The Importance of the King in Checkers
Unlike chess, there are only two levels of checker playing pieces: the regular pieces and the king. Obviously the king is the more powerful of these two types, and effective use of it is a key component to winning the game.
The checkers king is simply defined as a checker piece that has already managed to reach the king row of the opponent. The King Row is the first row from the opponents perspective or the farthest row from the attacking player. Reaching this row allows a regular piece to become promoted to a checkers king.
Once one of the pieces has been crowned and becomes a king, it is distinguished from the other checkers pieces on the board by placing one of the pieces that had been captured on top of it, making it twice as high than the other checkers pieces.
Checkers King Moves
While kings are only limited to diagonal movements, they are allowed to move forward and backward, as opposed to regular checkers pieces, which can only move forward.
Kings can also make jumps in several different directions–forward or backward–within a single turn. In contrast, while single pieces can change direction with multiple captures during a single turn, they are limited to only jumping forward toward the opposing side.
Capturing with a Checkers King
One of the most effective ways to get an early king is by setting up a multiple capture right at the start of the game. Not only will this result in you getting an early king, it can also greatly demoralize your opponent, and he or she will find it very difficult to recover.
Of course the key to setting up a multiple capture is an effective use of traps. Traps are highly practical in that you can use them repeatedly against less experienced players. In the same way, knowledge of traps will prevent you from falling victim to them yourself.
Kings are also quite effective towards the end of a game. In playing situations where you find yourself ahead, they can be useful in further reducing your opponent’s forces. In these scenarios, you can use your kings to force your opponent’s kings off to the side of the board where they will be far less effective and drastically limited in their mobility. This will allow you a virtually open field which enforces whatever plays are available to you.
Aside from the common way of playing checkers, there is an interesting variant that makes particularly effective use of the king. One such variant is played almost exactly the same way as regular checkers, with the exception being that the king is allowed to move diagonally across any distance and capture an opponent’s piece by jumping to a vacant square adjacent to the opponent’s piece.