There is a never-ending debate about which is the better game, checker or chess? Prompted of course by people who love both games and why it is better than the other game that is similar to it.
This post does not mean to say that chess is indefinitely better than checkers, rather it is just an argument about why I think chess is better than checkers as a form of an opinion.
As a chess player here is what I think:
Chess is better than checkers since it induces a deeper level of thinking due to its complication. The number of pieces in chess far outnumber those in checkers and even have their unique movements. Chess is also the more popular game so it is easier to find friends and rivals.
Take this post with a grain of salt, in the end you would still have to judge if my points are correct. I will present them in the best way I can.
Chess arouse critical thinking more than checkers
Chess is naturally more complicated than checkers due to the greater number of pieces with abilities unique from each other. Checker pieces move in the same pattern adding to the fact that there are fewer pieces.
Chess requires more sophistication. Due to the sheer number of pieces present in chess, strategies have to be thought out in a deeper manner unlike with checkers.
This does not mean to say that critical thinking is not involved in checkers at all, it is just that chess is naturally much capable of bringing critical thinking to an individual since it is much more complicated.
This means that any benefit that a person can have from playing both games will be much more reflected in chess since it prompts the brain to create a much deeper insight into the positions.
Improved memorization, spatial awareness, calculation, etc. are all benefits that you can get from playing both games but will be much more noticeable if you are playing chess over checkers.
Combinations in chess are much beautiful than with checkers
Due to the complication of attacks and defense in chess, a more beautiful/aesthetically pleasing combination is possible in chess than with checkers whose pieces have limitations.
Again, being able to capture multiple times in a row is a great mechanism that chess lacks, which can still make a combination that is aesthetic-pleasing in checkers. But chess takes it to another level.
In checkers, the capture involving multiple times in a row will be limited at most to around 4-5 times but can go above in only very rare cases. This means that beautiful combinations can be hardly seen in most games.
In chess you can bet that there will be multiple combinations throughout the three phases (opening, middlegame, and endgame) since coordinated movements are the ones that deliver materials and a checkmate.
In checkers although the position is important too, chess positions have to be so perfect that even one tile apart can make a huge difference in the plan. When the combination does arise it is like an art where everything has to be just right.
There is another mechanism that I believe puts chess above checkers, which is the existence of checkmate and stalemate.
Checkers don’t have a checkmate nor a stalemate
The existence of checkmate and stalemate makes chess games interesting. Unlike with checkers where the material is everything, a chess game can still be won/drawn even being down by material which makes it more exciting.
Since material advantage is everything in checkers, the outcome is predictable before even getting around the end of the game (not all the time).
In chess it doesn’t matter how much one player is down in material if there is an awesome attack that is possible with their remaining pieces, this also adds a degree of sophistication.
In checkers there is not such a thing as a stalemate, if no possible moves are available then the one with more remaining pieces automatically wins the match.
The possibility of stalemate has made the most amazing theories and iconic moments if you have been following a lot of historical chess games.
Perpetual checks and threefold repetition (not exactly stalemate) are also legitimate ways to draw that make the game more unpredictable. Even if you are down in material there are more ways to not lose (you can draw).
In chess there is always room for improvement
Since chess is more complicated, you never really feel that you understand everything even if you have studied a lot of materials. This can also happen to those who study checkers but not as much.
The power ceiling in chess is high, there is (almost) always a clear room for improvement in chess compared with playing checkers.
This means that if you put in the work, you are unlikely to face someone new to the game that can still beat you even with years of experience. Mastering chess is more rewarding.
This provides a certain level of gatekeeping to those who are willing to put in the work since they will see the results much clearer.
Someone who has mastered chess will be more likely to associate their learned skill as being special since nobody can take it away just by having more talent (Talented people have to put in the work more in chess).
Another reason that I have thought of is the possibility of being solved, which chess has more protection than checkers.
Checkers is much more likely to be solved than chess
There is a lot of fuss about chess being solved and making the game boring. Chess is definitely susceptible to this, but checkers will definitely be solved first before chess.
As I have stated above, checkers is a much simpler game since the number of tiles to be used is limited. The number of pieces that are going to be used as well as their abilities are also non-comparable to chess.
If computers can one day solve chess with the advancement of technology, then checkers will definitely come first since it is easier to solve. When any of these games get solved it is pretty much dead.
All of the excitement created by the unpredictability of the outcome based on those who are playing will be taken away. If the result is proven to be predetermined beforehand people are less likely to play.
