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Chess vs. Checkers: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 9, 2023
Chess is a strategic game with 16 varied pieces per player, while checkers involves uniform pieces with simpler movement on an 8x8 board.

Key Differences

Chess is a two-player strategy board game that utilizes 16 pieces per side, each with its own distinct movements and importance. In contrast, checkers is a game where each player starts with 12 uniform discs, aiming to capture or block the opponent's pieces.
The chess board consists of 64 squares in an 8x8 grid, similar to checkers, but the depth and variety of movements in chess are far more complex due to the differentiated pieces like rooks, knights, and the king. Meanwhile, checkers is played with single-directional moves until a piece is "kinged."
A primary objective in chess is to place the opponent's king in a position of "checkmate," where it's threatened with capture and cannot escape. In checkers, the goal is to either capture all of the opponent's discs or block them from making any legal moves.
Chess has its origins tracing back to India in the 6th century, evolving over time into the modern game we recognize today. Checkers, on the other hand, has ancient origins, with forms of the game being played by the ancient Egyptians.
One of the evident contrasts between chess and checkers is in their perceived complexity. While both games require strategy, chess is often regarded as more intricate due to its varied pieces and expansive range of potential moves.

Comparison Chart

Game Objective

Achieve checkmate of opponent's king
Capture/block all opponent's discs

Number & Type of Pieces

16 varied pieces (e.g., king, queen, rook)
12 uniform discs

Movement Complexity

Differentiated movements for each piece
Uniform, forward until "kinged"


6th century India
Ancient Egypt


Considered more intricate due to varied strategy & piece movement
Seen as simpler, with focus on capturing strategy

Chess and Checkers Definitions


Has pieces like king, queen, rook, and knight.
Each chess player must protect their king while strategizing an offense.


A two-player game with uniform discs.
In checkers, once a disc reaches the opposite end, it's kinged.


Objective is to checkmate the opponent's king.
A well-executed strategy in chess can lead to a swift checkmate.


Ancient origins traced back to Egypt.
Ancient forms of checkers were found in archaeological sites in Egypt.


A two-player strategy board game with varied pieces.
In chess, the queen is one of the most powerful pieces.


Played on an 8x8 board.
A checkers board resembles a chess board but is used differently.


Originated from 6th century India.
The game of chess has evolved significantly since its early days in India.


Aim is to capture or block all opponent discs.
By strategically positioning discs, you can corner your checkers opponent.


Played on an 8x8 board with 64 squares.
A standard chess board has alternating light and dark squares.


Pieces move diagonally forward until "kinged."
Advancing discs cautiously in checkers is key to avoiding capture.


Any of several species of brome, especially Bromus secalinus.


A game for two players played on a chessboard; the players have 12 pieces each, and the object is to capture all the opponent’s pieces by jumping over them. Other European varieties have larger boards and more playing pieces.


A board game for two players, each beginning with 16 pieces of six kinds that are moved according to individual rules, with the objective of checkmating the opposing king.


A game, called also draughts, played on a checkerboard by two persons, each having twelve men (counters or checkers) which are moved diagonally. The game is ended when either of the players has lost all his men, or can not move them.


A checkerboard game for two players who each have 12 pieces; the object is to jump over and so capture the opponent's pieces


How many squares are on both the chess and checkers board?

Both chess and checkers are played on an 8x8 board with 64 squares.

Are there different versions of checkers worldwide?

Yes, there are different versions of checkers with varying rules, such as international draughts and English draughts.

Which game has more diverse pieces, chess or checkers?

Chess has more diverse pieces, while checkers uses uniform discs.

Is chess or checkers more complex in strategy?

While both require strategy, chess is often perceived as more intricate due to the diverse pieces and potential moves.

Can chess end in a draw?

Yes, chess can end in various types of draws, such as stalemate or insufficient material.

How many discs does each player start with in checkers?

Each player starts with 12 discs in checkers.

In which game is "en passant" a move?

"En passant" is a special pawn capture move in chess.

Is there a difference between checkers and draughts?

"Draughts" is the British English term for the game, while "checkers" is the American term. Rules might slightly differ based on the version.

Which game is older, chess or checkers?

Checkers has more ancient origins, traced back to ancient Egypt, while chess originated in 6th century India.

What's the main goal in chess?

The primary goal in chess is to achieve checkmate of the opponent's king.

Are the movements of pieces uniform in checkers?

Yes, in checkers, the discs have uniform movements until they're "kinged" and can move backward.

Can all chess pieces move any distance?

No, in chess, pieces like the knight have specific movements, while others, like the rook, can move any distance.

Can checkers end in a draw?

Yes, checkers can end in a draw if neither player can force a win.

Can you play both games on the same board?

Yes, both chess and checkers can be played on the same 8x8 board, but they use different sets of pieces.

Which game has a piece called the "bishop"?

Chess has a piece called the bishop that moves diagonally.

Are there championships for both games?

Yes, there are world championships and competitive scenes for both chess and checkers.

What happens when a checkers disc reaches the opposite end of the board?

The disc is "kinged" and can then move both forward and backward.

Do both games use the concept of "check"?

Only chess uses the concept of "check" when the king is threatened.

Which game has castling as a move?

Castling is a special move in chess involving the king and a rook.

Are there any similarities between chess and checkers?

Both games are two-player, strategy board games played on an 8x8 grid, but they differ significantly in rules and gameplay.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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