"It's one of them mad British little pastimes," James Packer, chair of the World Conkers Championship's organizing committee, told The Wall Street Journal.
St. John Burkett, a member of the organizing committee and a spokesman for the competition, said the horse chestnuts traditionally used for the contest would be baked this year, a hardening process that is normally considered cheating in a game of conkers.
Burkett said the chestnuts harvested for this year's competition were found to be too soft and mushy as a result of severe weather causing them to fall from trees too early.
The decision to bake the chestnuts, which are provided by contest organizers, has proven controversial to some players, as well as organizers of other conkers contests who see hardening the chestnuts as heresy for the sport.
"We do not hold with the idea that there is a conker crisis," said Yanny Mac, organizer of the Waveney Valley Conkers Tournament. "I just checked my stash ... and conkers are emphatically not softer this year."
The World Conkers Championships is scheduled for Sunday in Northamptonshire.