Geek Trivia

The Game Chinese Checkers Originated In What Country?

The United States
The Heaviest Computer System Ever Constructed Was Used For?

Answer: Germany

Ah yes, Chinese Checkers, a wonderful variant of checkers and the most quintessentially Chinese game of them all–except that it is neither Chinese in origin or a variation of checkers. In fact the story of how Chinese Checkers came about (and was eventually introduced to actual Chinese citizens) is about as delightfully convoluted a story as any board game could have.

In the 1880s American surgeon George Howard Monks created a game called Halma–players moved their pieces from the corner “camps” of a 16×16 square board in an attempt to take over the camp of their opponent. The game was quite popular and a German company made a variation of it called Stern-Halma (or, Star Halma). This six-pointed variation of the Halma board then traveled back to the United States in the 1920s where it was marketed by the Pressman game company as “Hop Ching Checkers” and later “Chinese Checkers”. The name was simply a ploy to appeal to the exoticism of the Far East.

American travelers eventually shared the game with the Japanese where, in turn, the Japanese shared Chinese Checkers with the actual Chinese–who had never seen the game before.