Russian draughts (also known as Shashki or Russian shashki) is a variant of draughts (checkers) played in some parts in Russia and some parts of the former USSR, as well as parts of Eastern Europe and Israel. Also popular game ″poddavki″ (Misère game), which require players to make a capture move if it is available (a player wins if he have no pieces).
As in all draughts variants, Russian draughts is played by two people, on opposite sides of a playing board, alternating moves. One player has dark pieces, and the other has light pieces. Pieces move diagonally and pieces of the opponent are captured by jumping over them.
The rules of this variant of draughts are:
- Board. The board is an 8×8 grid, with alternating dark and light squares. The left down square field should be dark.
- Pieces. Traditionally, the colors of the pieces are black and white. There are two kinds of pieces: "men" and "kings". Kings are differentiated as consisting of two normal pieces of the same color, stacked one on top of the other.
- Starting position. Each player starts with 12 pieces on the three rows closest to their own side, as shown in the diagram. The row closest to each player is called the "crownhead" or "kings row". The white (lighter color) side moves first.
- How to move. There are two ways to move a piece: simply sliding a piece diagonally forward to an adjacent and unoccupied dark square, or "jumping" one of the opponent's pieces. In this case, one piece would "jump over" the other, provided there is a vacant square on the opposite side for it to land on. Jumping can be done forward and backward. A piece that is jumped is captured and removed from the board. Multiple-jump moves are possible if, when the jumping piece lands, there is another piece that can be jumped. Jumping is mandatory and cannot be passed up to make a non-jumping move, nor can fewer than the maximum jumps possible be taken in a multiple-jump move. When there is more than one way for a player to jump, one may choose which sequence to make, not necessarily the sequence that will result in the most amount of captures. However, one must make all the captures in that sequence.
- Kings. If a player's piece moves into the kings row on the opposing player's side of the board, that piece is said to be "crowned", becoming a "king" and gaining the ability to move freely multiple steps in any direction and jump over and hence capture an opponent piece some distance away and choose where to stop afterwards. If an ordinary piece moves into the kings row from a jump and it can continue to jump backwards as a king then the move should be continued. Also if there is a piece in the king's path that can be captured, the king must capture it, provided it's the player's move. There is no choice whether to do it or not, but the player can choose where to land after the capture.
- How the game ends. A player wins by leaving the opposing player with no legal moves, i.e. by capturing or blocking all of the opposing player's pieces.