Checkers Literature in Europe (1668-1861)

From 1668 to 1848 here is a summary of checkers history in Europe, particularly in France, England, and Scotland.

We begin with a French enthusiast named Pierre Mallet who did some checkers literature in 1668. It was the first French material on checkers or draughts and it reflected very basic concepts on the game. Draughts writers like Canalejas and Garcez also wrote extensively on the subject—even presenting more in-depth studies than what Mallet had written—nevertheless, the ones Mallet wrote provided ground work for other checkers literature to be based on.

Mallet described the French checkers version as something similar to modern English draughts in his writings titled Le Jeu de Dames a la Francasie. It provided good material to the precursor of Le Jeu de Dames a la Polonaise which substituted the former draughts form. Some sources say the newer draught type started in 1727.

In the 1700s a draught expert known as Laclef authored the first known literature on draughts in Poland. Many experts, however, prefer the work of Manoury titled Jeu de Dames a la Polonaise. Here, the author was helped a lot by other experts like Diderot. The book was in wide circulation by 1787 and was comparable to the work of Mallet in basic details. Later it became heralded as the official book on Polish checkers.

Checkers history in Europe in 1855 saw another authoritative book on draughts in Poland titled Poirson Prugneauxs Encyclopdie du Jeu de dames which was also comprehensive detailing how the Polish version was played. It became famous in Holland and ushered in the official acceptance of the Dutch draughts book, Ephraim Van Embdens Verhandeling in 1785.

Germany and its neighboring countries gradually accepted the new emerging board game and was barely modernized until the early part of the 19th century. In the years 1827 and 1832 more books on draughts were published in Europe along with other board games of Italy. A leading figure in draughts at this time was William Paynes of England who wrote "Introduction to the Game of Draughts" which gave way later to "Sturgess Guide to the Game of Draughts" in 1800.

The 1800s saw the more popularized draughts in England and Scotland. At this time the world of checkers and draughts in Europe saw the book "Drummonds Scottish Draught Player" in wide circulation and further improved with more volumes produced from 1851 to 1861.

Checkers history in Europe was spearheaded by France, England, and Scotland and scores of books on the subject accompanied its progress.