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History of Draughts (Checkers)

The modern form of Draughts was introduced into Europe, from Egypt, at the beginning of the 16th century. From monumental inscriptions, it appears that the game was familiar to the Egyptians as early as 200 B.C. Its antiquity is attested to by Homer in the Odyssey, where reference is made to games in the palace of Ulysses in Ithica, and by Plato, who in his dialogues made frequent mention of it by way of illustrations.

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Benjamin Franklin: “For life is a kind of Draughts, in which we have points to gain and competitors or adversaries to contend with: and in which there is a vast variety of good and evil events that are in some degree, the effects of prudence, or want of it. By playing at Draughts then we learn

(1) foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action

(2) circumspection, which surveys the whole scene of action

(3) caution – the habit of not making our moves to hastily.

Lastly, we learn by Draughts not to be discouraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, but to persevere in hoping for a favorable change, and in searching for resources.

The game is full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently discovers, after long contemplation, the means of extracting oneself from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hope of victory by our own skill, or a least of making a draw through the negligence of the adversary.”

“Draught Board Magazine”1870