Stroboscopic photo of a wink being potted in the game of tiddlywinks The North American Tiddlywinks Association
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Tiddlywinks Bibliography

© 1980-2012 Rick Tucker & Fred Shapiro.  All Rights Reserved.  Legal

The Tiddlywinks Bibliography is a compendium of all substantive and obscure citations to the game of tiddlywinks in all available resources:  newspapers, magazines, books, government records, images, audio, video, websites, etc.  In other words, if the game of tiddlywinks was mentioned either briefly or in detail, it should be in the Tiddlywinks Bibliography.

Introduction · Newspapers · Schools · Magazines · Books · Letters etc.· Diaries and Narratives · Photographs · Video/Audio · Comics · Visual Art · Tiddlywinks Publications · Equipment · Patents · Trademarks · Copyrights · Legal Cases · Miscellaneous · Museums & Collections

School Publications

MIT Publications

Association of Student Activities Meeting Minutes

22 Mar 2007  
  • Tiddlywinks Association
    - they used to exist
    Move: recognize as a fully recognized with funding restriction Passes

28 Nov 2007  
  • Executive Board Meeting
  • Chess club and tiddlywinks added to strategic games' rooms (just for storage)

Class 14.03

Fall 2000 online
  • Fall 2000 Problem Set #7: Asymmetric Information, Signaling, and Game Theory
    Due in Class #24
  • 2. The Massachusetts Institute of Tiddlywinks (the premier institution of its kind) hires
    Tiddlywinks Assistants (TAs) from among a pool of available applicants. Applicants
    vary in quality. Some are good (G); some are excellent (E); and some are stupendous (S).
    Unfortunately, an applicant?s types cannot be determined until approximately 1 A.M. on
    the morning the first problem set is due, by which time it is too late to change assistants.
    Applicants who are not chosen spend the semester playing in Tiddlywinks tournaments
    professionally. Good players earn $50 per semester; Excellent players earn $200 per
    semester and Stupendous players earn $400. The applicant pool is split evenly among the
    three types (each of whom knows her quality), and the Institute chooses randomly among
    those candidates who apply at the stated wage. Regardless of quality, no TA ever agrees
    to do it more than once.
    Each Tiddlywinks class has 100 students, whose V-N-M utility depends on their wealth
    and their TA?s quality and is given by:
    U = W if they take a class and get a good TA;
    U = W + 5 if they take a class and get an excellent TA;
    U = W + 7 if they take a class and get a stupendous TA.
    Each student takes only 1 class. There are no costs of offering courses other than hiring
    TAs. (The Professors, of course, work for Love of Learning.)
    A. Assume that the Institute maximizes expected student utility subject to the
    constraint that it not lose money. What wage should it offer to pay TAs, and what price
    should it charge for classes? What is the quality composition of the TA applicant pool (in
    terms of G, E, and S)?
    B. The new Dean has decided to do something about the quality of teaching at MIT.
    She has decreed that from now on, the average quality of TAs must be at least Excellent.
    What wage must be offered, and what price charged to students to bring this about?
    C. A Professor at CalTiddly (a rival institution on the West coast) has developed a
    test that can distinguish Good TAs from the other two types. How much should MIT be
    willing to pay (per course) for the right to use this test? The CalTiddly Professor also has
    a more advanced version of the test that distinguishes all three types, G, E, and S. How
    much more should MIT be willing to pay for this better test?
    D. Now suppose that there is no quality test, but that TAs can go to TA school. TA
    school takes one semester, and TAs earn no income while in school. The probability of
    successfully completing it and getting a B.T. degree depends on your type: S?s graduate
    for sure; E?s graduates with probability 0.9 and G?s with probability 0.1. Should MIT
    require TAs to have a B.T. degree? What wage should it offer to TAs with a degree?
    What is the quality composition of the TA pool that results (in terms of G, E, and S)?
    (Assume that all successful graduates will get a TA job at the wage MIT announces for
    such candidates. Assume that TAs are risk neutral V-N-M expected utility maximizers.
    Ignore discounting over time.)

