Draughts is a board game of skill played between two players who, following a fixed set of rules, attempt to win the game by either removing all of their opponent’s playing pieces from the draughts board, or by rendering their opponent’s pieces immobile.
The following rules of draughts cannot cover every possible situation that may arise during the course of a game, nor can they regulate for all administrative questions. Where instances arise that are not precisely regulated for by the following rules of draughts, it should be possible for the tournament controller/ referee to reach a correct and fair decision by reflecting on analogous situations, and through the use of absolute objectivity. We believe that the rules should not be over prescriptive so as to deprive a tournament controller / referee of their freedom to make a judgement based on fairness, logic and unforeseen special factors.
THE DRAUGHTBOARD AND ITS ARRANGEMENT
1.1 The draughtboard is composed of 64 squares, alternately light and dark arranged in a
square array of 8 rows and 8 columns and bounded by a neutral border.
1.2 The official draughtboard for use in all major events shall be of Green and White (or
off white/cream) colours for the dark and light squares.
1.3 The size of squares of the draughts boards should be between 4.5 and 5 centimetres.
1.4 At the commencement of play the draughtboard is placed between the players in such
a way that a green square is to be found on the player’s near left side, and a white
square to their right side. The playing squares to the near left side of the draughtboard
is referred to as a player’s “Single Corner”, while the playing squares on the near right
side is referred to as a player’s “Double Corner” side.
1.5 The 32 green squares used for play on the draughtboard shall be assigned numbers 1-
32 for descriptive purposes. These numbers are the official reference system for
notations and recording games.
1.6 These numbers should not be printed on an official draughtboard.
1.7 The draughtboard should be made of materials that do not create a “glare” or reflect
light under tournament conditions.
DRAUGHT PIECES AND THEIR ARRANGEMENT
1.8 At the beginning of a game, one player has 12 dark-coloured discs (referred to as
“pieces” or “men”), and the other player has 12 light-coloured discs.
1.9 The official draught pieces shall be of RED and WHITE colours for the dark and light
pieces, respectively. These are sometimes referred to as “Black” and White” in the
games’ literature. The pieces shall be a cylindrical shape of a uniform diameter,
measuring not less than 3 centimetres nor more than 4 centimetres They shall be of a
uniform design with a height / thickness of not less than 5mm (3/16 inches) nor more
than 9mm (3/8 inches).
1.10 If other light and dark coloured pieces and board are used the colours of the
men must make a distinct contrast with the colour of the squares of the board.
1.11 The Red pieces shall be set for beginning play on the first 12 squares of the
player playing the Red pieces starting right to left, Nos. 1 thru 12. The White pieces
will be on the last 12 squares, Nos. 21 thru 32, with No.32 being the nearest double
ORDER OF PLAY
1.12 To start the first game the players decide by random selection (i) which colour
they will play. In subsequent games the players alternate colours.
1.13 The first move in each game is made by the player with the Red men;
thereafter the moves are made by each player in turn (ii).
1.14 There are fundamentally 4 types of move: the ordinary move of a man, the
ordinary move of a king, the capturing move of a man and the capturing move of a
Ordinary Move Of A Man
1.15 An ordinary move of a man is its transfer diagonally forward left or right from
one square to an immediately neighbouring vacant square. (Also see Rule 1.18)
1.16 When a man reaches the farthest row forward (known as the “king-row” or
“crown-head”) it becomes a king, and this completes the turn of play. The man can be
crowned by either player (iii) by placing a man of the same colour on top of it before
the next move is made. (It may be necessary to borrow from another set if no captured
man is available for the purpose).
Ordinary Move Of A King
1.17 An ordinary move of a king (crowned man) is from one square diagonally
forward or backward, left or right, to an immediately neighbouring vacant square.
Capturing Move Of A Man
1.18 A capturing move of a man is its transfer from one square over a
diagonally adjacent and forward square occupied by an opponent`s piece
(man or king) and on to a vacant square immediately beyond it. A
capturing move is called a “jump”. On completion of the jump the
captured piece is removed from the board.
