researched by HL Modar Neznanich
The origins of Fierges are unclear. However one can surmise that it came about by someone trying to play the Arabic game of Alquerque on a chequered chessboard.
Originally it was called Ferses (the name in Medieval Chess for the Queen piece). Later it became known as Fierges. About 1535, in France, a compulsion rule was added to the game. The compulsion rule stated that a player must capture an opponent's piece if possibe. If not the piece was considered "huffed" and removed from the board.
The game with the original rules (non-huffing) became known as Le Jeu Plaisant de Dames, sometimes shortened to Dames. The game with the new rule (huffing) became known as Jeu Force, and is the same as we know as modern draughts, also called checkers, after the checkered board on which it is played.
Players set the board between them with a dark square in the lower right-hand side. They then place their twelve playing pieces on the dark squares of the playing board, opposite each other, leaving the two middle rows empty. The pieces are moved diagonally forward one square at a time. They cannot move backwards.
You may jump over and capture an opponent's piece if there is an empty square beyond it. If, having jumped and captured a piece, you find your piece able to jump another of your opponent's pieces, you may do so. Any number of pieces may be captured in this manner in any one move. Captured pieces are removed from the board. In Fierges there is no "huffing", that is, there is no compulsion to capture an opponent's piece.
If you manage to place a piece on your opponet's back line, that piece becomes a King. That pieces is "crowned" or marked to denote its status. Usually by placing a second captured piece on top of it. Several Kings may be on the board for either side.
A King can move backwards or forwards. However, "crowning" ends a move. So a piece cannot move into the back line, become a king then jump back out over opponent's piece capturing it, in the same move. It must wait until its next move.
The object of the game is to capture or immobilize your opponent's twelve pieces.
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H.L. Modar Neznanich, CLM, CSH, CT, CCC
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