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Stroebeck

  • Last updated on 8/1/07, 6:15 AM.

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Village in the Harz Mountains, near Halberstadt in eastern Germany.   Legend has it that in 1011 A.D., Henry II of Germany decreed that the Wendish Count of Gungelin be delivered to the Bishop of Stroebeck, to be kept in solitary confinement.  The captive spent his long hours playing chess by himself, using a chalked-out board on the dungeon floor and chessmen carved from wood. He won his freedom by teaching his guards how to play chess and the game was passed on to their friends and relatives.  During World War I, the city printed a bill showing Bismarck as the world chess master.  Every year the town of 2,000 has a chess festival with parades, banners, and a living chess game.

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