Capturing In General
1.19 If a jump creates an immediate further capturing opportunity, then
the capturing move of the piece (man or king) is continued until all the
jumps are completed. The only exception is that if a man reaches the kingrow by means of a capturing move it then becomes a king but may not
make any further jumps until their opponent has moved. At the end of the
capturing sequence, all captured pieces are removed from the board.
1.20 All capturing moves are compulsory, whether offered actively or passively. If
there are two or more ways to jump, a player may select any one that they wish, not
necessarily that which gains the most pieces. Once started, a multiple jump must be
carried through to completion. A man can only be jumped once during a multiple
Capturing Move Of A King
1.21 A capturing move of a king is similar to that of a man, but may be in a forward
or backward direction.
Touching The Pieces
1.22 Either player, on intimating their intention to their opponent, is entitled to
adjust their own or their opponent`s pieces properly on their squares at any time
during the course of the game.
1.23 If a player on their turn to move touches a piece they must play that piece,
unless they have given an adjustment warning. If the piece is not legally playable, rule
1.24 If any part of a playable piece is played over a corner of the square on which it
is stationed, the move must be completed in that direction.
FALSE, IMPROPER OR ILLEGAL MOVES
1.25 A player making a false, improper or illegal move shall be cautioned for the
first offence, and the move recalled. They shall forfeit the game for any subsequent
false, improper or illegal move made in that game. This applies, for example, if a
1.25.1 Omits to capture or to complete a multiple capture.
1.25.2 On their turn to play touches an unplayable piece.
1.25.3 Moves a piece, either in an ordinary move or in a capturing move, on to a
1.25.4 Moves an uncrowned man backwards.
1.25.5 When capturing, inadvertently removes one or more of their own or their
opponent’s pieces not in a position to be captured by that move.
1.25.6 Adds one or more of their own pieces to the board.
1.25.7 Continues a capturing move through the king-row with a man not already
1.25.8 Moves a piece when it is not their turn to play.
1.26 An illegal move is condoned by the opponent moving a piece at their next
1.27 If any of the pieces are accidentally displaced by the players or through any
cause outside their control, the pieces are replaced without penalty and the game is
1.28 A player who refuses to adhere to the rules shall immediately forfeit the game.
RESULT OF THE GAME
1.29 There are only two possible states to define: the win and the draw.
Definition of a Win
1.30 The game is won by the player who can make the last move; that is, no move
is available to the opponent on their turn to play, either because all their pieces have
been captured or their remaining pieces are all blocked.
1.31 A player also wins if their opponent:
• Resigns (iv) at any point.
• Forfeits the game.
• Fails to reach the time control when using clocks.
Definition of a Draw
1.32 The game is drawn if at any stage both players agree on such a result (v). A
game shall also be declared drawn where:
1.32.1 At any stage of the game, a player can demonstrate to the satisfaction
of the referee that with their next move they would create the same position
for the third time during the game.
1.32.2 At any stage of the game, a player can demonstrate to the satisfaction
of the referee that both the following conditions hold:
a) Neither player has advanced an uncrowned man towards the king-row
during their own previous 40 moves.
b) No pieces have been removed from the board during their own
previous 40 moves.
i Traditionally there have been two methods used for random selection. The first method entails the “toss of a coin” where the person winning the toss may select the colour they wish to use in the 1st game. The second method entails one player taking a playing piece of each colour and placing them, one in each closed hand, behind their back. The player then brings these hands forwards and offers their opponent the choice of either hand. The hand selected will contain the colour of that player’s pieces in their first game.
ii If an opening is balloted from a recognised set of ballot cards (e.g. 3 move ballot) then these
moves shall form the opening sequence of moves in the game. The game is then continued by
the player whose turn it is to move following the balloted sequence of moves.
iii Traditionally the piece is crowned by the player whose king-row has been entered.
iv Resigning is usually indicated by saying “I resign” and/or stopping the clock.
Offering an opponent a draw is usually done by saying “draw?” or “do you agree to a
Equipment and terminology:
`Draughts Clock` means a clock with two time displays, connected to each other in such a
way that only one of them can run at any one time. When a player presses the button above
the clock on their own side it will start their opponent’s clock on the opposite side. This
action is known as “pressing their clock”.