The Daily Reamer

(Parody of The Tech by The Tech; bound with The Tech in The Tech office at MIT)

24 May 1966 Page 8 "Winkers defeat Harvard in Cornell triangular meet"

Historically important

Original (Drix)

HoToGAMIT (How to Get Around MIT)

several editions, including:

1976 Issue 8 Page 41 Listing Original (NATwA)
1978 Issue 10 Page 112 Listing
1980 Issue 12 Page 85 Description

IAP Guide (Independent Activities Period)

(Dec 1979) Page 32 [IAP '80 Final Guide] Photo of Joe Sachs and Rich Steidle Original (NATwA)
IAP 2007 online
  • Introduction to Tiddlywinks
    Yan Wang, Greg Durrett
    Wed Jan 10 thru Fri Jan 12, 04:30-06:00pm, 4-145, Introduction to Tiddlywinks
    Sat Jan 13, Sun Jan 14, 09am-04:00pm, PDR #1 & #2, MITTwA IAP Tournament
  • No limit but advance sign up required (see contact below)
    Repeating event. Participants welcome at any session
  • Tiddlywinks was formalized in Cambridge University in 1955. The first American teams appeared in the 1960's with MIT being the dominant force, but winking participation has diminished in the last two decades in the USA. This informal class will be led by veteran tiddlywinks players of the newly revived MIT Tiddlywinks Association (MITTwA). A two day tournament will be held on Sat/Sun for more detailed exposure and the chance to play with many MIT alumni, students from around the country, and English representative. Get the chance to learn a little more about MIT history through tiddlywinks! Visit the website to learn more.
    Contact: Yan Wang, (607) 342-3402,
    Sponsor: Yan Wang, 500 MEMORIAL DR # 439, 617 225-8839,
    Latest update: 03-Jan-2007

Institute Calendar

17-24 Feb 1969 2/22-23 "1969 Tiddlywinks Championships" Historically important
10-17 Mar 1969 3/12 "What's My Line?" Historically important

MIT Bulletin

(Sep 1973) Page 56 [73/74 General Catalogue] Photo of Tim Schiller and Bill Renke original (NATwA)

MIT Freshman Handbook

1968-69 Page 9 (Activities Handbook) "Tiddleywinks Association". Text by Mitch Wand?
1969-70 Page 12.2-43 Same as 1968-69; "Tiddlywinks Association"
1970-71 Page 12-11 Same as 1969-70
1971-72 Page 12-14 Same as 1969-70
1972-73 Page 13-0 and 13-13
  • Page 13-0, photo of Dave Lockwood and Franz Christ
  • Page 13-13, text by Tim Schiller
Original (NATwA)
1973-74 Page 185 Same text as 1972-73 (no photo)
1974-75 Page 186 Same text as 1972-73
1975-76 Page 208 Photo of Rich Steidle. Same text as 1972-73 Photocopy (NATwA)
1977-78 Page 177 Condensation of 1972-73 text
1978-79 Page 165 Same as 1977-78
1979-80 Page 161 Same as 1977-78
1980-81 Page 147 Same as 1977-78

MIT Media Relations

10 Jan 2007 online
  • Tiddlywinks team plans return to former glory
    The first thing the newly revived MIT Tiddlywinks Association wants people to know about the game of flicking small plastic discs into a cup is that it is not just a game of flicking small plastic discs into a cup.
  • Instead, according to the North American Tiddlywinks Association's web site, tiddlywinks is a "complex game of strategy and tactics, which involves a fascinating mixture of manual dexterity and intellectual activity as well."
  • Tiddlywinks started in the late 1800s in England. In 1955, it resurfaced at Cambridge University, where a group of undergraduates were looking for a game to represent their school. Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web and recent recipient of the Draper Prize, played tiddlywinks.
  • The game is played with sets of small, thin discs, known as winks, which are lined up on a mat. Using the larger disc, called the squidger, players pop the smaller discs into flight by snapping one side of the smaller disc with the edge of the larger one.
  • There are two different versions. The first is the informal child's game in which the small discs are launched into a cup. The formal game is much more complicated with a series of rules and strategies.Â
  • Yan Wang, president of the MIT Tiddlywinks Association (MITTwA), said that adult players like to compare tiddlywinks to golf, "because it requires physical dexterity in making shots," and also to chess, "because it requires thinking in turns and trying to maximize your strategy based on what your opponent could do." MITTwA is awaiting formal recognition from MIT's Association of Student Activities.
  • MIT has a bright tiddlywinks history, beginning when the game spread across the Atlantic from Britain during the 1960s. "Although tiddlywinks was formalized in England, the dominant team throughout the 1960s through 1980s was MIT," said Wang. "There was much intercollegiate play with Harvard and Cornell, in addition to international trips to visit Cambridge and Oxford."Â
  • In recent years, the game had fallen out of favor at MIT because not enough effort was devoted to bringing in new players, Wang explained.
  • MITTwA, which was reborn this past September thanks to Wang, is hoping to change that with an Independent Activities Period (IAP) "Introduction to Tiddlywinks" that starts on Jan. 10 and ends on Jan. 12, each evening from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Room 4-145.
  • Members of the MITTwA who have been playing the game for years will teach the class. On Jan. 13 and 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the MITTwA will be holding a tournament for novices and more advanced players alike in the Student Center (W20).
  • "The tournament will hopefully attract students, staff and faculty who are eager to learn about this piece of MIT history and take part in it. There will be significant attendance by alumni from across the country who all look forward to reviving this part of their student experience," Wang said.
  • For more information, please visit
  • A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 10, 2007.
  • Written by: Sasha Brown, News Office

