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Learning how to play Draughts

Draughts, also known as Checkers in some places of the world is a very common game in Nigeria. And even though I have seen people playing it on many occasions, I never had the opportunity to learn the rules of the game. So when one of our friends brought a Draughts board to the football field last Saturday, I was very excited to see that our sons Chijoke and Uchenna put a strong interest in the game.

Ezenwa then explained, that children are not allowed to play this game in Ala Igbo, as it is considered to be for grown-ups only. And I remembered the Igbo proverb that says that if a child carries his father up, his father's scrotum will cover his eyes.

"Nwata bunie nna ya enu, akpaamu ya ayochie ya anya"

Lucky for us, the rules in the diaspora are less strict - so Chijioke and Uchenna got a chance to play their first game of Draughts.

Draughts rules:

1. Any of the two players can make the first move

2. Ordinary Seed movement. The seed moves one step forward (never backward) with each move.

3. Seed Capture: A seed can eat up his opponent’s seed both forward and backward. To eat the seed of an opponent, your seed has to overstep (eats) diagonally towards an empty square of the next row.

4. Multiple captures: You may overstep several of your opponent’s seeds but you are not obliged to do so. You may jump over the same empty square more than once but not over the same seed of your opponent.

5. One hand for all: All the jumped seeds of your opponent must be taken off the board using the same hand you used to make the move.

6. You touch – you play: Once you touch your seed to make a move, you MUST play the seed (you can not change your mind afterward and take another seed to play).

7. Crowning of the king: Once a seed has reached the last row of the board, he is no longer called a seed but crowned a king (an already captured seed of the opponent is placed on top of the seed to distinguish the king from the ordinary seeds). The king moves any number of steps forward or backward diagonally and can change directions within one move.

8. Forfeiture of your king: If your king could have captured a seed and you did not see it, your opponent will seize your crown.

The Game is won if:

- you are able to finish the seeds of your opponent.

- Your opponent is blocked from making any move

- Your opponent resigns with or without any reason

A 10x10 Board

The boys really enjoyed this game and I am thinking of getting them one, or - if I can't, see how we can make one ourselves. After all, it is just a wooden board with 10x10 colored squares. I just want to make sure o that when the boys are grown, they will be able to compete with their mates in Isuofia - Ndi Diaspora don't carry last!


Last but not least

I decided to always end my blog posts with an Igbo proverb or quote and a song (not necessarily Igbo) that speaks to my heart. Feel free to share your own favorite proverbs or a song that you are listening to at the moment! Igbo quote of the week: "Nwata bunie nna ya enu, akpaamu ya ayochie ya anya" - If a child carries his father up, his father's scrotum will cover his eyes. My song this week: Ric Hassani - My only Baby


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