Russkie Shashki (Русские шашки), also known as Russian Checkers or Russian Draughts in the west, is a very popular variant of checkers in Russia. The game is also played in Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia and among Russian Jews in Israel. It is also widespread among Russian Germans who returned to Germany after the Fall of Communism in 1989. The are national organizations promoting the game, tournaments and even world championships.
Shashki can be played online on BrainKing, Checkersland, igGameCenter and Ludoteka.
The board is an 8×8 grid, with alternating dark and light squares. The left down square field should be dark.
Each player starts with 12 pieces on the three rows closest to their own side, as shown in the diagram above.
The white (lighter color) side moves first. Players then alternate moves.
The men move diagonally forward to the next square, when nothing can be captured.
When a piece reaches the furthest row from the player who controls that piece, it is crowned and becomes a damka (дамка - literally: "lady"). One of the pieces which had been captured is placed on top of it so that it is twice as high as a single piece.
If a man reaches the last row by capturing an enemy piece (i.e. by jumping over it) and it can continue to capture additional enemy pieces as a damka then the move must be continued.
Crowned pieces can move freely multiple steps in any diagonal direction exactly like a Bishop in chess.
Men capture opponents pieces that are diagonally adjacent to them by moving two consecutive steps in the same direction, jumping over the opponent's piece on the first step. Jumping can be done forward and backward. Multiple opposing pieces may be captured in a single turn provided this is done by successive jumps made by a single piece. These jumps do not need to be in the same direction but may zigzag changing diagonal direction. A 180° turn, however, is not permitted. A piece that is jumped is captured and removed from the board, when the move is completed (but not during jumping). Jumping is mandatory and cannot be passed up to make a non-jumping move, nor can fewer than the maximum jumps possible be taken in a multiple-jump move. When there is more than one way for a player to jump, one may choose which sequence to make, not necessarily the sequence that will result in the most amount of captures. However, one must make all the captures in that sequence.
A damka jumps over and hence capture an opponent piece some distance away and choose where to stop afterwards. If an ordinary piece moves into the damka's row from a jump and it can continue to jump backwards as a damka then the move should be continued. Also if there is a piece in the damka's path that can be captured, the damka must capture it, provided it's the player's move. There is no choice whether to do it or not, but the player can choose where to land after the capture.
A player wins by leaving the opposing player with no legal moves, i.e. by capturing or blocking all of the opposing player's pieces.
- Russkie Poddavki, a popular variant
- Prostie Shashki, a simplified variant
- Stavropolskie Shashki, another interesting variant
- 80-Kletochnie Shashki, a modern variant played on an 80-square board
- Cilindricheskie Shashki, a modern variant played on a cylindrical board
- Diagonalnie Shashki (1), a modern variant with a diagonal set-up
- Diagonalnie Shashki (2), another variant with a diagonal set-up
- Dvukhodovie Shashki, a modern variant played with double-moves
- Shashki Vigmana, similar to Double-move Shashki, but pieces on dark and light squares
- Severnie Shashki , a modern variant with demotion of the damki
- Dvojnie Shashki, a modern variant with towers
- Shashki Durejsa, another modern variant with towers
- Shashki-Samoyedi, a modern variant, where players also capture their own pieces
- Bashni, a variant with stacking
- Belorusskie Shashki, a cross-over between Russian Checkers and Chess closer to checkers
- Belorusskie Shakhmaty, a cross-over between Russian Checkers and Chess closer to chess
- Shabel, another cross-over between Russian Checkers and Chess closer to chess