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Chinese checkers: Strategy and tips

Chinese checkers is not a difficult or complicated game. However, there are a few tips and strategies you can use to improve your play and defeat your opponents.

Look for opportunities to block your opponent

Even though you are permitted to make as many jumps during a turn as is possilbe, sometimes it is to your advantage not to make all of the available jumps. This is especially true when you have the opportunity to block your opponent.

Best opening moves

If you watch good chinese checkers players or computerized chinese checkers players, you wil notice that they almost always start the game by moving one of the two marbles located at the ends of the front row. This marble may be moved one space outward or, more commonly, inward toward the center of the board.

Watch out for stragglers

When advancing your marbles, move them as a group. Generally you will find that you will have more jumping opportunites and will advance faster this way. Always look to jump your last marble forward so it doesn't get left behind.

Improve your skills by practicing against computer opponents

The easiest and fastest way to learn to play chinese checkers well is to play practice games against a computer opponent. Computer players usually move their marbles efficiently and logically, by analyzing future moves. By playing against a computer foe you will learn from watching its moves, as well as be challenged to play your best. For practice, we recommend the free game at Truant Duck for practice.

"Stay at home" strategy

Some players use a defensive strategy to prevent victory by their opponent. They keep a marble in their home point to prevent their opponent from moving all their marbles into that point. Of course, the player using this strategy cannot win since they ultimately must move that marble across the board to score victory.

Generally speaking, this strategy is considered "unsportsmanlike". In fact, some players modify the basic rules of chinese checkers to prevent use of this strategy. The simplest rule to prevent this strategy states that the player wins when all available spots are filled in the destination point. So even if the player keeps one marble in the home point, the opponent can win by occupying the remaining nine spots.

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