Snooker

Last updated

Snooker
Snooker table selby.JPG
2014, 2016 and 2017 world champion Mark Selby playing a practice game
Highest governing body WPBSA
IBSF
First played1870s
Characteristics
ContactNon-contact
Type Cue sport
EquipmentSnooker table, snooker balls, cue, triangle, chalk
VenueSnooker Table
Presence
Olympic IOC recognition [1]
World Games 2001   present

Snooker ( UK: /ˈsnkər/ , US: /ˈsnʊkər/ ) [2] [3] is a cue sport which originated among British Army officers stationed in India in the later half of the 19th century. It is played on a rectangular table covered with a green cloth, or baize, with pockets at each of the four corners and in the middle of each long side. Using a cue and 21 coloured balls, players must strike the white ball (or "cue ball") to pot the remaining balls in the correct sequence, accumulating points for each pot. An individual game, or frame, is won by the player scoring the most points. A match is won when a player wins a predetermined number of frames.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States.

Cue sports skill games using cue stick to strike billiard balls

Cue sports, also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby cause them to move around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by elastic bumpers known as cushions.

Contents

Snooker gained its own identity in 1884 when army officer Sir Neville Chamberlain, [lower-alpha 1] while stationed in Ooty, devised a set of rules that combined pyramid and life pool. [4] The word snooker was a long-used military term for inexperienced or first-year personnel. The game grew in popularity in the United Kingdom, and the Billiards Association and Control Club was formed in 1919. It is now governed by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).

Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain Inventor of snooker

Sir Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain, was a British Army officer, and later Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary who resigned in the aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. He is credited with having invented the game of snooker while serving in Jubbulpore (Jabalpur), India, in 1875.

Ooty Hill station in Tamil Nadu, India

Udagamandalam, and abbreviated as Udhagai or Ooty, (listen  is a town and a municipality in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is located 86 km north of Coimbatore and 128 km south of Mysore and is the capital of the Nilgiris district. It is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills.

Pyramid pool

Pyramid pool, also called pyramids, is a form of pocket billiards (pool) mainly played in the 19th century. It was one of several pool games that were popular at this time.

The World Snooker Championship has taken place since 1927, with Joe Davis becoming a key figure in the early growth of the sport winning the championship fifteen times from 1927 to 1946. The "modern era" began in 1969 after the BBC commissioned the snooker television show Pot Black and later began to air the World Championship in 1978, leading to the sport's new peak in popularity. Ray Reardon dominated the game in the 1970s, Steve Davis in the 1980s, and Stephen Hendry in the 1990s. Since 2000, Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the most world titles, with 5.

World Snooker Championship snooker tournament

The World Snooker Championship is the leading snooker tournament both in terms of prestige and prize money. The first championship was held in 1927 and was won by Joe Davis. Davis won the first 15 championships before retiring from the event, undefeated, after his 1946 success. In the 1950s snooker went into a period of decline and the championship was not held after 1952, although an unofficial championship was held until 1957. In 1964 the championship was revived on a challenge basis and in 1969 the championship became a knock-out event again. Since 1977 it has been played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. The tournament is currently played over 17 days and ends on the first Monday in May. In the modern era, the best record is that of Stephen Hendry, who won the title seven times. Steve Davis and Ray Reardon both won six times while Ronnie O'Sullivan has won five titles. The current champion is Mark Williams, who has won the tournament three times.

1927 World Snooker Championship

The 1927 World Snooker Championship was a snooker tournament held at various venues throughout the season. This was the inaugural edition of the tournament and was organised by Joe Davis and Bill Camkin. The final took place at the Camkin's Hall in Birmingham, England with Joe Davis winning the title by defeating Tom Dennis. Originally called the Professional Snooker Championship, it did not become the World Championship until 1935.

Joe Davis English former professional snooker player, 15-time world champion (1927–1946)

Joseph Davis, was an English professional snooker and English billiards player. He was the dominant figure in snooker from the 1920s to the 1950s. He won the first 15 World Championships from 1927 to 1946.

Top professional players now compete regularly around the world and earn millions of pounds. [5] The sport has become increasingly popular in China. [6]

History

Sir Neville Chamberlain, a British Army officer who devised the game and its rules in the late 19th century. Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain.png
Sir Neville Chamberlain, a British Army officer who devised the game and its rules in the late 19th century.

