A Complete Guide To Snooker
Do you know what classic movies like The Hustler and The Colour of Money or modern movies like Pool-hall Junkies have in common?
They all had this chic game at the clubs where men and women held large sticks and seemed to be preoccupied with colourful balls? Well, that’s snooker!
Snooker is India’s cue-sport to the world?
Don’t believe it?
Well, this modern, sophisticated and strategic sport originated in India.
Snooker, a cue sport event inspired by Billiards is recognized by the International Olympic Association, the game is bidding for a place in 2020 Olympics. The game is governed by World Professional Billiards and Snooker Federation at international level and Billiards and Snooker Federation in India.
The game is under-hyped in the country. Still, India has produced several roaming names in this sports, including champions such as Aditya Mehta, Pankaj Advani and Subhash Agarwal who work together to popularize the game among masses.
A Sneak Peek about Snooker
A popular cue sport invented in India, Snooker is a game that’s played on a large table, covered with ball pockets and 22 snooker balls. Widely popular in English-speaking and Commonwealth countries, the game is considered a premier sport. The idea of snooker is to use a cue and hit snooker balls- each of which have a point. Players execute shots by striking a cue ball with a cue. Points can be scored with the ball potting or if the other opponent commits a foul.
The game includes 15 red balls, six balls in yellow, green, brown, blue, black and pink colours.
It is won when a player achieves predetermined number of frames in the game.
Snooker, which is barely 200 years old is well known for fetching its top players million pounds in deals, with huge earnings through the course of a professional career. World Snooker Championships witnesses players winning large.
The game is International Olympic Association (IOC) recognized and is bidding for a place in 2020 Olympics. Snooker has several governing organizations. However, it is largely ruled by World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) which controls the professional game, whereas International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) controls amateur games. The game is governed by Billiards and Snooker Federation of India in the country. This governing body is responsible for organizing training camps and holding a number of championships.
Capsulizing the History
While the roots of Snooker go back to 16th century English Billiards, the game itself was developed in India by British Armed Forces stationed in the country.
- The game’s modern form appeared in late 19th century, when new games like Life Pool and Pyramid Pool were combined to make snooker an interesting version of billiards. Slowly, the game evolved itself to accommodate more players.
- Billiards, which is a two-man game in its original form had two cue balls on the board with no other ball for the game. The basic design of it became the inspiration for Snooker, which used coloured balls concept from Life Pool, the idea from Billiards and pointer system for balls from Pyramid Pool. This was also the time when steps were taken to modify the snooker table, which led to the development of the modern Snooker Table.
- It was Colonel Sir Neville France Fitzgerald Chamberlain from Jabalpur, India who suggested that the game included more coloured balls. Therefore, in 1875, a decision was taken to add more balls on the table, which led to the modern version of snooker. Brown and Blue coloured balls were added during the later years of the game.
- The name ‘Snooker’ is also credited to Chamberlain, who made a comment about a player that missed a shot. Apparently, he called the player a ‘real snooker,’ pointing out his lack of experience (snooker in those days was a slang used for first year cadets).
- By 1882, the first set of rules were drafted in Madras Province.
- Since then, the game witnessed immense popularity among with the military officials and upper class societies in India. Over the years, the game carved a niche for itself in other English-speaking and Commonwealth Countries, where British officials took the game. It was the British Billiards Champion, John Roberts, who travelled to India in 1885 and mesmerized by the game introduced it to other countries.
- Consequently, the first official championships were played in 1916. It was in 1927 that Joe Davis, one of the leading snooker players established the first Professional World Championship of snooker. He continued to dominate the game for years, until his retirement from the game in 1946.
- However, the game slowly witnessed a decline, primarily because of disputes between different governing bodies. No world championships were held for the game from 1958 to 1963.
- It was BBC that led to the resurgence of the game by launching a Pot Black tournament in 1969. Since then, it organized several competitions, which resulted in increasing popularity of the game around the world.
