Alquerque and Draughts
The two games, alquerque and draughts or chequers are closely related, the European game of draughts most probably originating from the Islamic game of alquerque in early Tudor times. Both games are a battle between two equally matched undifferentiated armies - an apparent simplicity that masks the need for high strategy.
Alquerque most likely has origins in Egypt and was introduced into Europe by Arabs invading Spain in the early 8th C. It’s Arabic name El-quirkat was corrupted to the Spanish alquerque. The game is similar to draughts or checkers; it has the same number of pieces and rules of capture and the strategies of play are comparable.
It is likely that draughts originated when alquerque was played on a chessboard in the late 15th C.
Wooden board (8x8”) with spherical fired clay pieces in a leather
pouch - £35
Leather board (8x8”) with conical fired clay pieces in a leather pouch - £16
Most probably originating in Europe when the game of alquerque was played on a chess board. The number of pieces and rules of capture are the same and the huffing rule is usually used. Strategy is similar but affected by having two clear rows between each side. There is also the additional rule of promotion which some believe may have been borrowed from chess, though this is disputed. The few references to draughts before 1500 possibly suggest it was not unknown but that it was certainly not common. After 1500, along with modern chess it was more widely played. As with chess the board was orientated with a light coloured square to the left of each player, modern chess and draughts have a dark square in this position.
Draughts board (9x9”) - £16
Set of Draughts men in a leather pouch for 9x9” board- £14
Draughts board (13x13”) - £25
Set of Draughts men in a leather pouch for 13x13” board- £20