The Truth About Checkers and Chess (Which One is Harder?)

Checkers and chess are undeniably similar board games. In fact, they’re so similar that some people get them confused, despite some key differences between them. 

The Truth About Checkers and Chess (Which One is Harder)

We can see why distinguishing between chess and checkers could be tricky. For one thing, the board is exactly the same, and for another, the pieces move in some of the same ways (although not exactly the same). 

Based on this information alone, it can be difficult to tell which game is harder. However, by taking a closer look at the rules, strategies, and solutions to both games, we have come to a clear conclusion about whether chess or checkers is more difficult.

Different Types Of Chess And Checkers Games 

Before we go any further in our analysis of the respective difficulties of chess and checkers, it is important to acknowledge that not all chess and checkers games are exactly the same. 

That’s because there are a few different variations out there, and depending on which one you play, you might find the difference in difficulty more or less noticeable. 

For example, if you consider the fact that Singaporean Checkers is played on a larger board of 12 x 12 squares, this game is definitely more difficult than standard checkers because the added space to move creates more complexity.

In this case, Checkers might even seem harder than a standard game of Chess. 

Similarly, there are some Chess variations that make the game more difficult. For example,

Chess is sometimes played on a timed basis, and there is such a thing as blitz chess, where the aim is to complete the whole game within a certain short timeframe.

Obviously, this will add pressure to the game and demand faster strategy from players, making it harder. 

However, most Chess games are played according to the FIDE (International Chess Federation) standard rules, so these are the rules we’ll be talking about when assessing the difficulty of Chess as a whole.

Additionally, since Checkers is not usually played on the large board, we will be comparing the FIDE Chess rules to standard Checkers, which is played on an 8 x 8 board. 

Are Either Chess Or Checkers Solvable?

One perspective from which to decide whether Chess or Checkers is more difficult is whether or not either of these games can actually be solved. 

By ‘solved’, we mean played perfectly, without a single mistake, from start to finish. This requires both players to move the pieces perfectly and the end result would be a forced draw. 

Many people consider Checkers to be a solvable game due to a 2007 experiment where two computers were programmed to play a perfect Checkers game.

With that being said, it’s unclear how well this translates to real life Checkers. It’s easy for a computer to play a perfect, strategic game, but when it comes to human beings, perfect play is near impossible. 

On the other hand, Chess is much more difficult to solve, even when computers are involved. It has been attempted, and computers have been introduced to competitive chess and are able to perform better than players.

However, since there are more possibilities for moves in Chess, even a computer would take much longer to solve the game. 

Experts have calculated that a perfect player would take millions of years to solve Chess. Therefore, while Chess is technically solvable, it’s just not going to happen in a real life situation. 

It’s clear that Checkers is easier to solve, although both games are very difficult to solve. 

Is It Easier To Master Chess Or Checkers?

Another way to look at the question of which game is harder is to consider how easy or difficult these games are to master. 

Now, both of these games are complex, so it’s by no means easy to master either one. However, in general, it’s harder to master Chess than it is to master Checkers.

The Truth About Checkers and Chess (Which One is Harder) (1)

This is simply because Chess is more difficult, as outlined above by how long it would take to solve the game. 

With that being said, full mastery of either Checkers or Chess is incredibly difficult to achieve, so in the grand scheme of things, the difference in difficulty from a mastery perspective is not very significant. 

Rule Differences In Chess And Checkers 

We’ve spoken a lot about how difficult Chess is compared to Checkers, and hopefully, this comparison of the rules in both games should highlight how true this is. 

Before we get into the actual rules, it should be noted that Checkers has more pieces than Chess, which might initially seem to indicate that Checkers should be more difficult.

However, the 48 pieces in Checkers all look the same except that they are divided in half according to color, and they can perform the same moves. 

On the other hand, while there are only 32 pieces in Chess, there are 6 different major pieces in addition to the pawns, and each type of piece must be moved in a specific way.

In addition to there being more moves allowed in Chess, there are more rules in general. When it comes to Checkers, you can pretty much learn all the rules within a quarter of an hour.

In contrast, you would need a couple of days to fully comprehend the Chess rules. 

So, the takeaway here is that Chess is more difficult in terms of the complexity of the rule book. 

Strategic Discrepancy Between Chess And Checkers 

We’ve established that the rules of Chess are harder compared to Checkers, but these games aren’t just about rigid rules. 

There’s also a huge element of strategy and tactical play, so we must also consider whether strategizing during Chess or Checkers is more difficult to get a good idea of overall difficulty levels. 

Again, both Checkers and Chess are complicated when it comes to strategy. In fact, both games involve such high levels of strategic thinking that it takes many, many years to master either one. 

Ultimately, we would have to say that Chess is strategically more difficult.

This comes back to the fact that Checkers has technically been solved before whereas the same can’t be said for Chess, which speaks to the complexity of the strategy involved in moving pieces during a game of Chess. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should You Play Chess Or Checkers? 

If you’re reading up about whether Chess or Checkers is harder because you want to figure out which one you should play, we recommend not basing your decision on the difficulty of the game. 

If you prefer a game with more rules and, as a result, more strategies to implement, Chess is the game for you.

However, if you prefer to have fewer rules to remember while still being able to employ a lot of strategy and tactical thinking, we recommend Checkers. 

Both Chess and Checkers are difficult, so don’t choose Checkers thinking it will be easy to master. Additionally, there’s no reason not to learn to play both. 

What’s the Difference Between Checkers and Draughts?

Checkers and Draughts are the same thing. The difference is simply that Checkers is the American word for the game whereas Draughts is the term used in Britain.

The rules are exactly the same and the overall premise of the game is the same, too. 

Is Chess or Checkers More Popular?

Chess and Checkers are both popular games but in terms of tournaments and competitions, Chess is far more popular.

With that being said, Checkers may be the more popular game to play on a casual basis since it’s less complicated due to having fewer rules. 

Whether Chess or Checkers is more popular is a question best answered on a situational basis. 

Final Thoughts on Chess versus Checkers

Overall, based on the complexity of the rules and strategy and how difficult the game is to solve and master, Chess is harder than Checkers. 

There are more different pieces, all of which have their own particular moves, and therefore, there’s more to learn and more strategies to figure out. 

With that being said, Checkers is a complex game in its own right, and it’s by no means easy to master.

The main difference between Checkers and Chess in terms of difficulty is that Checkers is, technically, solvable and has fewer pieces and rules to memorize. Other than that, the games are very similar.

Jenna Ostria
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