- Meanwhile World Snooker Championships were being organized. The first one took place in Kolkata, India in 1963.
- Over the years, India has organized several amateur world championships with IBSF. In fact, because of the reputation of the game in this country, India also organizes the prestigious Indian Open, a snooker tournament that involves competition among some of the brightest players in the world.
- India ranks fourth on the champions by the country, below countries like England and Wales. It is also a brilliant competitor in Women’s Snooker Championships, which were just introduced in 2012 by IBSF.
Exploring the Rules of Snooker
The main objective of this game is to strike a white cue ball with a cue to pot other balls in any of the six pockets. The rules are discussed below.
- Points can be scored by potting object balls (balls in different colours other than the cue). Scoring highest points help an opponent win the frame. The player who wins most frames is the winner of the match.
- Match usually has a predetermined odd number of frames. A frame begins when balls are set up in a particular style. Frame ends when all the balls on the table have been potted or if the other player concedes defeat because they are too far behind.
- The game includes a referee, who signals at the start of each frame. The first is a break-off shot, where players take turns to break the balls on the table. In this shot, white cue ball can be placed anywhere in the ‘D’ section. When one player is at the table, the other can’t play.
- ‘Break’ refers to number of points a player scores in one single visit on the table. The ‘break’ ends when the player fails to pot a ball or if they commit a foul.
- The balls cannot potted aimlessly. Rules suggest that only some balls can be potted for a particular stroke. These balls differ from one shot to the other. For instance, if a red ball is potted, it has to be potted by the second coloured ball and so on until the player fails to pot. Similarly, if the first ball potted is in a colour different than red, then the next ball should be in red.
- In case a cue ball is directly touching another ball, the referee may invoke ‘touching ball’ cue. In this case, the striker will have to play away from the ball without moving it. In case this other ball is moved, it would be considered a ‘push shot,’ which will result in a foul.
- In case if a ball is potted when a foul is made, then the balls must be repositioned to the style as the turn before or it will stay off the table.
- The game is ideally played in two phases. First is the phase when there are red balls on the table. The player must attempt to hit and pot as many red balls as they can. In this case, the player potting the balls will receive one point. Red balls potted will then stay off the table. If the first player fails to pot a ball or a foul has been made, then the other player is given a chance.
- Then, six colour balls are ‘on’ and can only be potted. In this case, the player nominates desired colour to the referee. If the nominated ball is potted, the correct number of points allotted to the ball are given. Then, the ball may be taken out the pocket and placed back at its original spot. In case a spot is not available, the ball would be placed as close to the spot as possible.
- When one of the colours is ‘on,’ then potting more than one colour or hitting multiple colours can lead to a foul.
- When the colours have been potted, the frame is over and the player who scores most points win.
Keep these factors in mind
Fouls are an important part of the game, allowing an opponent to win the frame. Foul is a shot or an action that is against the rules of the game. Common fouls include,
- Failing to hit any other ball with the cue
- Hitting a ball that’s not ‘on’
- Potting the white ball
- Hitting a ball other than white with cue
- Touching the cue ball with something other than cue tip
- Playing a push shot
- Playing a jump shot where cue ball jumps the bed of the table
- Playing a shot with both feet touching the ground
- Potting two balls in one shot (except two red balls when red colour is ‘on’)
- In case of a foul, the non-fouling player will receive penalty points
A frame ends in any of these ways,
- Concession- a player is too far behind to have a realistic chance at winning the frame
- Final black ball is potted and the score isn’t tied.
- When black ball is on the table and the striker leads with over 7 points. They may claim to win in this case.
Other ways of ending the frame are,
- Foul on the black and when only black ball is left.
- When the ‘on’ ball isn’t hit three times in a row.
- If referee deems that the player is taking too long to take the shot.
Understanding the specifications of the game
Following sport specifications are to be kept in mind while playing the game.
- The game is only played on Baize-covered table with pockets on all four corners and middle of the long side cushions.
- The table is rectangular in shape, has a slate base and usually a full size table is 12 feet x 6 feet.