This is why the solvability of the game is also a factor in this discussion. If you choose to master chess, all of the things you will learn will unlikely be meaningless in the future just because some engine solved the game.
If you want to know why chess engines are unlikely to solve chess in the near future you can read my other article (will open in a new tab) talking about this.
There are more draws in checkers
Most professional chess games do end in a draw, but professional checker games are also susceptible to draws. In fact, chess games are much more likely to be decisive than checker games.
Even with the existence of chess engines, the results in lower-rated/middle-rated chess are unpredictable which makes it very exciting. I think this is largely because of the complication.
When rookie and decent players play chess there is a huge margin of error due to the complication, this means that there are more opportunities for one player to convert the victory.
Checkers is much simpler (although it can be complicated) than chess. Decent players of checkers can draw more often than decent players who participate in chess.
Draws are pretty much what plagues games that are in the clutches of modern technology, since players can be very accurate the actual games are quite boring.
Chess games are much more likely to be decisive since more mistakes can be made due to its complication compared to checker games (as far as I know). This makes engagement far exciting.
Chess is more popular than checkers
Another reason why chess is better than checkers is that it has a larger community. Chess is more popular and it is easier to find an opponent or a group of people that you can belong with.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to find an association that you can belong to in any field of interest, it will help you stay motivated.
If you master checkers for example it can be great, but it is much harder to find opponents that can recognize your abilities. After learning a hard-earned skill, people naturally want to showcase their talent to someone who can appreciate it.
In checkers that is much harder to do since finding a community is more challenging compared to another popular game such as chess.
An example of this can be pretty much seen in schools or other public places where clubs can naturally be made. If you tell someone that you are trying to make a chess club, it feels natural since a lot of people do it too.
If you tell someone that you are trying to make a club about checkers then it is a little bit weird, finding people who are specifically interested in checkers will be more difficult.
It is easier to make friends and rivals in chess since it is just more popular. This reasoning has nothing to do with the actual mechanic in the game but is still related to what you should expect when you master both games.
Online chess games are much more prevalent
There are a lot of multi-platformed chess sites that promote, teach and encourage participation in the game to a whole community of chess players which hardly exist in checkers.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of online sites that deal with checkers exist as well, just not as popular and rich in resources as chess sites.
This makes players who choose chess over checkers much more engaged and satisfied with their hobby since there are a lot of materials to be learned. A large population of players that are ready to play anytime exists on these chess platforms too so you can actually practice what you learned.
Chess pieces are more appealing than checker pieces
Now this is something a little more debatable but chess has a more appealing design when it comes to pieces. Checker pieces are a little bland and downright boring for some people.
In fact checker pieces look all the same except for their color, pieces in chess are much more visualized with their names. This appeal can make the actual game feel so special.
The king has a symbolized cross, rooks look like a castle, knights look like a horse, etc. the design of the pieces are definitely more descriptive. This can extend on the board too.
Chess makes use of the entire board for its pieces to be played unlike with checkers. Checkers actually feels like an incomplete game since the board is not fully utilized, chess feels a little bit more complete in this aspect.
There is not a lot of money in checkers
The last reason that I have is simply the lack of monetary value that you can get with playing checkers. Chess players do find it difficult to earn money, but checker players definitely find it harder.
Chess is much more popular than checkers, and we know that when there is a lot of traction in an activity, it is more likely that there will be a monetary return in mastering the game.
But something as popular as chess still doesn’t give enough monetary return to make it worth pursuing full-time, imagine what is the situation with checkers.
If you want to have an idea of how much chess players really earn I made a good article about it (will open in a new tab).
But the bottom line is, you will spend a lot of time and probably resources to get access to materials that will help you reach the next level. It is quite a shame if there is not at least some monetary return that you can get.
You probably wouldn’t still get much by playing in lower-rated chess tournaments, but at least the potential is there. Something is still better than nothing.
Do you agree with my reasoning?
I know what you are thinking while reading this article, that I will of course try to defend chess since it is what I love and I even made a whole site about it. But that is the point.
I am willing to defend something that I genuinely care about and do every day, if I will argue that this game is so great then I must at least live by playing it for a long time.
I also believe that it is not the reasons behind why I argue, but also the actual reasoning that I present. Ideas fall and stand all on their own, if I have bad reasoning then you shouldn’t listen to me since I don’t know what I am talking about.
I think checkers is still enjoyable, just that chess is better because of the reasons that I have presented. That is for you to think about though, sleep well and play chess.