MIT Museum

See Photographs

MIT News Office Press Releases

25 Feb 1972 "MIT Captures Tiddlywinks Crown" Photocopy (NATwA)
10 Mar 1972 "MIT Tiddlywinkers Headed for World Match" Photocopy (NATwA)
4 Apr 1972 "MIT Tiddlywinkers Return as World Champs"

Historically important

Photocopy (NATwA)

6 Mar 1973 Letter by News Office Director in file of press releases Historically important
24 Jan 1975 "Tiddledy, winken and nod": photo with caption
10 Jan 2007 "Tiddlywinks team plans return to former glory"

MIT Observer

(Most are reprints from newspapers)

Jan 1969 Page 3-4
  • Pages 3-4: "Squidges and Squops". [Not a reprint]
Mar 1972 Page 4
  • Page 4: 2 Mar 1972 - Christian Science Monitor

    16 Mar 1972 - Cambridge Chronicle
Original (NATwA)
Sep 1972 Page 8
  • Page 8: 31 Mar 1972 - Los Angeles Times
Original (NATwA)
Feb 1973 Page 5
  • Page 5: 14 Feb 1973 - Tech Talk
  • Page 21: 8 Apr 1973 - New York Times (date is correct)
Original (NATwA)
Mar 1973 Page 17
  • Page 17: 12 Feb 1973 - Cornell Sun

MIT Today

(Pamphlet directed at potential students)
[most or all editions]

___ Listing in selective list of student activities Original (NATwA)

The MIT-Wellesley Review

4 Apr 1979 Page 4 "Winkers are Thinkers" Original (NATwA)

Slice of MIT

28 Aug 2009 online
  • MIT Once "Center of Winking" by LIV
  • MIT has been called the center of a lot of things. In the 1970s, the New York Times recalled its history as a center of military research. The Chicago Tribune speculated about it being the next center of economic thought in the 80s, and in the 90s, another Times article referenced it as the center of computer science. Nobody ever mentioned that MIT was also once the center of winking, until recently.
  • An interview in the San Diego Reader with alumnus Rick Tucker '80 reveals that MIT was considered the center of winking, or tiddlywinking, about 35 years ago.
  • As Tucker tells it, "There have been a number of starts and stops, but in terms of MIT, there were two people who started tiddlywinks. One went to Cornell and one went to MIT. The Cornell player, Severin Drix, found a tiddlywinks set in a box of Trix cereal. The enduring team at MIT started in 1966 with Ferd Wulkan, who was Severin Drix's friend. They decided to form teams and compete against each other."
  • Maybe it sounds trite, but there is a fair amount of strategy involved in Tiddlywinks—as well as a colorful lexicon. Remember what winks, squopping, and boondocking means? (If you don't, you can look it up here.)
  • And if all this talk about Tiddlywinks has you itching to play some yourself, check out game prices on Amazon or eBay.

