategize and role with the punches.

What Happens If You Don’t Jump In Checkers?

In the middle of a game of checkers, the opportunity arises for you to jump or double jump your opponent’s piece but you decide not to. You know the rules of the game and that you are supposed to jump them; what happens next, since you decided not to follow the rules?

The idea of the rule was that if a player refused to make an available jump, the opposing player could remove the piece that should have jumped. In modern checkers, all jumps must be taken.

That seems pretty fair, if you break the rules and don’t jump when you are supposed to, you could lose that piece. Let’s hope that your opponent doesn’t know the rules or that they are not paying very close attention to the game.

Or better yet… just follow the rules. 

Not only do you have to jump in a normal game of checkers you also lose the game as soon as you can’t move any of your pieces. Many people believe that if you can’t move then your opponent takes two turns in a row but just like being forced to jump there is a rule about moving as well.

Do You Have To Jump In Checkers With A King?

We know that you have to jump with a regular piece while moving forward when the moment arrives. And we know what happens if you do not take the jump with your piece. 

But are you still forced to jump or double jump with a king?

In American checkers, kings must jump just like any other piece, except they may jump forward or backward and may change direction if they are taking multiple jumps. So even if a jump causes you to lose that king on your next turn you still have to make the jump. 

However this is only true in American checkers as some checker games around the world have different rules. 

There are some countries that do not allow regular checker pieces to jump over kings. There are also some that allow kings to move multiple spaces under certain conditions. 

If you are planning to play in another country, I suggest that you look up their rules on how they play. You may be in for a big surprise.

What Are Some Different Versions Of Checkers?

There are some crazy variations in the game of checkers with lots of different rules and fun things to learn. They have different titles and play completely different from what we know. 

Many people love playing checkers instead of chess because of the simplicity of checkers, however these varitations add a lot more complexity to the checkers game you might be used to.

Here are a few of them and the way that they are played.

Turkish Draughts

In this game pieces move horizontally and vertically rather than diagonally. The setup of the pieces is quite different, but otherwise the game is played the same. 

All the pieces are side by side in two rows with the last row staying empty. Players still jump to capture and pieces become kings on the last row.


This one has the same rules of checkers but is played on a hexagonal board. The shape opens up new strategies. For example, pieces can have up to three forward moves rather than two.


There are actually three different stages of this game that change as you play it. 

Triple King

It is played with standard checkers equipment, but plays with the concept of kings. It seems to be the most intriguing. 

If a piece crosses the board, becomes a king, and then crosses the board back to its original side, it becomes a triple king and gains two abilities. 

It can jump friendly pieces to travel faster, and two enemy pieces that are right next to each other in one jump.

Quad King

After the king has crossed the board a second time, it becomes a quad king, along with being able to jump two pieces at once, the quad king is allowed to jump a blank space and an enemy in one move. 

A quad king is not allowed to jump a friendly piece though.

Ultra King

The quad king can now be upgraded to the ultra king. Ultra kings are able to “teleport” to any open space on the board. They are also able to capture enemies simply by being next to them, although they are not able to move on this turn. 

Lastly, an ultra king that has been upgraded to a double ultra king is allowed to make two moves per turn, this includes teleporting and consuming a piece that is next to them.

The different checkers versions are definitely very interesting. If you love checkers you will want to add one or all of these checkers games to your game rotation and give them a try. 

Final Thoughts 

Although checkers has been around for what seems like forever many people (myself included) actually learned how to play wrong! You are required to jump if and when the opportunity presents itself.

This means you can’t just leave your back row of checkers there and extend the game forever. You have to move them to jump if one of your opponents checkers is in front of them. 

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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