Unusual Movements for Clubs - 1
by John Pain

Hesitation Mitchell Movement

Certain numbers of tables do not easily lend themselves to either a Mitchell or a Howell because the number of boards is unacceptable. For example, in an 11-table Mitchell, 11 two-board rounds is only 22 boards. In a six-table Howell, again there are only 11 rounds giving 22 boards. An eight-table Mitchell has 24 boards in play, but some clubs like to play 27 boards. In some cases a hesitation Mitchell can be useful.

A Hesitation Mitchell is a way of adding one round to a standard Mitchell movement to increase the number of boards in play and also increase the number of opponents met during the session.

It is a single winner movement in which the moving pairs move up one table at a time playing East/West as in a normal Mitchell Movement, but interrupt their progress in order to play North/South at one table. After playing North/South for one round, they resume their progress as East/West. There are stationary pairs sitting North/South at all tables apart from the ‘hesitation’ table. In a hesitation Mitchell the number of rounds is one more than the number of tables. So you can have a hesitation for seven tables playing eight rounds, eight tables playing nine rounds or 11 tables playing 12 rounds.

As it is a single winner movement, there are arrow switches on the last one or two rounds at all tables except the hesitation table.

Two examples follow:

1. Seven tables playing eight rounds:

Table123one relay4567

Pairs 1 to 6 are stationary. Pairs 7 to 14 move as per the schedule.

EW1 → EW2 → ... → EW6 → EW7 → NS7 → EW1

Arrow switch on the last round only at all tables except table 7 (the ‘hesitation’ table).

This is a good movement for seven tables for a normal club session. It is a better alternative to a 7-table Mitchell which is either 21 (too few) or 28 (too many) boards and is quicker than a full 7-table Howell. The full Howell is still the fairest single winner movement but with 13 2-board rounds runs slowly and also has the disadvantage of only one sitting seat.

2. Eight tables playing nine rounds:

Table1234two relays5678
Boards1-34-67-910-1213-15, 16-1819-2122-2425-271-3

Note that tables 1 and 8 share.

Pairs 1 to 7 are stationary. Pairs 8 to 16 move as per the schedule:

EW1 → EW2 → ... → EW7 → EW8 → NS8 → EW1

Arrow switch on the last round only at all tables except table 8.

This is a very good movement for playing 27 boards at eight tables. In the case of a half-table, pair 1 should be the phantom as this removes the share with table 8.

An interesting variation is a Double Hesitation Mitchell which adds two rounds to the movement. It is useful for a small number of tables such as six. A 6-table Mitchell plays four board rounds, whereas a 6-table full Howell only has 11 2-board rounds and 22 boards is generally not enough. In the Double Hesitation for six tables two extra sets of boards are added which turns it into an eight 3-board round movement. The moving pairs have to be careful when moving and the TD has to be careful giving out the boards as there are two relay tables to negotiate.

3. Six tables playing eight rounds:

Table1234one relay56one relay

Pairs 1, 3, 4 and 5 are stationary. Other pairs move as per the schedule:

EW1 → EW2 → ... → EW5 → EW6 → NS2 → NS6 → EW1

Arrow switch on the last round only at tables 1, 3, 4 and 5. (In some variations pair 2 is numbered as pair 13 to make it clear it is a ‘moving’ pair; in this case there is no pair 2.)

In all cases movement cards are desirable and most scoring programs can print movement cards as you need them.

Full details and movement matrices for all these and other Hesitation and Double Hesitation Mitchells can be found in the EBU Movement manual (edited by the late John Manning) available from the Bridge Shop (01296 397851).

John Pain