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A game where conkers are threaded on a string and the object is to break your opponents conker.
It is a game which has been played every autumn for generations but nowadays fewer children are playing it.
Conkers has traditionally been played in playgrounds up and down the UK, but adults also partake in championships.
This is primarily a children's activity but adults compete in prestigious championships including the World championships.
When placed in water, all conkers that have damage inside them will, due to their lack of density, float to the surface. If you wish to find a 'killer' conkers, simply discard the floaters and concentrate on the much harder ones that sink.
A conker is the seed of the horse chestnut tree (not the sweet chestnut tree where we get edible chestnuts from). It is a hard brown nut which is found in a prickly casing. They fall from the tree when they are ripe during the autumn months. Conkers is the name given to a game played between two people at a time. Each player has a conker hanging on its string. Players take turns at hitting their opponent's conker. The game goes on in turns until one of the two conkers is completely destroyed.
First you need to choose a conker (a nice big round shiny one) and then bore a hole through the middle of it. This is generally done with a skewer but must be done with care. Thread a piece of string through the hole and tie a knot at one end, so that it doesn't pull through. The string should be long enough to wrap twice around your clenched hand and still have about 10 inches (25 cm) left. You then need to develop your swing, some use an overarm swing while others use a vertical one.
World Conker Championships are held every year on the second Sunday in October on the Village Green at Ashton in Northamptonshire. Contestants are not allowed to use their own conkers. Nuts are supplied for each game gathered by the organisers.
Conkers can be gathered for free when the fall off the horse chestnut tree.
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