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A prominent journalist during the nineteenth century, and a leading scholar on things Icelandic, Daniel Willard Fiske left the islanders of Grímsey US$12,000 upon his death and gave instructions for a school and library to be built. Oddly, Fiske had never once set foot on Grímsey, but it seems the islanders’ reputation as the greatest chess players in the whole of Iceland (chess was introduced to Grímsey by the Vikings) furthered his own love of the game; he also donated eleven marble chess sets to the island. The last remaining set can be seen, alongside Fiske’s portrait, in the library inside the Múli community centre, which stands on the original site of the school he financed. Today, the island’s children learn to play chess at school and there’s even an open-air table opposite the shop if you fancy a game.

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