[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the CTL’s Laurie Hansen.]

Obli oblionker!

A nephew of a friend won the 2010 Junior Intermediate Conker Championship.  Way to go Sam!  What is conker?  The game is played with conkers (aka chestnuts or buckeyes if you are from Ohio or the South!) on a string.  The object of the game is to destroy your opponent’s conker.

According to the official World Conker Championship site, “The game of conkers probably evolved from a game called ‘conquerors,’ which was originally played with snail (conch) shells. A variant of the game was later played with hazelnuts, on strings. By the 20th century these earlier games had almost universally been replaced by the version we now know using horse chestnuts.”

On the playground, conker players shout, “Obli, obli oh, my first conker.”  It seems the consensus is that oblionker is a “meaningless invention to rhyme with the word conquer, which has by degrees become applied to the nut itself.”

Some claim that the horse chestnut also has medicinal purposes which may come in handy if you get conked with a conker whilst playing conkers!  Then I’d be sure to shout “Obli, obli …OUCH!”


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