Checkers

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checkers, game for two players, known in England as draughts. It is played on a square board, divided into 64 alternately colored—usually red and black or white and black—square spaces, identical with a chessboard. Each player is provided with 12 pieces (in the form of disks) of his own color, and all play is conducted on the black squares. Players sit on opposite sides of the board and alternately move their pieces diagonally in a forward direction. Upon reaching the last rank of the board, pieces are "crowned" kings and may move both backwards and forwards diagonally. The object is to eliminate from play the opponent's pieces by "jumping" them. In modern tournament play, the first three moves in a game are chosen at random from among 156 possible three-move openings, a form of the game known as three-move checkers. The game has been played in Europe since the 16th cent., and the ancients played a similar game.

See E. Lasker, Chess and Checkers (3d ed. 1960); T. Wiswell, The Science of Checkers and Draughts (1973).

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Checkers name of a spaniel belonging to Richard Nixon's children, which became famous when in 1952 Nixon was accused of surreptitiously accepting money for his vice-presidential campaign. In a high-profile speech on television Nixon asserted his family's modest means and financial independence and probity, but admitted accepting a spaniel as a gift. The Checkers speech may be referred to as a type of political broadcast resting on a personal appeal.