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Halma (Chinese Checkers)
Move your stones from one side of the board to the other. Set up bridges for multiple jumps. We have regular Halma (KH) on an 8 by 8 board, Halma 10x10 (KI), and a great Halma-like game called Embargo (EG). Embargo rules are at the very bottom of the page.


  • read: Setup and Object of Halma
  • read: Movement
  • read: Stopping Jumping
  • read: Moving Halma Pieces on the ItsYourTurn.com Board
  • read: All pieces must be out of your yard by move 30.
  • read: Simple Strategy
  • read: Halma 10x10
  • read: I can't jump my piece to a certain space even though it is a legal jump.
  • read: Why don't you have Halma for more than two players?
  • read: House rule: EXACT board position occuring 3 times in the game is a draw
  • read: Rules for Embargo (EG)
  • read: How can I get better at Halma?



Setup and Object of Halma

Halma is similar to Chinese Checkers. On ItsYourTurn.com, it is played on an 8 by 8 board, and each player has 10 pieces. At the start of the game, your pieces are in the shaded area in the bottom right corner of the board. This area is called your yard. Your opponent's pieces are in the opposite yard.

The object is to be the first player to move all your pieces into the opponent's yard.
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Movement In each turn, you move one of your pieces. It must move to an unoccupied space. It can move in any direction, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. To move a piece, click on it once. A new page will load showing an outline around the piece you clicked. Now, click the space you want to move it to. Another page will load showing the piece moved.

A piece can also jump over any adjacent piece (yours or your opponent's) as long as it can land in an empty space on the other side. In the pictures below, Black makes a jump as indicated by the red arrow.



A jump can be made in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. A piece can make multiple jumps in one turn, hopping all over the board, if possible. To do this, after each jump, just click the next space that you will jump to.

Pieces that are jumped over remain on the board. No pieces are ever removed from the board in Halma.



Jumps are optional in Halma. You do not have to take them. If you have made a jump with a piece and it has more jumps available, but you want to stop jumping, see the next question about stopping jumping.
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Stopping Jumping If one of your pieces is jumping other pieces, it does not have to take every jump. You can stop any time by clicking I'm done moving just beneath the game board. A new page will then load showing the 'Submit' buttons beneath the game board. You must click 'Submit' to finish your move.

In the picture, White has jumped from 6C to 2E. She can continue to jump to 2G and then 4G where the red dots are. But she wants to remain at 2E. If she clicks 'I'm done moving,' she will see another screen with the 'Submit' buttons beneath the game board.


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Moving Halma Pieces on the ItsYourTurn.com Board After a game of Halma is created (see How to Start a Game or How to Join a Game on our help menu) you may go to it any time by clicking your opponent’s name as it appears on your game status page.

If it is your turn, you will see blue outlines around the pieces that your opponent moved in his last turn.

To begin your turn, click a piece that you want to move. A new page will appear showing that piece outlined in red. Now, click the space to move that piece to. Another page will load showing the piece moved.

If the move was not a jump, then several Submit buttons will be beneath the board. You must click a submit button to finish your move.

If the move was a jump and no other jumps are available, then you must click 'Submit' to finish your move.

If the move was a jump and more jumps are available, then you may click another space to jump to. But you don't have to continue jumping. Instead, you can click 'I'm done moving' just beneath the game board. A new page will load showing the 'Submit' buttons beneath the board. Now, you must click 'Submit' to finish your move.
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All pieces must be out of your yard by move 30. After you and your opponent have each made 30 moves in Halma, if you have any pieces in your own yard, you will lose the game. This prevents you from keeping your own pieces in your yard to block your opponent from moving into it.

If you have all your pieces out of your yard by move 30 and later you move a piece back into your own yard, you will lose.

In Halma 10x10, a variation on this game described below, pieces may remain in their own yard until move 50.
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Simple Strategy The goal of Halma is to move your pieces to your opponent's corner as fast as you can. You do this by building a line of pieces so that a piece in the back of the line can jump the other pieces all the way to the front of the line. But be careful--your opponent can use your line to advance his or her pieces too.
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Halma 10x10 Halma 10x10 is just like Halma, but it is played on a 10 by 10 square board. Also, you don't have to be out of your yard until move 50. If you ever have any pieces in your own yard after move 50, you lose the game.


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I can't jump my piece to a certain space even though it is a legal jump. ItsYourTurn.com will not let you jump back to a space that you have already occupied in that turn. This is to prevent people from jumping all over the board indefinitely, if many jumps are available. This rule does not hurt you--you can still make as much progress as you normally would in a turn. You just can not keep going in circles.

