[Home]Hartramp, Oliver

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Hartramp, author of Vocabularies, a seminal work on the English language, was also an accomplished MC player in the 20s-40s. He is best known for his Variations, on all of which later entries will be forthcoming.

Hartramp had a slightly unorthodox style of play; he often had no qualms about twisting and combining well-known rulesets to his own advantage, leaving his opponents high and dry as he confused them with his superior knowledge. His inspired combination of the Tudor system with the little-known changes made in 1678 totally flummoxed Briggs in the 1941 World final. By forcing the diagonal in the fourth game (Briggs had failed to notice Hartramp's token stack) he walked into MC after only three moves. Briggs protested, but the referee let the victory stand.

Wartime austerity measures meant that his Variations weren't published until 1947, and he went out fashion in the Sixties, when his dry, merciless style of play was rejected as being 'too much like the Man'. He is, however, enjoying somewhat of a renaissance, and rightly so.

Some Hartramp Variations of Note

Interesting Variations: Hartramp was the first player to contest that if a move was Interesting, it was certainly valid (an approach which has been since adopted by the IMCS, that if enough players find a move 'interesting' – even when they are on the receiving end of it – they will validate it). He created a standard list of Interesting moves that were outside standard rulesets, and when these moves became standard, he immediately started work on a new set of Interesting moves, which he refused to publish, claiming that if he revealed them they would no longer be Interesting. A move he pioneered that has become standard is the exploitation of high line velocity and good token stacks to go from Embankment? to [Kentish Town]? in one move, thus opening up an easy entrance to Mornington Crescent. This move is, of course, not available should you be on the Metropolitan line in the previous move, in which case, of course, you would find yourself in spoon.

Deviations: In the 1930s Hartramp dabbled in S&M (Stratford & Moorgate? The dirty bugger. – Ed), and created a special set of moves for those who enjoy deviating from the norm. The most well-known move in this deviation is the unique Dollis Hill escape clause, which is only useable with a leather podume and creates a zone four token vortex.


Categories: A to Z, Famous Players

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Last edited April 6, 2007 1:34 pm by Simons Mith (diff)