The origin of snooker dates back to the latter half of the 19th century. [7] In the 1870s, billiards was a popular activity amongst British Army officers stationed in India and several variations of the game were devised during this time. One such variation originated at the officers' mess of the 11th Devonshire Regiment in 1875, [8] which combined the rules of two pocket billiards games, pyramid and life pool. The former was played with fifteen red balls and one black positioned in a triangle, while the latter involved the potting of designated coloured balls. [9] The game developed its own identity in 1884 when its first set of rules was finalised by Sir Neville Chamberlain, an English officer who helped develop and popularise the game at Stone House in Ooty on a table built by Burroughes & Watts that was brought over by boat. [10]

English billiards Cue sport

English billiards, called simply billiards in the United Kingdom, where it originated, and in many former British colonies such as Australia, is a cue sport that combines the aspects of carom billiards and pocket billiards. Two cue balls and a red object ball are used. Each player or team uses a different cue ball. It is played on a billiards table with the same dimensions as a snooker table and points are scored for cannons and pocketing the balls. English billiards has also, but less frequently, been referred to as "the English game", "the all-in game" and (formerly) "the common game".

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

The word snooker was a slang term for first-year cadets and inexperienced military personnel, but Chamberlain would often use it for the inept performance of one of his fellow officers at the table. [7] [9] [11] [ unreliable source ] In 1887, snooker was given its first definite reference in England in a copy of Sporting Life which caused a growth in popularity. [8] Chamberlain came out as the game's inventor in a letter to The Field published on 19 March 1938, 63 years after the fact. [8]

The Sporting Life was a British newspaper published from 1859 until 1998, best known for its coverage of horse racing and greyhound racing. Latterly it has continued as a multi-sports website.

The Field is the world's oldest country and field sports magazine, having been published continuously since 1853. Its current publisher is TI Media.

Snooker grew in popularity across the Indian colonies and the United Kingdom, but it remained a game mainly for the gentry, and many gentlemen's clubs that had a billiards table would not allow non-members inside to play. To accommodate the growing interest, smaller and more open snooker-specific clubs were formed. In 1919, the Billiards Association and the Billiards Control Board merged to form the Billiards Association and Control Club (BA&CC) and a new, standard set of rules for snooker first became official. [12]

The game of Snooker grew in the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, and by 1927 the first World Snooker Championship [7] had been organised by Joe Davis who, as a professional English billiards and snooker player, moved the game from a pastime activity into a more professional sphere. [13] Davis won every world championship until 1946 when he retired. The game went into a decline through the 1950s and 1960s with little interest generated outside of those who played. In 1959, Davis introduced a variation of the game known as "Snooker Plus" to try to improve the game's popularity by adding two extra colours, but it never caught on. [14]

A major advance occurred in 1969, when David Attenborough commissioned the snooker television series Pot Black to demonstrate the potential of colour television with the green table and multi-coloured balls being ideal for showing off the advantages of colour broadcasting. [15] [16] The series became a ratings success and was for a time the second-most popular show on BBC Two. [17] Interest in the game increased and the 1978 World Snooker Championship was the first to be fully televised. [18] [19] The game quickly became a mainstream game [20] in the UK, Ireland and much of the Commonwealth and has enjoyed much success since the late 1970s, with most of the ranking tournaments being televised. In 1985 a total of 18.5 million viewers watched the concluding frame of the world championship final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis, later known as the "black ball final". [21] The loss of tobacco sponsorship during the 2000s led to a decrease in the number of professional tournaments, although some new sponsors were sourced; [22] and the popularity of the game in Asia with emerging talents such as Liang Wenbo and more established players such as Ding Junhui and Marco Fu, boosted the sport in the Far East. [6] [23] By 2007, the BBC dedicated 400 hours to snooker coverage compared to just 14 minutes forty years earlier. [24]

In 2010, promoter Barry Hearn gained a controlling interest in World Snooker Ltd., the professional sport's commercial arm, pledging to revitalise the "moribund" professional game. Under his direction, the number of professional tournaments has increased, certain tournament formats have been changed in an attempt to increase their appeal, and, by 2013, total prize money had more than doubled from £3 million to more than £7 million for the tour. [25] [26]

Rules

Snooker table with balls placed in their starting positions. At the start of the game, the cue ball (white) may be placed anywhere in the semicircle, known as the "D". Snooker table drawing 2.svg
Snooker table with balls placed in their starting positions. At the start of the game, the cue ball (white) may be placed anywhere in the semicircle, known as the "D".
Game in progress on a half-size table. A red ball about to be potted. To pot the red.jpg
Game in progress on a half-size table. A red ball about to be potted.

