Mornington Cresent - The Questions

  DavidB Moderator

Location: Canberra
There are detailed discussions of key games and potted biographies of some of Mornington Crescent's most celebrated players, ranging from Mother Anna of Widdicombe to Lord Nelson.

But what about the greatest player of all time - Mrs Trellis?

A few other books on the subject worth reading are:

Crescent by Alvin Morgan, Ph.D, O.B.E. A terse work explaining the forty-eight most popular opening gambits and the major types of moves. A good starter work that is sadly very hard to obtain these days since it went out of print in 1986 and has not been re-issued since, except for the limited run of 1000 copies (in hardcover, and numbered) run off in 1993 due to the World Championship debacle.

Playing the Game by Henry Newbolt. An altogether larger work that deals in depth with all rules pre 1989. It's due for a reprint soon, but Newbolt's slightly sing-song style won't suit everyone and it lacks a suitably detailed index. Worth a look if you're serious about crescenting.

The Crescent Conundrum by Freidreich Von Bauler, translated By Maurice Trellis (No relationship, by the way, to Mrs Trellis of North Wales, the club secretary). This epic masterwork has been broken into three exceedingly useful volumes
- Rules, which is as comprehensive a list of the rules as you are likely to find in the amateur game
- Gambits, which deals with over 120 different game strategies
- The incomprehensible third section "Mornington in Bremen", which is worthless to an English-speaking reader (or indeed anyone from outside Bremen) except for, say, lighting a fire. The first two volumes are best found in a library since the cost is rather high.

Straddling, Shuffling, and The Shunt by Dmitry Ivenkov. Ivenkov is one of the world's best Mornington players, being the only person to emerge with any sense of dignity from the aforementioned 1993 World Championship debacle. He has not played professionally since 1978, (except 1993 which doesn't count) but his book on MC is a great work of educative fiction telling the story of Mornington through the eyes of a fictional character "Kostya" and thereby following the development of the Modern (Revised Antiquated) Queensbury/Reed-Solomon Integrated Rules system. The book is a delight to read, especially when Ivenkov appears as a character named "Tarradasch". Unfortunately, the 1987 translation failed to get into print and the only versions available are in the original Cyrillic alphabet. Still worth looking for if you know someone who can translate the jokes.

There is a Mornington Crescent for Dummies which  offers a reasonably concise explanation of the game and unlike most texts positively encourages novice players to learn moves by watching other players. It concentrates mainly on first principles, by introducing attacking, defensive, neutral and territorial moves, and then covers simple techniques such as shunting, hopping and coddling.  The other good thing is that, unlike any other book on the game, this one will get you change from $20.

Applications of Matricees, Vectors and Differential Calculus to Mornington Crescen written in 1929 by Professor J.F. Brackstead. Now long been out of print, but can be found in a few second hand book shops. This was an early attempt to form a mathematical model of the game, and does contain some useful information relating to simple (single, non-inverted and non-augmented) "Straddle" and "Shunt" moves, and did give players an advantage in dealing with the (then) complex "Levant" series of manoeuvres, however difficulties and inaccuracies, particularly with the Bakerloo and Victoria lines (as you would expect) meant that this work was of little practical use. It does, remarkably, describe over 7% of the rules with precision and was hailed as a great achievement at the time.


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  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Also there's the strange tale of the appearance, a year or two ago, of the John Lennon Vellum bound, gold blocked, signed, complete 25 volume version of the 1979 edition of the rules on E-Bay.
As we all know, this was the last complete printed version of the rules, now overtaken by on-line versions, and mysteriously disappeared from the Lennon estate shortly after his tragic death.
The complete tale is not yet known for many facts are still to be discovered but the appearance of the set for sale on E-Bay caused a great furore. with the family demanding its return and the British Government claiming that it should be in the British Museum.
Than the set allegedly disappeared and the volume of the furore increased, the page 3 girl in "The Sun" was replaced by an allegedly factual report that members of the Moscow Mafia had hired hackers to locate the person who advertised the set for sale and, after some suitable questioning (involving forced removal of certain body parts) the set disappeared into a private collection.
The next Tom Clancy bestseller MAY reveal the truth,
  TheLoadedDog The Ghost of George Stephenson

I've heard there is a planned Idiot's Guide. I do hope it goes ahead, as that would be very popular and accessible.

I'm teaching my son (aged six) a little Mornington, and he knows several basic gambits already. This is the best way to learn, and beats the books hands down. It's also very satisfying seeing the little tacker slam his orange tokens down on the Circle Line. Makes me a right proud dad. Of course, I throw the game for him, but he doesn't know and he loves it.

When he's older, I'll introduce him to some of the books, and then he can develop a gameplay style of his own without my influence.

Actually, a Mornington Crescent for Kids book would be a good idea.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Isn't "Harry Potter & The Evil Publisher of Fleet Streeet" already a children's guide?

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