The Tech

(Student newspaper; see also The Daily Reamer; fielded a team in 1962)

12 Feb 1960 Page 1 "Oxford Seeks Tiddlywinks Match"/"M I T to Form Team"  
14 Nov 1962 Page 13 "Will SLUTS meet GUTS At Harvard?"/"Tiddlywinkers Ask Smith President" by Toby Zidle
20 Nov 1962 Page 2 "MUTS Lose 7-14 to Simmons/In New Tech Intercollegiate Sport" by Toby Zidle ("Associate Tiddlywink Editor")
28 Nov 1962 Page 2 Passing reference in article by Toby Zidle, "New Sport Organized At Vassar"/"Girls' Answer to President's Call"
12 Dec 1962 Page 2 "SLUTS Bomb TNTs 27-15; Rematch Scheduled" by Richard S. Russell ("Assistant to the Associate Tiddlywinks Editor"); photo by Richard Grabowski
6 Feb 1963 Page 1 "Committee Announces WW Ticket Deadline, Entertainers, Program" with reference to "a demonstration match of tiddlywinks, Tech Newspaper Tiddlywinkers vs. Senior House Order of Tiddlywinks Shooters".  
27 Oct 1965 Page 23 "Around the Cage" column with account of letter from Charles McLeod of Waterloo to MIT Public Relations Office
21 Feb 1967 Page 13 "Cornell defeats squidgers in second annual contest"/"Harvard third". Photo
17 Mar 1967 Page 10 "Record 2-0/Tiddlywinks team smashes visiting Columbia 90-36"
10 Oct 1967 Page 5 "Tiddlywinks" - letter by Ferd (Peter Wulkan)
4 Nov 1967 Page 16 "How They Did" listing of results with MIT 3rd in No. American Championship  
7 Nov 1967 Page 16 "Squidgers second in US, edged by Cornell in finals" Original (NATwA/Drix)
25 Feb 1969 Pages 1, 9 "MIT wins Continental Tiddlywinks Tournament"/"Tech cops tiddlywink crown for Continental championship"
25 Feb 1972 Page 6 "Why are campus media on the decline?". Reference to NATwA
Page 12 Photo by Dan Dern
3 Mar 1972 Page 7 "Tech takes big winks tilt" by Peter Rubinstein  
21 Mar 1972 Page 12 "Winks squad England bound" by Fred Shapiro  
21 Apr 1972 Page 8 "Open House 1972". Photo of Larry Kahn and Sue Shrut  
25 Apr 1972 Page 7 "MIT's world champions" by Fred Shapiro. Photo by S. Hollinger Historically important
5 May 1972 Page 1 "Clubs to Lose Recognition" by Robert Elkin (but not MITTwA!)  
16 May 1972 Page 11 "Finboard allocates $32K" with Tiddlywinks Association listing  
31 Oct 1972 Page 11 "MIT to sponsor Class-Day regatta" by David I. Katz, with minor reference  
10 Nov 1972 Page 2 "Finboard: where the bread is" with Tiddlywinks Club reference  
9 Feb 1973 Page 8 "Tiddlywinks title on the line at Cornell"

Original (NATwA)

Digital copy (NATwA)

16 Feb 1973 Page 8 "Winkers retain title, sweep Nationals". Photo by Daniel Dern Original (NATwA)
1 May 1973 Page 4 (Kaleidoscope supplement) "Kaleidoscope Activities"; passing reference  
8 May 1973 Page 1 "Finboard sets new budget"/"Breakdown of Activity Funding" - listing of Tiddlywinks Assoc.
18 Sep 1973 Page 4 "Editorial" referring to "the Tiddlywinks Club"  
26 Feb 1974 Page 4 "Tiddlywinkers are upset/Place Second and Fourth" by Dave Lockwood Original (NATwA)
19 Apr 1974 Page 9 Photo and listing
Page 10 "Kaleidoscope" notes
2 Aug 1974 Page 8 "Sports at MIT? You'd better believe it!!!"
Page 8 "Get extracurricular" by Forrest Krutter Original (NATwA)
6 Sep 1974 Page 8 (UA section) "The UA News"  
24 Feb 1976 Page 8 "Tiddlywinks 2nd in Tournament" by Martin Ross and Joe Sachs Original (NATwA)
30 Jul 1976 Pages 16, 15 "Sports: the year in review"/"Olympics to tiddlywinks: a sports recap" Original (NATwA)
29 Apr 1977 Page 10 "Kaleidoscope Weekend" with tiddlywinks demonstration listing  
2 Dec 1977 Page 1 From Boston Phoenix—"In the News"/"Excerpts": quote from Charles Frankston  
2 Mar 1978 Page 11 "Winkers skilled at Beanpotting" by Josef Sachs Original (NATwA)
26 Feb 1980 Pages 12, 1 "Tiddlywinks places second in North American tourney" by Fred Shapiro Original (NATwA)
9 Nov 1982 Page 4 "ASA Action is unjustified"/"Editorial" with listing of Tiddlywinks Assoc.  
28 Feb 1984 Page 13 Photo (by Jim Butler) of Arye Gittelman and Larry Kahn competing against Charles Frankston and Joe Sachs in a World Pairs Championship  
11 Sep 1987 Page 3 "Student Activity Announcements" with listing of Tiddlywinks Association  
27 Sep 2005 Volume 125 Number 42 Page 1 Column 1; Page 11 Column 2  
17 Jan 2007 Volume 126 Number 62 Page 9 Column 1

"Squidger and Squop—Tiddlywinks Make the Pot". 3 black and white photos: Greg Durrett, Matt Fayers

Color versions of same photos.

