Mornington Spotlight – The Parallel Shift

Everyone is taking their roles terribly seriously this year, apparently. Here we have  a new column by Martha Buckley, Mornington Crescent rep:

Welcome to Miruvor’s weekly Morning Crescent digest, the Mornington Spotlight. Join me as we celebrate and explore some of the history and tactics of this great game of skill, intelligence, and random events. Each week I shall explore a particular move or station, illustrate a practical example of its use, and set a teasing conundrum for the improvement of our society players.

This week – the notorious parallel shift. Developed in the early twentieth century by a Mr. Ponsonby-Smythe, this is a useful all purpose move for many levels of player. Operable on the second Tuesday of every lunar month, it is most effective when used under the terms of the Highgate rule (naturally). It is a particularly devastating combination when paired with Oxford Circus, and can provide an intriguing volte face at the end of play. Exceptions – players will know that this is not to be used after Piccadilly, or before Regent’s Park. It is considered bad form to use the parallel shift with category 3 stations, where the lateral slide can be applied instead.


Player 1: SB

Player 2: ChC

1: Hm Contested under 1.iii – upheld. RgP

2: GdgSt

1: Parallel Shift to NtHl

2: BC

1: MA

2: Rotunda obscura to WooPk

1: Mornington Crescent

This week’s challenge: Mile End to Aldgate East in less than 5 stops, incorporating a parallel shift.

M.B. – Your Mornington Crescent Rep.

2 thoughts on “Mornington Spotlight – The Parallel Shift

  1. Good explanation of the parallel shift, but you neglect to mention that Mr. Ponsonby-Smythe’s legacy is not unmixed – while some of his moves open play up to enticingly unpredictable games, it can’t be denied that his style of play helped popularise Mornington Crescent as a game in which random chance and flashy showmanship dominate, creating the circumstances which directly led to the Regent Street Tragedy of 1948. He made some interesting contributions, but P-S is no hero.
    (Sorry! This wasn’t so much directed at your post, Martha, but more at the glorification of Ponsonby-Smythe that certain circles of players begin every time the parallel shift -or its corollary the parallel park- are mentioned. Frankly I’m surprised that the man’s apologists haven’t already shown up on this post to adulate ~the father of modern Mornington Crescent~ – maybe Taruithorn is free of them?)
    (I just have a lot of rage about Ponsonby-Smythe, okay?)

  2. Oh, and also, thanks so much for showcasing this particular example of the parallel shift; it’s one of my very favourite moves!

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