Chinese Checkers

Chinese Checkers is a game in which the player strives to be the first to move a set of stones or marbles from his/her home position to the opposite position of a pitted 6-pointed star, using single jumps or moves. The main idea behind the game is to beat all your opponents by clearing the most number of pieces from the board. Chinese checker is different from ordinary checkers in the sense that in ordinary checkers, the player can only make a single move in the forward direction. However, in Chinese checkers successive moves or jumps are allowed wherever possible and in whichever direction.

The goal of Chinese Checkers is to move your 10 marbles from one side of the board to the triangle on the opposite side of the board.

Invented in Germany, not China, it’s name was created in the 1930s in the United States to make the game sound exotic and unique.


The board in Chinese checkers is shaped like a star with six points. Each point on the star forms a triangle that consists of ten holes, with four holes on each side. The board’s interior is shaped like a hexagon and each side consists of five holes. Each triangle has a different colour and there are six sets of ten pegs with the corresponding colours.


2, 3, 4, or 6 players can play the game. When it comes to the 6-player game, all the triangles and pegs are used. In the case of a 4-player game, the game play begins with two pairs of opposite triangles. Similarly, a 2-player game is played from the opposing triangles. The 3-player game is a little different because the pegs will begin in three triangles that are distanced equally from each other.

Each player must select a colour, and the corresponding ten pegs with that colour will be placed in the respectively coloured triangle. Generally, the rules dictate that any triangle that is not in use should be left occupied with its unused pegs to ensure that the triangles are not used when a game is on. However, some people prefer to make the game a little more interesting by leaving the unused triangles empty so that the pegs can jump through and rest in them if a player desires to do so.


The game must begin by initially deciding who will be the first player to move. In order to decide which player will start off, a coin is usually tossed. Players will take turns moving one peg that corresponds to their respective colour. In a single turn one peg may simply be moved to an adjacent hole. Alternatively, in a single turn a peg may make a single or several hops over the other pegs.

When a hopping move has been made, each hop should be made over an adjacent peg and into the vacant hole that is directly after it. The hop or hops can be made over any coloured peg, even the player’s own. In addition, a hop can proceed in any of the six sides. After every hop, a player can either complete their move, or, if desired and possible, proceed by jumping another peg. In some positions, it’s possible for a player to move a peg from the starting triangle, across the board, and on to the opposite triangle in a single turn.


There is always debate as to situations whereby a player will be prevented from winning when an opponent’s peg is held throughout the game in one of the holes in the destination triangle. In most cases, the rules in Chinese checkers fail to mention this, which implies that it is okay to prevent an opponent using such dubious means. Due to this dilemma, several anti-spoiling regulations have been suggested.

  • One way to work around this, in the case of one or several holes in a target triangle containing a peg that belongs to another player, is to say that this situation cannot prevent a player from winning
  • If a player is blocked from shifting a peg to a hole in a destination triangle, the player is free to swap the opposing peg using one of his/her own pegs
  • These rules apply to both single moves and hopping moves


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