Digital copy (NATwA)
19 Feb 2008 Volume 128 Number 5 Page 5 Column 1 "Brouhaha Rhythm". "I can’t help but feel like we could be weirder and more distinctive — no offense meant to the Tiddlywinks team."  

(Kaleidoscope listings—1 May 1973 pages 4, 3; 30 Apr 1976 page 4; 29 Apr 1977 page 10)

Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) Meeting Minutes

20 Jul 1981 online Other:
CBF [Charles Frankston] was in town this week. He left his tiddlywinks mat here again.
28 Jun 1982 online 21:28-CBF [Charles Frankston] is the US tiddlywinks pairs champion, along with Jay [sic, should be Joe] Sachs.  

Tech Talk

(Administration newspaper)

22 Mar 1972 Page 2 "MIT, Southampton Vie for Tiddlywinks Title". Photo by Margo Foote <n>
5 Apr 1972 Pages 1, 3 "Winkers Take World Title in British Tourney"/"Winksmen Take World Championship". Photo by Margo Foote

Historically important

Original (NATwA)

14 Feb 1973 Page 3 "Winkers Tops For 2nd Year" (in Feb 1973 MIT Observer) Original (NATwA)
13 Feb 1974 Page 3 Photo of Dave Lockwood and TDI (Saul Agranoff) Original (NATwA)
27 Nov 1974 Page 10 "Tiddlywinks match set" (World Singles notice) Transcript
29 Jan 1975 Page 3 "Tiddledy, Winken and Nod"—photo of Joe Sachs and Rich Steidle Original (NATwA)
21 May 1975 Page 6 "Event of Special Interest" Original (NATwA)
Page 8 Brief Original (NATwA)
25 Feb 1976 Page 2 "Tiddlywinkers Place Second" Original (NATwA)
6 Dec 1978 Page 7 "Tiddlywinkers Take Third Place" Original (NATwA)
16 Jan 1980 Page 10 "The 1970s: A Decade of Change for the Institute"; March 1972 and April 1972 Original (NATwA)
10 Jan 2007 Volume 51 Number 14 Page 1 Column 3 "WINKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!"/"MIT's Tiddlywinks Team plays on" Digital copy (NATwA)
10 Jan 2007 Volume 51 Number 14 Page 3 Column 1 "Tiddlywinks team plans return to former glory". Photo of Dave Lockwood, Franz Christ, Bill Renke, Tim Schiller, Jim Marlin, and Craig Schweinhart from 1972 Digital copy (NATwA)

(Numerous meeting and tournament announcements in Club Notes)


1963 Page 45 Mention in text
1968 Page 145 2 photos
Page 383 Names
1969 Page 380 Names
1972 Contents "Winks"
Page 130-133 5 photos Important
1973 Page 128 1 photo Original (NATwA)
1974 Page 108 1 photo Original (NATwA)
Page 147 Names Original (NATwA)
1976 Page 70 Names Original (NATwA)
1977 Page 91 Names Original (NATwA)
1978 Page 234 2 photos Original (NATwA)
Page 246 Names
1979 Page 198 1 photo
Page 200 Names

(Photos also in collections of Daniel Dern and Jim Koschella.)

