Bottomless Well

  • Jonathan Schaeffer


Checkers is probably the world’s best-known board game. There are more than 150 variants, although only two have major international competitions. The version popular in North America (checkers) and the British Commonwealth (draughts) is played on an 8-by-8 board. So-called international checkers uses a 10-by-10 board and is played primarily in the Netherlands, the former Soviet Union, and parts of Africa. There is even a game called Canadian checkers that is played on a huge 12-by-12 board. Its popularity has waned, in part because it takes too long to complete a game.


International Checker World Championship Problem Composition Casual Game Talented Player 
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  1. 1.
    Most checkers books use a numeric notation, where each square is assigned a number from 1 to 32. I’m not using that notation because it’s hard to learn and difficult to use.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Asian game of go has even simpler rules—place a stone on an empty square on a 19-by-19 board. Despite the deceptive simplicity of the game, it is probably the most difficult board game to master, for man and machine. There is a $1,000,000 prize waiting to be claimed by the first person to write a go program capable of defeating the Taiwanese under-13-year-old champion in a match. Don’t expect anyone to claim the prize for at least a few decades.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Martin Bryant says, “It is not boring! Boring players make it boring.”Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    I’here is a group of dedicated analysts that are trying to prove the soundness of the barred openings. It’s possible that we may see more openings added to the three-move ballot in the near future.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 21, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Original source unknown. Reproduced in Anthony Bishop’s The Encyclopedia of Checkers, privately published, 1978, available from the American Checker Federation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Schaeffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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