While these rules make reference to the use of manual clocks, they include the use of digital
`Clock` in the Rules of Draughts means one of the two time displays.
`Flag fall` means the expiration of the allotted time for a player.
Using a clock:
2.1 Before the start of the game the tournament controller decides where the draughts
clock will be placed.
2.2 All clocks should be wound up prior to play commencing. Each clock face should
register the same time.
2.3 At the start of each session the referee shall start each clock in turn, irrespective of
whether one or both players are missing.
2.4 During the game each player, having made their move on the draughtsboard, shall
press their own clock and thus start their opponent’s clock. A player must always be
allowed to press their own clock having made their move.
2.5 A player’s move is not considered to have been completed until they have pressed
2.6 The time taken between making the move on the draughtsboard and pressing their
clock and thus starting their opponent’s clock is regarded as part of the time allotted
to the player.
2.7 Each player shall be entirely responsible for pressing their own clock after their move
and keeping a on the number of moves made. Should they fail to do so, no
warning, particularly by a third party, should be given.
2.8 A player may press their clock with either hand. However, it is forbidden for a player
to keep their finger on the button or to `hover` over it.
2.9 The players must handle the draughts clock properly. It is forbidden to punch it
forcibly, to pick it up or to knock it over. Where improper clock handling occurs, theplayer shall be cautioned for the first offence, and shall forfeit the game for any
2.10 Every indication given by the clocks is considered to be conclusive in the
absence of any evident defect.
2.11 A draughts clock with an evident defect shall be replaced. The tournament
director shall replace the clock and use their best judgement when determining the
times to be shown on the replacement draughts clock.
2.12 If both flags have fallen and it is impossible to establish which flag fell first,
then the game shall continue under normal conditions.
2.13 Players shall not be allowed to walk away from the board during the game,
other than to go to the toilet or smoking break. In this instance the clocks shall be kept
2.14 Where a player is deemed to be unable to use the clock, an assistant, who is
acceptable to the tournament controller, may be provided by the player to perform this
operation on their behalf.
2.15 When using a draughts clock, each player must make a minimum number of
moves or all moves in an allotted period of time. A small “flag” on the clock face,
which rises during the last few minutes of a game and falls “on the hour”, denotes the
time control. All time controls must be specified in advance. The following time
controls are used for tournament play:
a) First Time ___Control: 30 moves per hour for the first hour.
b) Second Time Control: 15 moves per ½ hour for each succeeding ½ hour. (See
2.16 At the end of the first time control, the player playing the White pieces shall
reset both clocks by 30 minutes. They shall repeat this action at each subsequent time
2.17 The time saved by a player during one period is added to their time available
for the next period.
2.18 Each time display has a `flag`. Immediately after a flag falls, the requirements
of Article 2.15 must be checked.
2.19 A flag is considered to have fallen when the Tournament Director observes the
fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect.
2.20 If a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted
time, the game is lost by that player regardless of the position on the board.
2.21 If a player is not present at the start of a session, their opponent, in
consultation with the tournament controller shall start their clock in their absence.
2.22 The player whose turn it is to play shall have their clock started at the
beginning of the game.
2.23 If a player arrives before an hour has elapsed, they may play the game, but
with the reduced time available to them.
2.24 If a player arrives after their flag has fallen they shall forfeit that game. Where
a player arrives after their flag has fallen for a second time (i.e. 2 hours late) they shall
forfeit both games.
2.25 Where both players are absent then two clocks should be started, one for each
player. Where both players remain absent for a game (1 hour) they shall both receive
zero points for that game.
2.26 If a game needs to be interrupted, only the tournament controller shall have the
power to stop the clocks (both clock faces).
2.27 A player must seek the tournament controller’s assistance where a problem
arises, e.g. when the draughtsboard and pieces have been disrupted or when a required
piece is not available.
2.28 If the tournament controller stops the clocks to deal with an issue, then the
tournament controller shall decide when the game is to be restarted again.
A `quickplay finish` is the phase of a game, when all the (remaining) moves must be
made in a limited time.