If you really feel that you are unable to get to the space that you want to go to because of this rule, then you probably need to just start the move over. Leave the stone where it is and click 'Game status' in the left-side menu column. You will see your game status page again. The game you were just moving in will still be in the list of games where it is your turn to move. Click the game again. Then make the move again with a fresh start.
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Why don't you have Halma for more than two players? At this time, ItsYourTurn can only provide games for two players. Also, it would be hard to find three or more players to commit to the same game. In two player games, if one player abandons the game, only one other player is affected. But if three are in a game and one stops moving, then two others are left with an unfinished game.
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House rule: EXACT board position occuring 3 times in the game is a draw If the same exact positioning of pieces on the ENTIRE board occurs three times in a game, the game is automatically a draw. This is an official rule of chess, but we are expanding it as a house rule in all games to stop games when they are no longer progressing.

For this rule to take effect, the ENTIRE BOARD (your pieces and the opponent's pieces) must be in the EXACT same position on 3 different moves.

When this happens, eventually the computer will automatically declare this game a draw. However, if you'd like to declare a draw manually, click 'Offer Draw' among the options beneath the game board. If your opponent refuses a draw in this situation, you may have to wait for the software to detect this situation.

If you'd like the game to be declared a draw sooner, please pull up the game on your screen and click on the 'Email Websupport about this game' at the bottom of the page. If a 3-move repetition has occurred, then we will declare the game a draw.
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Rules for Embargo (EG) Background:
Embargo was invented by Daniel Solis in 2006, and is featured here on ItsYourTurn.com with his knowledge and kind permission. You can read about Embargo and many other of his games at his
Luchcabra game site. He also designed the beautiful Embargo game pieces used on our site.

Object:
The object of Embargo is similar to Halma: move all your pieces from your "yard" (the spots where your pieces start) to your opponent's "yard". Your yard is the light-colored section of the board where your pieces are initially placed.

Setup:
The pieces are initially set up on opposite corners on a 9x9 board. The screen shot below shows the starting position for Embargo:



Movement:
Pieces move along straight lines for any number of empty spaces, like chess rooks. You have two restrictions on your movement

First, you cannot ever land on a square within your own yard (your yard is the light-colored section of the board where your pieces are initially placed).

Second, pieces cannot move through Walls (see the "wall" section below), except when Tunneling (see the "tunneling" section below).

Walls:
When two pieces of the same color line up in a straight line, one or more walls can form. Pieces cannot move through walls of either color, except when tunneling. In other words, a wall blocks pieces of both colors from moving across it.

The position above shows walls formed by both players.

The red dots in picture above shows the legal moves for the circled green piece. The red X shows where the green piece hits a wall, and thus cannot move onto that square or beyond it. Also, if the green piece were to move to either side, it would either extend or shorten the wall that's attached to it.

When you have a move that either SHORTENS or EXTENDS your own wall, those moves are legal. (See example below.)

       

The picture on the far left shows the beginning position of the board, before any moves are made. The middle picture shows an example of a move EXTENDING a wall. The right-hand picture shows an example of a move SHORTENING a wall, which is legal.

Tunneling:
When you make a move that SHORTENS a wall and goes through a perpendicular wall at the same time, that move is legal and is called TUNNELING. It just means that you have moved your piece through a perpendicular wall as you shorten your own wall at the same time. (See example below).

When you tunnel, you can also choose to "bust" a wall, by landing in between two pieces that form a wall. The example below also shows a "wall busting" move being made.

       


The picture on the far left shows the piece chosen to do the tunneling. In the middle picture, the green piece has TUNNELED through the orange wall, to emerge on the other side of the orange wall. Green is able to do this because this is a move that shortens the green wall. In the right-hand picture, The green piece has landed IN BETWEEN the two orange pieces forming a wall, and has BUSTED the wall. The two red X's show where the orange wall used to be.

This move can only be made when you are shortening a wall. If the green piece had not been part of a green wall, it would not be able to move through the orange wall like it did above.

The 25 move rule:
If you have a piece left in your yard on or after the 25th move, then you automatically lose the game. Make sure all your pieces are out of your yard by the 25th move of the game.

Winning the game:
You win the game when all your pieces are in the enemy yard.

Key strategic point:
You always want to make sure that you have at least one piece deep in enemy territory very early in the game. You can then use this piece as an anchor to pull your other pieces through the tunnel to the enemy yard. If you neglect to put a piece in enemy territory, it's quite possible that your opponent can build an impenetrable wall across the middle of the board that you can't cross.
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How can I get better at Halma? Playing regularly will improve your game. You may also want to buy a chinese checkers book and study it. Browse our selection of popular checkers books, available from Amazon.com.
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