Technology Review

(Magazine; class notes (A, B, and MIT sections] appear only in the alumni edition)
Feb 1963 Volume 65 Page 44 "Tiddlywink History" Photocopy (NATwA)
Jan 1968 Page 82 Cartoon on "Kane on M.I.T." page
Mar 1969 Page 90 "Squapping Across the Rubicon". Photo Photocopy (NATwA)
Jun 1972 Page 81 "International Tiddlywinks"
Jul/Aug 1972 Page 97 Open House photo
Jun 1977 Page B16 Tim Schiller in class notes
Oct 1978 Page B23 Dave Lockwood in Class of '75
Mar/Apr 1979 Page B22 Fred Shapiro in Class of '74
Page B23 "Why Tiddlywinks? Because It Was There"
Nov 1979 Page B15 Dave Lockwood in Class of '74 Original (NATwA)
Page A19 Photo of Activities Midway, in background
May 1980 Page A19 "Tiddlywinks Popping Again" (abridged from The Tech, 26 Feb 1980) Original (NATwA)
Aug/Sep 1980 Page B22 Dave Lockwood in Class of '75 Original (NATwA)
Oct 1981 Page B16 Rick Tucker in Class of '80 Original (NATwA)
Feb/Mar 1988 Page MIT29 Larry Kahn in Class of '75 Original (NATwA)
May/June 2010  

Reposted online

  • Yale Librarian is Master of Quotations
  • [Color photograph of Fred Shapiro]
  • Four years after graduating from MIT, Frank Shapiro had taken some time off from Harvard Law School when he rejoined the then-famous MIT Tiddlywinks Team and decided the game needed an official historian and lexicologist. Shapiro, who studied humanities and science at the Institute, assumed the position and soon discovered that the term tiddlywink had been used much earlier than the Oxford English Dictionary seemed to indicate. He wrote to the publisher and pointed out six such citations. The editors confirmed one of the examples and promised to include it in the dictionary's next revision. Something clicked.
  • "Everything I did with words and quotations came after that," says Shapiro, now a Yale librarian and lecturer in legal research at Yale Law School, who edited the Yale Book of Quotations. Six years in the making, the book meticulously catalogues noteworthy statements and traces their earliest uses. "This sort of work doesn't seem like the kind of thing that is 'MIT,' Shapiro says, "but actually it is—the kind of precision and resourcefulness that's necessary fits with the MIT education."
  • After graduating from law school in 1980, Shapiro practiced general law briefly and then earned a master's degree in library science at Catholic University in 1982. Since then, he has worked in research—and continued to contribute to the OED, as well as to the New York Times' Freakonomics blog.
  • "The truth is, it's changed a lot," says Shapiro of his dictionary work. "There's less a sense of discovery and accomplishment. It used to be that you'd go to a large library—you'd randomly pick up a book and open it to a random page and make a discovery. Now it's the database that is doing the work."
  • Shapiro and his wife, Jane, live in Bethany, CT, and have a son in college. The couple used to play a lot of word games, like Scrabble. But "I don't play too much anymore," Shapiro says, "because I had problems—I'd try to play words that weren't in the Scrabble dictionary. Also," he admits with a laugh, "I got obsessed with seven-letter words, and I would pass 10 times in a row until I could play them. That's not the best strategy."
  • By Liv Gold

(Booklet of reprints from Technology Review sent to alumni)

Jan 1980 Page 31 Activities Midway photo from Nov 1979 Technology Review
May 1980 Page A19

(Same as Technology Review May 1980)

Original (NATwA)


(MIT student newspaper)

11 Feb 1971 Page 3 "Winkers Depart For Canada" by Paul Mailman  
Mar 1972 Unpublished article by Fred Shapiro
30 Nov 1978 Page 7 Letter by Fred Shapiro Original (NATwA)

Around 1973-1974,Thursday challeged The Tech to tiddlywinks.

Undergraduate Residence

(Sent to incoming freshmen)

1970/71 Page 20 "MacGregor House"

Voodoo (MIT humor magazine)

22 Apr 1966 Number 40 Pages 30-31 "DITWIDDLE TIDDLEYWINK METHOD SWEEPS WORLD" by Scott Hott. 1 photo, 2 illustrations.

Original (NATwA)


__ ___ ____ Issue 743

"Magnethead the Champion" by Hani Sallum

  • They say necessity is the mother of invention. In my mind, it has always been much more complex than this. However this is paraphrased, it sums up the birth of what we, as a group of eight to ten year olds, considered the single greatest sport in the history of Creation: Manhole Cover Tiddlywinks.

    Nothing came close.

