Chapayev (game)

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Chapayev (Russian: игра в Чапаева, igra v Chapayeva) was a game played on a checkerboard, a unique hybrid of checkers and billiards which is played throughout the territory of the former USSR. The aim is to knock the opponent's pieces off the board. The game is named after the Russian Civil War hero, Vasily Chapayev. Chapayev was popular among children everywhere in the former USSR.


A wooden checkerboard and checkers, eight pieces of each colour. Pieces should be of small size (and should be smaller than a board square, otherwise the game can be too easy and less captivating).


The game is played in several rounds. During the first round, white pieces are placed on the first row, and black on the last. White opens the game. (To neutralize the advantage, pie rule can be used, allowing the black player to choose to switch places after the first move.)

A player takes his turn by flicking one of his pieces with the index finger. If the move pushes one or more opponent's pieces off the table while all of the player's own pieces remain, he gets an extra move.

In regional variations, an allowed move is to put the thumb and index finger on two pieces of one's own colour and quickly move them together towards centre, pushing an opponent's piece in the middle off of the board – sometimes called a "scissors" move.

When a move fails to dislodge an opponent's piece, or a player dislodges one of his/her own pieces, the opponent moves. The game continues until only one colour remains on the board, winning the round. Then the winner starts the next round, with his pieces one row further forward. When the seventh round starts, the black and white rows will be next to each other.

For the seventh and the following rounds not only does the winner move forward one row, but the loser is forced to move backwards. When one of the players reaches the final row, his opponent has no place left for his pieces and therefore loses the game.

The game's rules differ in different regions. In many variants, the game is not finished yet: the next step is adding a "second floor" to the winning side (the figure is called a horse or tank).

If a piece is flipped upside-down, it is called 'a traitor' and the opponent gets control of it.

Computer versions[edit]

Several variants of chapayev have been created as computer simulations. Implementations include "Chapay" (dating to 1999) at; "Chapayev 3D" (Чапаев 3D) from; "Shuffle", "Shuffle Challenge" and "Shuffle Snakebites" by WildSnake Software and; the "Battle Checkers" iPhone game at; "Chapayev"[permanent dead link] for Android (Typically requires Checkers board and 8 to 16 Android devices) and "Chapayev" for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad.

See also[edit]