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In 1843, Ernest Gower had spent nine years as captain of the London MC Club's A team. He was a very respected player and had already developed the Lateral Gower Straddle, but his sense of fun sought an outlet. Unfortunately, as he well realised, he could not very well produce any work that would be branded as frivolous without himself being scorned as someone who 'didn't take the game seriously'. This had already happened to two players in the London MC Club, and Gower was definitely not wanting to be a third.

And so he published a small volume of humourous game transcripts under a pseudonym, fFrederick fFrobisher. In a diary note, Gower explains that the preceding small 'f' indicates that this was a frivolous work, and that Frobisher seemed to be a relatively silly moniker (compared to the names of some of the learned players at the time). He ends the note with a hope that this defacto standard would be used by other players to continue the work of keep the game of MC as something that was, above all, a game.

It is not known whether he actually talked of his thoughts to anyone in the LMCC or elsewhere. However, fFrobisher's book sold quite well and Gower's standard seems to have been quickly adopted by other members of the LMCC and other clubs for naming manoeuvres that did strange, unexpected and quirky things in the game. Other people, perhaps capitalising on the success but certainly adding to the accepted standard, published under other pseudonyms such as fFeatherstonehaugh and fFrazier.

Of particular note is the fFrobisher fFlourish. There is also a fFrobisher fFlip (reversing all of one's active tokens at once - usually accomplished simply by reversing the direction in which they are moving on the board, but traditionally accompanied by the gesture of flipping them all over), a fFrobisher fFlurry (where one move is broken down into a 'flurry' of smaller components – for instance, a combination of four quarter-striles instead of a full strile), and even a fFrobisher fFarkle, which is exactly the same as a normal one but done with more than the usual style and panache.

[PW] [JLE]


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Last edited April 19, 2007 1:07 am by Simons Mith (diff)
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