7 Sep 2007

I wonder....

This is the Lasker painting...and I'm trying to find more information about it!

I do wonder what happened to this school!
This article was written in 2004!

Checkmate in sight for chess villagers
By Michael Leidig and Oscar Kornyei in Stroebeck,
Germany
April 9, 2004

A German village with a 1000-year-old tradition of playing chess is fighting to save its unique school from closure by education chiefs.
Students at the Dr Emanuel Lasker High School in Stroebeck, 80 kilometres south-west of Magdeburg in eastern Germany, are taught chess compulsorily in recognition of the village's long and unusual association with the world's oldest game.

However, villagers have now been told that their school - named after the Prussian Jew from Brandenburg province who was world chess champion for 27 years from 1894 - is too small to stay open, prompting fears that their chess tradition is in jeopardy.

According to local custom, the inhabitants of Stroebeck first learned to play chess in 1011 when bishop Arnulf II of Halberstadt ordered a Wendish duke, Guncellin, to be locked up in the village watchtower.

With nothing to read and little in common with his peasant guards, the duke carved 32 chess pieces and painted a board on a table, then taught the guards how to play.

The current mayor of Stroebeck, Rudi Krosch, said: "At that time there would have been little social contact between nobility and the peasant classes, and the villagers were fascinated by the game. The guards taught it to the other villagers and they just never stopped playing."

All Stroebeck's 1200 residents have been able to play chess since it was put on the curriculum of the first village school, founded 200 years ago. Teachers say that the game improves concentration and logical thinking among pupils, who sit regular chess exams, as well as keeping the village tradition alive.

Chess is played with enthusiasm by students in the playground and in after-school clubs. Classrooms are full of children hunched over boards, their moves timed by clocks, and pupils regularly dress up as chess pieces to take part in "live" games. First-year pupils play as pawns, and advance to larger pieces as their own game improves.

The tradition is threatened because of a decision by Sachsen-Anhalt's regional government to close schools with too few pupils. The regional education minister, Jan-Hendrik Olbertz, said chess was not on the state curriculum. "There are a number of other schools in the vicinity of Stroebeck," he said.
Susanne Heizmann, of the school's parents' council, said: "Chess survived here despite the almost complete destruction of the village in the Thirty Years War, and other disasters like the Black Death. The education ministry is trying to do what centuries of plague, war and famine failed to do, and that is destroy our traditions."
The Telegraph, London
Article comes from HERE for reading.

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