Draughts tutorial p. 5. Beginner’s shot

In the previous part of this tutorial, I’ve described Napoleon’s shot that starts from square 31 for white and from square 20 for black. I think it’s a good idea to introduce next shot, that starts from subsequent squares, I mean from square 32 for white or 19 for black. What’s interesting, such shot is known as a Beginner’s shot.

So-called Beginner’s shot usually occurs in openings. It’s quite easy to spot opportunity to make it. Nevertheless, it happens that experienced players fall into this trap.

Let’s say White starts a game with 31-27.


Let’s say Black will respond with 19-23.


White makes a first attack with 33-28


Black prevents the attack with 14-19


And now something important is happening. White makes a seemingly strange move by playing 28-22. He gives up one man and apparently does not get anything in return.


Black is obliged to capture (17×28). This leads to the situation shown below.


Do you see what happened? White has a chance to make a triple jump. The only thing he has to do is to remove the black man from square 23. It can be done by playing 34-29. After this move black is obliged to capture – 23×34.


White makes a final blow – 32x23x14x25. He wins 3 pieces and what’s more, the black man on square 34 is left with no support.


Beginner’s shot – how it works?

The essence of a Beginner’s shot is to make use of a situation where three opponent’s men are positioned on one diagonal, in the center, in the shape of so-called “phalanx” (one behind the other). The shot is possible when you can force double jump, and additionally, one man on the side allows you to “bounce” after the double jump. Such a situation is shown in the diagram below. Note the setting of black men on the squares marked in blue.


It’s really easy to spot the shot opportunity. The only thing to do is to pull away a middle man from the “phalanx” on squares 28, 23 and 19.

Let’s go back to the example discussed above. It’s no art to spot a shot opportunity when the phalanx is mounted. But in the real game, you need to see it earlier. Look on the image below. It shows a moment that was really crucial.


This was the point! This seemingly senseless white’s move (28-22) created the whole shot. Ans this move set the black men in the “phalanx”.

I made a video that shows this combination.

Mirror variant

What’s interesting, beginner’s shot may appear on the board in the “mirror image”. It is not a literal mirror image because the checkerboard is not symmetrical. But I mean a very similar situation, just reversed from right to left. Take a look on the image below.


It’s possible to make a Beginner’s shot here. You can do this by pulling a black man out of square 23 and you can jump to the left, not right. Always remember that beginner’s shot is possible not only from square 32 (with jumping to the right) but also from square 34 (with jumping to the left). The diagram below shows two possible images of the final jump.


Beginner’s shot made by black

Of course, the beginner’s shot may be also made by Black. In such case, it starts from square 19 (jumping to the right) or 17 (jumping to the left).

Let’s say we have a situation like this shown in the image below. Black is next to move.


What should black do to make a shot?

  1. Black plays 23-39. This forces White to capture (34×23). Thanks to this, one white man is added to the “phalanx” on the squares 23, 28 and 32.
  2. Black plays 17-22 in order to take out the center pawn from the phalanx. This forces another capture (28×17).
  3. Black makes a final shot – 19x28x37x26.


It could be worse!

The beginner’s shot does not always end with just a triple jump. In rare cases, it may end up with promoting a man to a King. Let’s look at the diagram below. Suppose the last move belonged to White who played 50-44. This was not the best move!Warcaby-nowi-war3

Now the only thing Black has to do is to pull out the center pawn from the phalanx on the squares 22, 28 and 33. It can be done by playing 19-23. White must respond with a capture (28×19), and Black plays 17x28x39x50. From now there’s a black King on the board!


In this lesson, you’ve learned a beginner’s shot that can be made from squares 32 and 34 for white or 19 and 17 for black. It usually occurs in the initial phase of the game, and its occurrence is preceded by the construction of a “phalanx” of three enemy men in the center.

First example

From the begining of the game…

  1. 31-27 19-23
  2. 33-28 14-19
  3. 28-22 17×28
  4. 34-29 23×34
  5. 32×25  …

“Mirrored” example


the game continues…

  1. 32-28 23×32
  2. 34×21 …

Example for Black:



  1. … 23-29
  2. 34×23  17-22
  3. 28×17 19×26

Previous parts of this tutorial


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