Playing Checkers with my brother is perhaps the earliest memory of game playing that I have, and it was a ubiquitous game in every household I ever visited as a child. Even the old Aunts could whip out a board and play with me when I visited. Today, I thought I’d teach Quinn how to play. Sans board, we turned to the procurer of all things: the internet.
The first few moves came in fits and starts as he wanted to move left, right and backwards, as well as diagonally. We barely cleared that hurdle when we were given the opportunity to jump our opponent’s piece.
Gleeful at the destruction of his enemy, he was hooked. Until we neared the other end of the board and I thought it time to talk about strategy. Not just how to move his pieces, but why.
We talked about protecting our men, and about luring in our opponent. He finally chose a checker and moved.
And the evil little computer snapped the piece back to its original location.
He tried again with the same results.
On the third try we got a text pop up telling us that we had to make the capture move available to us.
He made the jump move, which put him in a position for his opponent to jump > jump > jump his way right into being Kinged.
“Mama, why’d that happen?”
Hell if I know.
“Not sure buddy. Maye I forgot that rule.”
We played another game, but with this mandatory jumping thing, he quickly grew frustrated and went back to his baking game.
I, on the other hand, turned to the other computer. To Google. To search “Rules of Checkers” and there it was in black and white – “capture moves are compulsory.”
This means that for 30+ years, I have been playing Checkers incorrectly.
I failed to properly learn the first game I ever encountered. This might be why I don’t play well with others.
It also means one other thing that I never would have thought I’d have cause to say.
Checkers is hard.