2.29 If nearing the end of a game (with time remaining) a player feels that the
position in their game is even, and has offered a drawn result to their opponent and
the offer is refused, the player has the power to ask the tournament controller to
intervene. If the tournament controller feels that the position is even, with little winning chances to either player with reasonable care, the tournament controller has the power to declare the game drawn. However, if the tournament controller feels that there is an advantage to the requesting player’s opponent, then the tournament controller shall allow the game to be continued to a conclusion
3.1 A “score-sheet” is a sheet of paper that is prescribed for the recording of a game of
draughts in a competition, and is the property of the organiser of the event.
3.2 Each player shall be furnished with a score sheet for every scheduled game.
3.3 All players are obliged to record each game played.
3.4 In the course of play each player is required to record their own moves and those of their
opponent, in the correct manner, move for move, as clearly and legibly as possible on the
score sheet prescribed for the competition.
3.5 A player may reply to their opponent’s move before recording it, but they must record
their own previous move before making another.
3.6 The score-sheet shall be placed on the table in such a way that it is visible to the referee
throughout the game.
3.7 If a player wishes to verify their record of a game by comparing it with that of their
opponent, they must inform the tournament controller and if allowed, do it in their own
3.8 Both players must record the offer of a draw on the score-sheet. (See also 4.7)
3.9 At the conclusion of each round each player shall hand the referee a signed copy of each
game played that indicates the result of the game. Each score sheet must be signed by
3.10 Any player who fails to hand in a complete signed copy of their games at the
conclusion of a round shall receive zero points for that round.
3.11 If a player is unable to keep score by reason of a medical condition, an assistant, who
is acceptable to the referee, may be provided by that player to write down their moves.
Their clock shall be adjusted by the referee in an equitable way.
3.12 A player is said to be in time shortage when they have 5 minutes or less before their
3.13 Any player in time shortage is not obliged to continue recording every move made in
the game during this phase, but instead must place a tick on their score-sheet after every
move is made until one flag has fallen. Immediately after one flag has fallen the player
must update their score-sheet completely using standard notation before moving another
3.14 If both players are in time shortage the tournament referee or an assistant should try to
be present and keep a record of the moves made. In this case, immediately after one flag
has fallen, the tournament controller shall stop the clocks. Then both players shall update
their score-sheets, using the referees or the opponent’s score-sheet.
4.1 The players shall take no action that will bring the game into disrepute.
4.2 Players must be seated at their designated playing table prior to the starting time for that
4.3 In the spirit of friendship players shall shake the hand of their opponent prior to the
commencement of a round.
4.4 A player has the right to call on the tournament controller to rule upon a point of law
(rules of the game), procedure, or conduct. The tournament controller must first establish
the facts without disturbing other games. An extended discussion between the players and
tournament controller is inappropriate in the playing area and another area may be used
for this purpose. (See 2.27-2.29)
4.5 A player is forbidden to leave their board when it is their turn to move, without the
permission of the tournament controller.(Also see 2.13)
4.6 Players are not permitted to walk / stand around the playing area to view other games that
are in progress. Players who have finished their games shall be considered to be
4.7 A player wishing to offer a draw shall do so after having made their own move. No
conditions can be attached to the offer. The offer once made cannot be withdrawn and
remains valid until their opponent accepts it, rejects it orally, or rejects it by moving one
of their own pieces, thus continuing the game. The offer of a draw shall be noted by each
player on their score-sheet by a symbol. If the first offer is declined it is improper to offer
another draw unless your opponent has since offered a draw or the position has changed
substantially. (Also see 4.9)
4.8 Players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information, advice, or analyse
on another board.
4.9 Players are forbidden to distract or annoy their opponent in any manner, such as making
any sounds or signs, pointing or hovering over the board. This includes unreasonable
claims or repeated offers of a draw.
4.10 During the course of a game a player is forbidden from addressing any other person,
with the exception of the tournament controller.
4.11 The score-sheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks,
the offers of a draw, and other relevant data.
4.12 Players are not allowed to leave the `playing venue` without permission from the
tournament controller. The playing venue is defined as the playing area, rest rooms,
refreshment area, area set aside for smoking and other places as designated by the
4.13 Collusion to fix or throw games, whether before or during the game, in order to
manipulate prize money, title norms, ratings, or any other purpose is illegal and may
result in severe sanctions, including being banned from participation in future events.