- At the end of the table is a baulk line, which measures 29 inches.
- A cue is used by each player for playing the game.
- There are 15 red balls used in the game, each of which is worth one point. However, up to 10 balls may also be used to play the game.
- Six balls in different colours are also used during the game. This includes yellow ball- 2 points, green ball- 3 points, brown ball- 4 points, blue ball- 5 points, pink ball- 6 points and a final black ball-7 points.
- One white cue ball is used to hit other balls.
- All balls are typically made using phenolic resin and they are usually smaller than regular pool balls.
- Rules regulate that the balls are approximately 52.5 mm in diameter.
- The arrangement of balls during the game is quite specific. Pack of reds are kept in a triangle with the pink ball at the top. The red and pink balls shouldn’t touch each other.
- Green ball is placed where ‘D’ section meets baulk line on left, yellow is placed on the right and brown is placed in the middle of baulk like.
- Blue ball is placed at the centre of the table.
- Black ball is placed 12.8 inches from the top cushion.
Governing Bodies for Snooker
World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
WPBSA, established in 1968 is the governing body of professional snooker for men. The organization sets the rules, organizes tournaments and tours. Based in Bristol, United Kingdom, the organization has a subsidiary called World Snooker Association, which administers ranking circuit events and handles a number of snooker championships, including World Snooker Championship, China Open, Welsh Open and Shanghai Masters.
International Billiards and Snooker Federation
IBSF, headquartered at Dubai is the governing body for non-professional snooker. The organization was originally established in 1971 as World Billiards and Snooker Council, but changed the name in 1973. The group has over sixty affiliated countries. The role of the organization is to promote and develop snooker at non-professional level.
Billiards and Snooker Federation of India
BSFI is the central governing body for cue games in the country. The federation body was conceptualized in 1926 and formed in Calcutta (now Kolkata). The federation has several affiliates through different states in the country. The federation is accredited from Indian Olympic Association and Asian Confederation.
Championships across the world
Prepare for these championships and you can win millions of pounds!
World Snooker Championship
The leading snooker championship, World Snooker Championship was established in 1927. The ranking event has total prize fund of UK £1,500,100. Joe Davis won the first 15 championships of this game.
IBSF World Snooker Championship
The premier non-professional snooker tournament was first held in 1963 and a majority of players from this tournament have created successful professional snooker careers. India is one of the most popular contenders in this championship tournament and ranks fourth in the list of champions by the country. The last title that India won was in 2015.
Indian Open is snooker tournament organized by WPBSA. The ranking event is played since 2013 with international participants competing to be championships. £300,000 is the total prize fund. The first edition saw Aditya Mehta as the runner-up.
Personalities with a knack for Snooker
These snooker players will give anyone a run for their money!
An admirable English Billiards and professional snooker player, Pankaj Advani has been a ten times billiards champion and world number 1 in 6-red snooker. Called ‘The Prince of India,’ Advani has achieved World Ranking of 56 at the height of his career and has won IBSF world championships as well. He became a snooker player only in 2012. For his achievements, Advani has been bestowed with Arjuna Award and Padma Shri as well.
A professional snooker player, Mehta was the runner up in the Indian open. With the highest ranking of 49 at the peak of his career, Mehta has enjoyed earning premier prize amounts during his career. He has also won several medals in World Games, Asian Games and Asian Indoor Games. Currently, Mehta writes a regular sports’ column for a sports portal in the country.
A professional player and coach for Billiards and Snookers, Agarwal is one of the premier players in the country. He is also the National Snooker Champion of India and runner up of the 1983 IBSF World Billiards Championship. An Arjuna Awardee, Agarwal works with Pankaj Advani to coach budding talents in Snooker and Billiards.
A game that requires 100% focus and attention, Snooker is for those who are all about precision and perfect timing! If you are looking for someone who can enhance your child’s interest in this sport, then get in touch with us at YoGems, and we will help you achieve your child’s dream!