There is an interesting village in Germany near the town of Halberstadt. The village is called Shahdorf-Strebek, and it is curious because it is dominated by a real cult of chess.
And the locals learned to play this game almost a thousand years ago. In 1068, a certain Count Gunzellin was planted in the stone tower of Strebek. For months, the prisoner waited for his family to pay the ransom for him.
As a passionate chess fan, the count taught the guards this game. Soon, other inhabitants of Strebek became interested in chess. Gradually the village turned into real "Vasyuki".
On the emblem of the village was a chessboard with a knight and a pawn, documents of the local government were stamped in the form of a chessboard. Even in the bell tower, the weather vane was painted in black and white cages. A set for playing chess was supposed to be in every home.
Interestingly, even the kings were imbued with respect for such an intellectual village and exempted it from various taxes. Well, grateful residents, during the coronation celebrations, arranged a performance of "live chess".
Another curious custom existed in ancient times in Strebek. If the "stranger" groom wanted to marry a local girl, he had to play a game of chess with the local headman, naturally a very strong chess player. In case of defeat, the applicant not only received a refusal, but also paid a substantial monetary fine. Not a bad way to replenish the treasury!
In 1823, the teaching of chess was introduced at the school, starting from the 3rd grade. The school championship was regularly held, and the names of the winners were posted in the chess room.
Since 1886, the "Chess Chronicle" has been kept in Strebek, which records all the important events in the world of chess. The village is often visited by famous grandmasters who leave their autographs in the "Book of Honorary Visitors".
In 1921, the Strebek administration asked the Prussian Ministry of Finance to authorize the issue of its own banknotes. Permission was obtained and bonds in denominations of 25, 50 and 75 pfennigs were issued. Each bill bore a number, the headman's signature and the village's chess coat of arms.
It is interesting that the chess traditions in Strebek have not been lost to this day. Almost the entire adult population is addicted to this game. And recently, the village of Strebek, with a population of just over 1000 people, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.