4.14 A player who has lost a game must stop their clock immediately. It is rude and
unsportsmanlike to abandon a lost position without resigning.
4.15 Players are forbidden to analyse a finished game in the playing area.
4.16 It is strictly forbidden to bring mobile phones or other electronic means of
communication, not authorised by the tournament controller, into the playing venue. If a
player’s mobile phone rings in the playing venue during play, that player shall lose the
game in progress.
4.17 Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the rules shall be penalised by loss of the
5.1 Spectators have no special privileges and must adhere to the instructions of the
tournament controller at all times.
5.2 Spectators may be confined to a certain area of the playing venue (spectators’ area) on the
instructions of the tournament controller.
5.3 Spectators must maintain a complete silence while there is any play ongoing.
5.4 Spectators shall not interfere with play or in any way annoy or distract the players. This
includes pointing out that it is a certain player’s turn to move, time management issues,
flag falls, etc.
5.5 Spectators may point out irregularities to the tournament controller in a manner neither
heard or noticed by the players, but have no right to make claims of any kind on behalf of
5.6 Spectators shall not engage in conversation with the players in the interval between the
first and second games of a round.
5.7 Spectators shall not analyse ongoing games by using draughts boards, or electronic
devices, without the permission of the referee.
5.8 It is strictly forbidden to bring mobile phones or any other electronic devices means of
communication, not authorised by the tournament controller, into the playing venue.
5.9 Persistent refusal by a spectator to comply with a direction given by the tournament
controller shall result in their expulsion from the playing venue.
6.1 The tournament controller shall see that the rules are strictly observed, and is bound by
the official Rules of Draughts, procedures and policies.
6.2 The tournament controller shall act in the best interest of the competition. They should
ensure that the equipment being used is of a sufficient quality, that a good playing
environment is maintained, and that the players are not disturbed.
6.3 The tournament controller has the power to appoint assistants as required to help in the
performance of his or her duties, to accept and list entries, to familiarise players with the
playing facility and tournament conditions, to prepare pairings, display wall charts, rule
on disputes and enforce such rulings, to collect scores, report and forward tournament
results and fees to the sponsoring organisation.
6.4 The tournament controller shall decide the seating arrangements for the players,
allocating seats, tables, etc. (See 2.1)
6.5 The tournament controller shall oversee the ballot of openings (if used) and ensure that all
clocks are started at the time specified for the commencement of that round. (See 2.3)
6.6 The tournament controller shall supervise the progress of the competition.
6.7 The tournament controller shall observe the games, especially when the players are short
of time, enforce decisions made and impose penalties on players where appropriate. (See
6.8 The tournament controller must not intervene in a game except in cases described by the
Rules of Draughts. The tournament controller shall refrain from informing a player that
their opponent has completed a move or that the player has not pressed their clock. (See
2.7 & 2.19)
6.9 Where a breach of the rules takes place by a player or spectator the tournament controller
shall apply one of the following penalties (a) warning, (b) declaring the game to be lost,
(c) disqualification from the competition, (d) expulsion from the event. The tournament
controller may use their discretion where they believe the violation was unintentional.
7.1 Appeals Committee:
Where a player expresses the wish to appeal the decision of a tournament controller, the tournament controller shall appoint an appeals committee to hear the appeal. The appeals committee should consist of at least three persons who have tournament controller experience of major events. To ensure impartiality they should not be related to, or involved with, any of the players concerned. Such an appeal should be heard in private, and witnesses may be called, but only to answer questions from the parties involved. The committee must give preeminent weight to the tournament controller’s testimony as to anything said or done in his or her presence. The decision of the appeals committee shall be communicated to the parties involved as soon as possible. The function of an appeals committee is not to substitute its judgement for that of the tournament controller, but rather to overrule the tournament controller only if it is clear that the latter’s ruling is incorrect.
7.2 Rules Committee:
The WCDF shall maintain a rules committee to review questions pertaining to the rules of
play. In doubt as to the application or interpretation of these rules, the WCDF Rules
Committee will examine the case in point and render an official decision.