What is harder, chess or checkers


I came across a checkers website, and I found what they say kinda funny. Most people would agree that chess is much harder due to the complexity in moving pieces compared to the general uniform movement of checker pieces. Anyways here's what they have to say:



Neither is harder. They are both-difficult-elegant games. There are more possible positions in Chess than in Checkers.
It has been written that a network (how many is that?) of "Super Computers" could solve Checkers in 2 weeks! I suppose that is to imply that chess would take at least a month or two.
Dr. Marion F. Tinsley, the greatest checker player, ever-said it this way: "Chess is like looking across an ocean. Checkers is like looking down a well." In neither case can a solution be seen, in most cases.
Dr. Tinsley was on the Ohio State Chess Team, as a young man, but choose Checkers as the game he could most likely become a Grandmaster at. Irving Chernev, Chess Grandmaster, had an opposite opinion. In 1982 he wrote a book about his 1st love-Checkers. ("Complete Encyclopedia of Checkers") In it, he stated he did not think he could accomplish the Grandmaster status, with Checkers, like he thought he could with Chess.
In watching the "Deep Blue-Gary Kasparov" Chess match, the commentators made mention of the game of Checkers being "mastered" by the "Chinook" computer.
Not so.
Checker Grandmaster Don Lafferty had this to say about that comment.

" They must have a pipeline to heaven. The only ones who have mastered this game, reside there."

The "debate", which is harder, Chess or Checkers, will always continue. When facing an opponent across the board, you have to play what you can see, not what is in a library or database. Said the chess player: "We play chess, we can't analyse it." Said the checker player: "We analyse Checkers, we can't play it."

Checkers is one of the oldest of board games, with Chess and Backgammon, later forms. "Draughts" (pronounced "Drafts") was the original name, and still is in much of the world, the name "Checkers" applying mainly to the U.S. and the "English Version." Checkers is played on an 8x8 board, as is Chess.


Seriously?  Checkers should be solveable in the absolute sense by a netbook while sipping on whiskey & lounging at the pool; let alone by a "network of super-computers".  Chess on the other hand is no where near solveable with modern technology.


Connect 4 was harder to solve than checkers.


LOL checkers is a joke compared to chess.


Seriously?  I didn't know anyone played checkers any more.  I haven't played since I was about 8 years old.

If they think checkers & chess are of similar difficulty, then why not a checkers vs. chess game?  They move normally & jump chess pieces, while chess pieces capture the checkers as they would other chess pieces.  Chess will win every time.


Petrosian was the editor for the Soviet journal about 10x10 draughts as I recall. It's a worthy game whether or not it appeals to one.

Chernev and GM? He was just a normal NM. I'd never associate him with being an aspirant to the title.


Careful what you all say here. I know we're all Chess players, but we must remember to keep an open mind. Don't question such intelligent people as the ones described here. They know what they're talking about. It is true that Checkers is limited--but that means just short of nothing. Remember that everything is more complicated than it first seems, and even then it is more complex, and yet more complex after that. Open minds.


Ha, what's next, tic tac toe players claiming that's harder than chess? Checkers utterly lacks mystique; checkers has an image problem, it's a joke compared with chess. Imagine James Bond playing checkers instead of chess! Has a movie ever been made about a checkers pro? Hah!

DonkeyShark wrote:

Connect 4 was harder to solve than checkers.

Hi Donkey.  Actually, the opposite is true.  Checkers was much harder to solve than Connect Four.

For one, Connect Four was first solved by James Dow Allen back in 1988.  It was also solved independently by Victor Allis, also in 1988.  (Allis describes a knowledge based approach, with nine strategies, as a solution for Connect Four.)

Checkers, the common 8×8 variant, also known as draughts, was weakly solved almost twenty years later.  (On April 29, 2007 by the team of Jonathan Schaeffer, known for Chinook, the "World Man-Machine Checkers Champion".  From the standard starting position, both players can guarantee a draw with perfect play.)

Furthermore, checkers took much longer and required many more resources and computing power to solve, than it took to solve Connect Four.

