Frisian draughts

The history of the Frisian game

Before 1700 people in Friesland played at draughts in a way we now call the Frisian draughts game. In those days matches were organised by innkeepers, especially to tempt customers to come to their inn

After 1932 this changed with the foundation of the DFS, the Frisian Draughts Association. Every year they organise personal and club championships. The champion will play a match against the strong computerprogramme Lusoris every year.

Eleven clubs with about 300 members have so far joined the Association.
The ‘Vriendenclub’ (Circle of Friends) is specially meant for those who are interested outside Friesland, to introduce them to this unique piece of Frisian culture.

The rules of the game

The rules of the Frisian draughts game are different from those of the normal or Polish game of draughts:

q A draughtsman can strike not only diagonally, but also horizontally and vertically. So from one position there are eight possibilities!

q A king can be moved only three times in succession; after that it must be ‘set free’ by a strike (possibly with the same king) or a move by another draughtsman.

This rule does not hold if the player has only kings.
q If a king and a draughtsman can strike an equal value, the king must strike.

Otherwise the draughtsman that can strike the biggest value must strike.
q If a player possesses two kings (and his opponent only one), he has seven moves to finish the match. If he doesn’t succeed to win within seven moves, it is a draw.

Self study

There is quite different draughts software available to practise the game against the computer. The level of the strongest computer programme, Lusoris III, is probably higher than that of the best players. Furthermore practise material is available such as courses, problembooks, opening- and endgamebooks and matches of championships.

Surf to the website of the Frisian Draughts game for more information about rules, history, draughtsliterature, results, the draughts clubs, the organisation, etc.

Example Frisian draughts

What makes the Frisian draughts game so special? Because of the characteristic striking possibilities (diagonally, horizontally, vertically), the opponent is always closer to you on the board than one tends to think. Beautiful combinations easily occur. The chance of drawing is small. Two kings against one usually means winning the game.

Here an example of the combination possibilities in Frisian Draughts. The numbering, 1 – 50, is from upper left to right bottom.
White can win here in the following way:

  • “morestrike” (striking more draughtsmen in one move)
  • “kingstrike” (striking with the king)
    Black is forced to move the king.
    He is stuck and loses the game.

Every member of the DFS (Frisian Draughts Association) receives the magazine “Oer Alles”. The name refers to the different ways to strike: diagonally, horizontally and vertically. “Over all” and not only diagonally, as in the ‘normal’ draughtsgame.