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Town sign of Ströbeck

Ströbeck is a medieval village in the north of the Harz Mountains, in the middle of Germany. It has first been mentioned on the 20th of October in 995 and looks back on a long and diversified history. With a population of 1150 people it is one of the biggest villages in the municipality of Halberstadt.

The village is famous all other the world for its chess tradition which shapes the village since almost one thousand years. This is also the origin of the name affix ‘Schachdorf’ – chess village. Back in 1011 the noble man Gunzelin von Kuckenburg has been imprisoned in the villages guard tower. To fight back his boredom he carved chess pieces out of wood and taught his guards, farmers from the village, how to play the royal game. After his release he thanked the farmers for the good treatment in relieving the village from its taxes.

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Gunzelin playing with his guards

Since then the farmers of Ströbeck have always been playing chess and many interesting incidents and habits base on this fact. For instance were travelers who rested in the village offered a game of chess against the mayor. One of them was the Prussian King Friedrich II who visited Ströbeck in 1773. Also Young man who wanted to get married had to challenge the mayor. If they lost, they had to pay a sum of money as a punishment. Since 1688 there is a living chess ensemble in the village, nowadays mostly with children who learn chess as a compulsive subject in the local school already since 1823.

Always in may the chess club of Ströbeck organizes the chess festival with a big international chess tournament and performances of many music and dancing clubs such as the living chess ensemble. As another highlight the best chess players of the 6th and 7th grade in school receive their trophies during Image Hosted by ImageShack.usthe festival. Those are chess peaces and chess boards, specially made for this event. Also the chess museum is open during the whole festival.

For the youth of this cultural village there are many possibilities to spend time. There is a football, volleyball and the chess club, together with the living chess ensemble and a music group. The local fire brigade also does a lot for the young people. But for education it is compulsory to leave the village. Only the primary school is left in the village. Most of the young people go to Halberstadt for school, where they spend a lot of time and make new friends. Also there are only a few jobs available in the village which makes most of the young people leave the village right after school. Though most of them visit their home regularly are there only a few people who plan to come back later on.