Version reviewed

Lees’ Guide to the Game of Draughts or Checkers
First Publication in 1893 – Ninth Edition Improved 1909


It is to note that there are many versions of Lees’ Guide. The edition reviewed has 173 pages and is Revised and Expanded by J. Richards, Penzance. As a printing company, it is given Toronto: The Musson Book Company, Limited. It is as well given credit to previous publisher E. Marlborough & Co. It is to note that there are a great many editions of the book with red, blue, green cover colors.

About the author

James Lees (1864-1899)
According to an old mentioning in the Draughts World, he had a physical disability which caused him to be confined to his house. Apparently, he was a very good crossboard player, that could hold his own against World Champion James ‘Herd Laddie’ Wyllie. Unfortunately, no draughts historian found or remembered seeing any surviving portrait of him so it might be lost to the ages.

Book index

Index Lees Guide 9 ED


It is a neatly organized opening manual with mainly sound play. It contains notes to inform about opening origin by reputable players of the time. It does not what is thought of the opening or the position it leads to. There is a small problem section at the end covering X problems and an index of correction in published play.

Who is this book for?

This is definitely a book that I would only advise for the expert or advanced player onwards. General advice would be to go through some standard beginner books at first in order to get a solid foundation down and then focus on getting routine and widen their published play knowledge.


Lees’ Guide to the Game of Draughts or Checkers is still one of the most beloved books. It is easy to guess that is the most sold and most revised and improved book in checkers’ history. It is still widely available in many antique stores, reprints via a book dealer, or even a scanned version online. Every master player will point this book out to be a must-have for any aspiring player to play a solid foundation. The rule of thumb is a later edition is usually more improved and better for practice.


5 Star

Where to obtain

A free digital version on

or if you do like old books and give an commercial seller a go

Alternative Opening Guides

…and so many more…