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A popular form of the game, usually played as a single game as the final event at the World Championships: as its name suggests, all comers can take part, and there is no set restriction on the order of moving other than that the same player may not make two consecutive moves (and, indeed, "should not play an unreasonably large number of moves in an unreasonably short space of time": doing so may constitute an Illegal Move, at the referee's discretion.) All-In matches are generally nowadays governed by interconnected buzzers - when one is hit, signalling that its owner wishes to either move or dispute the legality of the last move, it disables all the rest until the move has been made: this stops the game degenerating into a mere contest of who can shout the loudest.

This type of game requires an entirely different strategy from the standard one-on-one MC: regrettably often, the winner is the player who can cause the maximum inconvenience to the greatest number of players in the shortest possible space of time. More often, it is the person who manages to get their strategy in fastest, without actually breaking the conventions of *when* to move: although sometimes, it can be better to hold off and wait for people to move out of the way first - even if it means allowing somebody else two, three or even four moves between one's last move and one's next.

Strategy and tactics usually result in an "every man for himself" approach: although, if one player seems to be getting too far ahead, other players will quite often end up forming brief, tacit and unspoken alliances to drag the perceived leader back, assisting each other in doing so - and sometimes a leading group will seemingly break away, providing a little assistance for each other. However, such alliances by their very nature are invariably brief, as one or other player must inevitably backstab the other: for only one player can win.

As such, Ruttsborough was recognised as the greatest master of All-In MC, with 18 wins at the IMCS World Championship's All-In event: interestingly, no referee ever ruled any move of his illegal for "moving too often", although he was called for practically everything else (and got away with yet more). Surprisingly perhaps, Mrs Trellis is next with 13 - 12 of them as part of Grand Slams.

Since 1998, a new championship has been set up - the "St Pancras International All-In Mornington Crescent Championships", where *nothing* is played but All-In MC from dawn till dusk in four sessions punctuated by morning coffee break, lunch and afternoon tea break, for a week: and each time a game ends, another begins as soon as the token differentials from the previous game have been added up. Taking part is, not surprisingly, a heroic feat of stamina: therefore, any player is allowed to "sit out" of a game and join in the next one, and very few play *every* game in the week (although those who do, despise others as wusses.) Prize money is divided equally between those players who have hit the most wins and those that possess the top token-difference values over the course of the tournament.

The winners of the inaugural tournament were Stannard for most game wins - to nobody's surprise - and Ondyszeki for best token differential: Stannard took the greater plaudits for the most wins, but Ondyszeki took the most prize-money becuase she also won fourth prize on the Most Wins list, while Stannard was nowhere near even the top twenty for token difference. To nobody's surprise, Stannard declared the tournament "great fun", while an exhausted Ondyszeki stated she had "only entered it as an experiment - NEVER AGAIN!"


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Edited November 26, 2004 6:22 pm by JLE (diff)