This article is classified "Partly real, partly fictional"
Throughout history few games have caused such furore as Mornington Crescent. Not because it is in any way controversial. Not because its rules are fiendishly complex. Not even because it is run by leagues or organisations awarding trophies to the best players of each year. None of these traits are the cause of such classic disputes as the Kerishni-Immanolo debate of 1923 or the strange, but thoroughly true account of Jean-Jacques Mariata's near fatal brush with Sir Arthur Kingstone-Blakely after the young but promising Frenchman accused the English grandmaster of cheating by playing his Tewkesbury Avenue out of turn, causing the aristocratic nobleman to set loose his hounds on Mariata's prize Juniper collection. No, it is perhaps the cunning simplicity of Mornington Crescent's rules that have led to such confrontation, merely because as simple as they are they leave much open to interpretation. Mornington Crescent is perhaps the game that best fits the well-used advertising phrase `A game that is simple to learn but takes years to master'. A better phrase might be `Simple to learn but years to fully comprehend' as more games result in arguments over interpretation than anything else. The main problem behind this is because of Mornington Crescent's many variations. Some people play with Street Rules, some with Mainline Stations only, others with the notorious Bank Holiday and Early Closing variants. It is a rare and brave man indeed who will attempt a game without the use of an impartial arbiter armed with a rule book. The rules are passed down from generation to generation, usually by elderly professors at Oxbridge to an ever-welcoming student populace, although it is not unheard of for academics of common or garden colleges and comprehensives to partake of a quick round of `MC' during their dinner break. The most popular use by far of the game is as a regular round in BBC Radio's highly entertaining panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, wherein such Mornington Crescent aficionados as Willie Rushton and Tim Brooke-Taylor squabble over rules, introduce ever new openings and endgame manoeuvres, all under the watchful eye of the `Old Man Of Mornington Crescent' (as he is known in certain circles), Humphrey Lyttelton. So, to the rules. When explaining the game to outsiders it is not uncommon for the newcomer to think you are merely jesting or `having them on'. What is most important to stress is that it's not so much the substance of the rules that count, more the elegance of the player, the flair of play. A game of Mornington Crescent is all about style, first and foremost, not technicalities. The Basic Rules: 1. Each player takes it in turn to name a street in London. 2. The winner is the first person to say Mornington Crescent. There are others but they are mainly composed of amendments and clarifications. Two popular variations include Mainline Stations (in which street names are replaced with British Rail - or for modern players Network Southeast - locales) and Underground Rules (stations of your local Metro service are used instead). Whatever the variation, Mornington Crescent is always a winning move. So now. Armed with this knowledge may you sally forth (or fifth or sixth) into a world where a Queens Passage is almost always followed by a Kings Entry and an Amersham Reversal into the Old Kent Road is so often worth more than just 2 in rent (10 with a house). Salut.