British name for the tabletop game that in U.S. is checkers, c. 1400, from draught, probably because the pieces are "dragged" over the board in making moves. Draught (n.) also was used for "a move in chess." Earlier the game is recorded as jeu de dames (late 14c.).
mid-13c., "game of chess (or checkers);" c. 1300, "a chessboard, board with 64 squares for playing chess or similar games; a set of chessmen" (all now obsolete), a shortening of Old French eschequier "chessboard; a game of chess" (Modern French échiquier), from Medieval Latin scaccarium "chess-board" (see check (n.1)).
Meaning "pattern of squares" is late 14c. Meaning "a man or piece in the game of checkers" is from 1864. British prefers chequer. From late 14c. as "a checked design." The word had earlier senses of "table covered with checked cloth for counting" (late 12c. in Anglo-Latin), a sense also in Old French (see checker (n.2)).
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Definitions of checkers from WordNet
a checkerboard game for two players who each have 12 pieces; the object is to jump over and so capture the opponent's pieces;