Tanzanian draughts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tanzanian draughts
Tanzanian draughts starting position
GenresBoard game
Abstract strategy game
Playing time~7 minutes
SynonymsTZ draughts
Drafti (in Swahili)

Tanzanian draughts (Drafti in Swahili) is a unique variant of draughts (checkers) board game originally played in modern day Tanzania. This is the strategy game that is played by two people using pieces on board. The game is very similar to Czech draughts but in this type the player can capture using king or men, there is no priority for that. Apart from that they are completely similar in all ways. The game is also somehow similar to American checkers[1] and Shashki in case of starting position. The game can be regarded as American checkers with the addition of a "flying king", which captures as in Russian draughts.

Like many other kinds of draughts, there is possibility that either player can win the game or draw can be offered but this is based on the negotiations of players or supporters of the game.

Game rules[edit]

The possible capture diagonals.
Capturing is mandatory in TZ draughts; the players can choose to capture with a king or a man. The red man has two options to capture, it can jump to position A or multi-jump to B, but cannot remain at D since available captures follow. Or Red can capture with the king to position C.

The game is played on 8×8 board with squares alternating in colors. The empty corner is on the right side of player. Any one can start the game depending on the decisions of players. The following are rules which are compulsory during gameplay in Tanzanian checkers:

  1. Men move only forwards to the opponent side.
  2. Men cannot capture backwards.
  3. When men reach to the first line of opponent side, they will be appointed as kings.
  4. King can capture backward and can fly.
  5. Capturing is mandatory.
  6. All pieces must be captured when there are multiple jumps including jumps available in intersecting diagonal.
  7. When there are two directions (diagonals) of jumps from where the piece is, jump can be done in any possible direction because there is no priority for longest jump nor king should capture first. Capture can be done wherever player wants or finds it safe to go.
  8. Men can capture the king.

Similarities and differences with Russian draughts[edit]

Video showing TZ draughts gameplay.
  • Similarities
    • Board size, orientation and starting position are the same
    • Men moves forwards only
    • King can fly in any direction
    • Capturing is mandatory
  • Differences
Tanzanian Draughts Russian Draughts
Men never capture backwards Men can capture backwards
Men capture paused when reach to the line to be appointed as kings even though there are available captures Men continue capturing as kings when reach to the first line in opponents side when there are available captures

Widely accepted laws[edit]

While there are currently no notable federations or institutions that standardize rules or laws of Tanzanian checkers, the following laws are accepted countrywide. Most famous, best players in Tanzania follow these conventions. Many of these are already explained in previous sections.

  1. For the first time (match), any one can start the game.
  2. Valid move must be done once, player cannot undo valid move.
  3. The game is draw when each play has one king or two kings with no other pieces.
  4. The game is not draw if one player has three kings and at least one of his or her king is in main diagonal, and another player has one king.
  5. If the above situation occurs, player with single king has to count each of her moves up to 12, if number of counts reach 12 without win, the game is draw.
  6. If one of players has three pieces, two are kings and one is not king but main diagonal is under control of him or her, and if another player has only one piece which is king then a player with one king can decide to promote all three pieces of his opponent as kings and start counting (as explained in previous law).
  7. Player who wins the match must start next match. If draw, the next match must be started by player who has not started this draw match.
  8. Full competition consists of two matches if one player won all two matches. However there are additional match called limboti if the first two matches are not all won by single player. In short this offer is possible with the following outcomes of two matches: 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-1 but not 2-0 or 0-2.
  9. If there are more than three people to participate in checkers tournament, then the tournament type must be knockout. The player who is eliminated is the one who loses full competition. So the player who won many competitions is regarded as best player of the tournament. The main points of tournament of player is number of opponents eliminated by him or her in all competitions in tournament.

Optional rules[edit]

The following rules are based on negotiations and agreement of players or teams. Not all players obey these rules in TZ draughts gameplay. Therefore they are not necessary.

  1. one has three kings and one has only one king, players have to count each move of player who has one king (or sometimes one who has three kings but not both). If number of moves is (usually) 12 depending upon what the players agreed, the draw will be offered. The reason of this agreement is that, it could take long time to end match because the chance of winning is small, though a player with three kings can (if plays perfectly) still win if the main diagonal is under the control of him or her.
  2. If one has won the game without any player having the king during the game play, the goal to winner is called "supa" (pronounced as the word SUPER) and the one goal is equal to 12 goals.
  3. The one who wins the game should start the next game.
  4. After each game no matter whether draw or won, players must exchange their pieces.

Opening moves[edit]

Examples of famous Tanzanian draughts opening moves (locally called "copies") are:

  • Samba
  • Sumu ya pandu
  • Mabano
  • Goma la kizee
  • Pasati
  • Kata mara mbili
  • Mbuzi kavimba
  • Tege
  • Bana Mbavu
  • Chotara
  • Box

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Draughts official rules". fmjd64. Retrieved 24 September 2016.