Released: February 8, 2009

Retired: February 9, 2009

VFK History of Checkers Quest


Checkers, or Draughts as it is called in Great Britain, is one of the most ancient games known. It has been played in various formats for thousands of years and is still popular today. With only slight modifications, this game involving two colors of flat pieces, a checkered board and jumping moves to capture another player's pieces, has stayed relatively intact through the centuries. On today's quest, we will investigate the fascinating history of this great game and learn more about the origin and history of checkers.


Name Price Location Released/Retired Photo Notes
1000 Credits Released: May 22, 2008 Credits
Blue Checker Cowboy King Hat Quest Prize VFK History of Checkers Quest Released: February 8, 2009

Retired: February 9, 2009

Hat 34 2

Red Checker Cowboy King Hat Quest Prize VFK History of Checkers Quest Released: February 8, 2009

Retired: February 9, 2009

Hat 34 1


1. Some of the earliest evidence of the very earliest form of the game of checkers was discovered at Ur, in Iraq. At an archaeological dig, they unearthed evidence of an ancient game which carbon dating placed as being played circa 3000 B.C. Even though the board for the game varied from a modern checker board, the number of pieces used was different, and no one is certain of the rules, the game has enough similarities to checkers to be considered to be the very first example that checkers was played in ancient times. What was the name of this very early form of checkers?

  • Albuquerque
  • Ferses
  • Chess
  • No one knows the name.

2. The next version of checkers which started as a game referred to as Alquerque or sometimes called, Quirkat was played as far back as 1400 B.C. The time of the game's popularity is based on pictures carved into walls of temples. Alquerque game boards have been discovered in archaeological digs dating back to 600 BC. This game was played by the ancient Egyptians and was popular throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Although the game board and pieces are very similar to checkers, this early checkers board had only a 5x5 grid and only the intersecting diagonal lines were used to move along. Go to King Arthur's Round Table Room and say "King Arthur, do you want to play checkers?"

3. The French are credited with inventing the modern game of checkers somewhere in the 12th century. Alquerque was combined with a common chessboard which expanded the number of pieces to twelve on each side. It was soon found that making the capture of a player required, made the game play more exciting. The game was named "Fierges." The pieces where named "ferses." What is the meaning of the name "ferses"?

  • It means play in French.
  • It was the same as the name of the queen in chess.
  • It is derived from a Latin word for game.
  • It was the name of a Greek god.

4. Previous to the fifteenth century, Checkers had become very popular and its name had been changed to Jeu De Dames, and shortened to Dames. The next rendition of checkers is based on the implementation of some formalized rules for the games. By the 16th century was when the "Forced Capture" rule was introduced to Dames. This rule simply means that you must capture a piece when you are able to jump. This led to the game becoming more popular and its name being changed to "Forced Capture Dames" or Jeu Force." Go to the outside of the Mercantile and say "Checkers Rule!"

5. After making the jumps mandatory in the game, the "old" version remained a game played by ladies in social situations. This less challenging version was called "Le Jeu Plaisant De Dames." With the rules adopted, the game was soon brought to Great Britain where it was given the name draughts. It was also exported to America. Books began to be written on checkers in Spain circa the mid 1500's. A famous mathematician wrote a treatise on Draughts in 1756? What was his name?

  • William Payne
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Arthur Samuel
  • Jackson

6. Over the centuries, Checkers, or some variation of the game has been popular and has been played consistently by many people. In 1847, Checkers earned its own world championship, Go to the Audubon Wildlife Adventure game dark forest room and say, "So which do you like better, checkers or chess?"

7. It didn't take long for the serious checkers players to notice that certain opening moves were better than others in giving the team the advantage. As a result, there were restrictions placed on which moves could be used to open a game. These restrictions ensure that the game begins in a random way on moves. Today, how many move restrictions are used in tournament checkers?

  • One
  • Two
  • Three
  • Ten

8. The name checkers is most often used in North America. Most of the English speaking countries call them Draughts, with much of Europe calling the game "English Variant Draughts." The German variation is called Damenspiel. Go to the underwater observation room down the stairs in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia and ask "Do merfolk have checker boards?"

9. Having computers play checkers is still a new idea compared to the overall age of the game. Computers were in their very fundamental stages prior to World War II when Alan Turing, a famous computer pioneer, developed the first basic program for checkers. Any calculations which were required for the game needed to be done on paper as computers were not yet able to perform this function. Who created the first checker program in 1952 to actually be put on a computer?

  • Alan Turing
  • Arthur L. Samuel
  • Jeu Force
  • Peter C. Houston

10. As computers were improved, so were the checkers games played on them. These modern programs rely on speed and capacity. They use information in databases blazingly fast and can show every combination of moves, analysis of which is required to make a winning move. Computer players can play the top human players, sometimes defeating them, or at the vary least, trapping them in a series of draws. It has been found that playing games such as checkers requires use of your logic. Your memory can actually improve and exercising your thought processes can help fight off loss of memory. Go to the Checker Game Room Upstairs in the Mercantile in Western Age and say, "Welcome to Wild West Checkers!"


1. No one knows the name.

2. Go to Arthur's Round Table and say, "King Arthur, do you want to play checkers?"

3. It was the same as the name of the queen in chess.

4. Go to the outside of the Mercantile Shop and say, "Checkers Rule!"

5. William Payne

6. Go to the Dark Forest and say, "So which do you like better, checkers or chess?"

7. Three

8. Go to the Underwater Observation Room and say, "Do merfolk have checker boards?"

9. Arthur L. Samuel

10. Go to Wild Wild West Checkers and say, "Welcome to Wild West Checkers!"

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