Leave it to the British to come up with something as ridiculous as conkers — the game where you try to bust someone’s nut.
Conkers requires two players and horse chestnuts with holes drilled through them, which the players thread with string. One person dangles his conker while the other one hits it with his own. The first nut to break loses.
The game is supposedly hundreds of years old and was originally played with snail shells or hazelnuts. The World Conker Championships take place every year in Ashton, England. The Ashton Conker Club organizes the event, and has added a number of rules to make the competition more interesting, especially if the player is between the ages of five and eight. If the conker strings tangle, the first player to call out “strings!” gets an extra shot. If a player drops his conker, the other person can shout “stamps!” or “stampsies!” and then try to stomp on the conker before it’s retrieved. (Of course, as most elementary schoolchildren know, a call of “no stampsies!” immediately nullifies any stamp attempt.)
The first World Conker Championship occurred in 1965, although at that time it was just a small tournament played at a local Ashton pub. The game’s popularity grew, and conker enthusiasts from other countries traveled to Ashton for the event. The championships are still hosted by the same pub, and the prize money goes to charity. There’s plenty of time to start training for the next championship, which will occur on Oct. 11, 2009.
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