(And yes, I realize your comment is five years old.  However, I see you are still active here and I'd like to set the record straight.)


Chess has much more depth in the strategy than checkers.


they are both different games and should not be compared.  Both have their own difficulties and attributes exclusive to them.  There is not much to compare other than the fact they use the same board.


Checkers is no easier to play well than chess. The game may seem more monotonous, less interesting than chess but playing it really well is still challenging. It's a matter of being able to remember the postions of the pieces and then analyze lines out as far as your mind will allow. Hopefully further out than your opponent! Any really good checkers player can play blindfold checkers just as really good chess players can play blindfold chess. In the end you're playing against another person who, just like chess, is doing his level best to beat you on the mental battlefield. The great checkers player Marion Tinsley was said to be able to see 40-60 moves ahead. One time he was observing the position from another game. Someone asked Tinsley what move he would recommend. Tinsley then took an inordinately long time studying the position. Observers wondered what was taking Tinsley so long as the good moves for that position were relativley obvious. Tinsley finally said he was thinking about how that game ended up in such a messed up postition, and that he thought he'd figured it out. Tinsley then, without having seen the scoresheet, correctly replayed the game backwards all the way to the starting position. Incredible! I doubt any top chess players had any better aptitude for board games than Tinsley.


Why then does checkers have an image problem? Maybe because the pieces are boring disks...and no openings with intriguing names. No dramatic revealed checks, no skewers, no pins, no drama.


Checkers - If you never move your back row. Wink


Now I want to play me some checkers!


Does checkers have notation? Openings? Daring sacrifices?


Checkers, the common 8×8 variant, also known as draughts, was weakly solved almost twenty years later.  (On April 29, 2007 by the team of Jonathan Schaeffer, known for Chinook, the "World Man-Machine Checkers Champion".  From the standard starting position, both players can guarantee a draw with perfect play.)

Crud.  I forgot to set my alarm and now it's 2027 already?!


Seriously, I think the question is a little bit vague.  By which is "harder", do you mean mean which one requires more exceptional talent for a human to reach top levels of play? If that's the case, then I would argue along the lines that whichever game has had the lower mean age of world champions required less effort/development to master.  Discussing "harder" for computers is probably not worth discussing because empirical observation already demonstrates that existing machines/algorithms could master checkers much sooner than chess.


First, let me state that both games have a rich history and anyone who undertakes the challenge of mastering games of logic such as checkers or chess has my respect. 

Dr. Jack Good, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Virginia Tech Statistics Department, in his 1968 paper "A Five Year Plan for Automatic Chess", (in 'Machine Intelligence 2', Eds. Dale E. and Mitchie D., pp. 89-118, Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd), computed the theoretical maximum number of chess games to be 321^6300 or approximately 10^15790.  

The developers of the World Champion checkers program, "Chinook", at the University of Alberta, have computed the upper bound on the maximum number of checkers game configurations to be 5 x 10^20. (Reported in A World Championship Caliber Checkers Program, Jonathan Schaeffer, Joseph Culberson, Norman Treloar, Brent Knight, Paul Lu and Duane Szafron, Artificial Intelligence, Volume 53, Number 2-3, pages 273-290, 1992.) It is an upper bound because not all of the configurations are legally reachable according to the rules. They estimate that number of legal checkers positions to be approximately 10^18.  

By comparison, one can easily see that the maximum number of theoretical checkers games is dwarfed by the maximum number of possible chess games, ( 10^18 « 10^15790).

Perhaps a more meaningful comparison is to consider the number of possible moves in an average game position a player can consider. In checkers there are 8 possible moves, (not considering captures), in chess this number is between 30-40. While both games can tax the human mind to its computational limits, analytically speaking there is little doubt as to which is more complicated.  


Super Street Fighter II has even more possible games than Chess. happy.png


Is there notation with checkers? Are exciting games from history analyzed? I'm sorry, but checkers just doesn't have the "it" factor.  The pieces are all the same, move the many possible checkers games are there compared with chesss?