    No free ball game at Fenway could drag us away from a even-odds street tournament; even-odds meaning even side of the street versus the odd side. No road race, plane show, or three-car pileup could sway us from the Big Tiddlywinks.
  • Saturdays, when not spent on preparation for the upcoming tournament, were also days where a completely green novice could learn the basics of the game. Usually, this was done in pairs, as most beginners needed a partner to successfully manipulate a ``chip''. A pair of beginners were introduced to the basics of stance and delivery, as well as the ability to cooperate and work together. There was really a lot more to the big Tiddlywinks than people thought. Aim, of course, was always important, but the methods at which you approach and deliver the blow to the ``chip'' are as diverse as those involved in pool. For instance, depending on the distance away from the edge of the manhole cover where you bring down the cover you are holding, you change the angle at which the cover initially leaves the ground. The harder you hit, the further your chip will go. Also, depending on the angle to the cover you deliver the blow, you can add the Tiddlywink version of ``English'', which doesn't do much except add a little flair and spin to your shot. Really experienced players know all the neat tricks; how to make a chip curve in the air, how to make it spin around it's vertical axis for longer time in the air and less bounce, how to make the chip roll through an exact number of turns to control direction of bounce, and so on.

    Our tournaments were always on Sundays. We needed every single square foot of playing area possible, and the nearby park area didn't work so well. Not only did we make huge divots in the grass, but the noise scared the little children and their parents away. Manhole Cover Tiddlywinks was not a quiet game; think about it. During one tournament we had to abandon the pile of ``chips'' we had brought to the park just so the Police riot squad wouldn't catch us. Oh yeah, more than half of us had Police profiles by the time we were twelve. It was almost something to be proud of.

    Sundays were the days when the space we needed was available. A level, hardtop surface protected from the traffic was what we needed, and during the school year we kept mostly to supermarket parking lots. But during the Summer, when Tiddlywinks season was at it's peak, we were able to use the ideal public space for our tournaments. Most of us lived near the river, Charles River, and we had ready access to the best Tiddlywink court around: Memorial Drive. It was always blocked off during the day for public recreation, and we all knew that that meant us. At first some people tried to revoke our rights as citizens of the People's Republic of Cambridge since we would sometimes come close to denting their cars, (especially the novice pairs), but after a while they just dealt with us and stopped calling the Police. In fact, some people even spent a little while sitting on the grass, watching the tournament progress through its elimination matches (moving back a little whenever a novice team was playing, of course)
Digital copy (NATwA)
  Issue 751    
  Issue 762
  • The Darkest Day in the History of Larch Road
  • by Hani Sallum

    Before my days of Manhole Cover Tiddlywinks, I was, for the most part, a calm and collected child. I busied myself with normal tot sort of things; building with legos, playing tag with kids on the street (always having to come in at sundown, smelling like a wet goat sometimes), climbing around on my friend's splinter-infested jungle gym in his backyard, and imagining I was any one of a million people I kept inside my head whenever I got bored with being me. [...]
30 Nov 1978 Volume 57 Number 9
  • I have never seen a general discussion of MIT's strength in the playing of games.
    Few schools have produced-as many senior masters in chess as MIT has (five). KenRogoff, who is probably the most talented American player since Fischer, is a graduate student. There have been some very strong bridge experts, and MIT students have held world championships in Frisbee and Table Hockey. In tiddlywinks, the Institute has completely dominated the game for the past decade, turning out a clear majority of the world's best players. The accomplishments of Ferd T. Bull '68. Sunshine '69, Bob Henning~ '69, Mitch Wand '69, Tim Schiller '72. Bill Renke '73, Ross CalIon '73, Dave Lockwood '75 (featured in the Nov. 27 issue of People magazine) and Larry Kahn '75 should suggest to even the most casual winks fan the magnitude of MIT's contributions. If tiddlywinks becomes America's most popular strategic sport/game, as seems likely, the great engineering school on the Charles will have had a lot to do with its success.
  • Fred Shapiro '74
1 Mar 1979 Volume 57 Number 13
  • Z. : Aw, not now, Deadhead. They need me at the last meeting of the Tiddlywinks Club before the game
14 Jan 2007 home page
  • players flip for tiddlywinks: tournament at MIT this weekend

Web page background is a color stroboscopic photograph taken by Yan Wang.

16 Mar 2007 home page
  • tiddlywinks tournament at MIT: learn the rules of thumb

Web page background is a color stroboscopic photograph taken by Yan Wang.


Other MIT References
1972 Leaflet by leftist MIT group denouncing MIT Finance Board support of MITTwA’s England trip. is the official web site of the North American Tiddlywinks Association.
Contact Rick Tucker for anything relating to tiddlywinks!
© 1994-2012 Rick Tucker.  All Rights Reserved.  Legal notice.