The objective of the game is to score more points than one's opponent by potting object balls in the correct order. At the start of a frame, the balls are positioned as shown, and the players then take turns to hit shots by striking the cue ball with the tip of the cue, their aim being to pot one of the red balls into a pocket and thereby score a point, or, if this is not possible, to at least hit a red ball so as to avoid making a foul shot. If the striker pots a red ball, he or she must then pot one of the six "colours" (in snooker, the term colour is understood to exclude the red balls). If the player successfully pots a colour, the value of that ball is added to the player's score, and the ball is returned to its starting position on the table. After that, the player must pot another red ball, then another colour, and so on. This process continues until the striker fails to pot the desired ball, at which point the opponent comes to the table to play the next shot. [27]

The game continues in this manner until all the reds are potted and only the six colours are left on the table. At this point the colours must be potted in the order from least to most valuable ball – that is, yellow first (two points), then green (three points), brown (four points), blue (five points), pink (six points) and finally black (seven points), the balls not being returned to play. When the final ball is potted, the player with more points wins. [27] If the scores are equal when all the balls have been potted, the black is placed back on its spot as a tiebreaker. This situation is called "re-spotted black" in which the black ball is placed on its designated spot and the cue ball is played as ball in hand . The referee then tosses a coin and the winner decides which player goes first. The frame continues until one of the players pots the black ball, or commits a foul. [27] A player may also concede a frame while on strike if he or she thinks there are not enough points available on the table to beat the opponent's score. In professional snooker this is a common occurrence. [27] [28]

ColourValue
Red1 point
Yellow2 points
Green3 points
Brown4 points
Blue5 points
Pink6 points
Black7 points

Points may also be scored in a game when a player's opponent fouls . A foul can occur for various reasons, most commonly for failing to hit the correct ball (e.g. hitting a colour first when the player was attempting to hit a red), or for sending the cue ball into a pocket. The former may occur when the player fails to escape from " a snooker " – a situation in which the previous player leaves the cue ball positioned such that no legal ball can be struck directly without obstruction by an illegal ball. Points gained from a foul vary from a minimum of four, to a maximum of seven if the black ball is involved. [27]

The total number of consecutive points (excluding fouls) that a player amasses during one visit to the table is known as a " break ". A player attaining a break of 15, for example, could have reached it by potting a red then a black, then a red then a pink, before failing to pot the next red. The traditional maximum break in snooker is achieved by potting all reds with blacks then all colours, yielding 147 points; this is often known as a "147" or a "maximum". [29] The highest possible break is a 155 break, achieved via the opponent leaving a free ball , with the black being potted as the additional colour, and then potting 15 reds and blacks with the colours. Jamie Cope has the distinction of being the first player in snooker history to post a verified 155 break, achieved in a practice frame in 2005, with other players such as Alex Higgins also claiming to have made a similar break. [30] [31]

One game , from the balls in their starting position until the last ball is potted, is called a " frame ". A match generally consists of a predetermined number of frames and the player who wins the most frames wins the match. Most professional matches require a player to win five frames, and are called "best of nine" as that is the maximum possible number of frames. Tournament finals are usually best of 17 or best of 19, while the world championship uses longer matches – ranging from best of 19 in the qualifiers and the first round up to 35 frames in length for the final (first to 18), and is played over two days, extended if necessary until a winner is determined. [32]

Professional and competitive amateur matches are officiated by a referee who is the sole judge of fair play. The referee also replaces the colours on the table when necessary and calls out how many points the player has scored during a break.

Professional players usually play the game in a sporting manner, declaring fouls the referee has missed, acknowledging good shots from their opponent, or holding up a hand to apologise for fortunate shots, also known as "flukes". [33]

An extended spider, which can be used to bridge over balls obstructing a shot that is too far away to be bridged by hand Snooker rest crop.JPG
An extended spider , which can be used to bridge over balls obstructing a shot that is too far away to be bridged by hand
Computer simulation of a snooker break-off shot

Accessories used for snooker include chalk for the tip of the cue, rests of various sorts (needed often, due to the length of a full-size table), a triangle to rack the reds, and a scoreboard. One drawback of snooker on a full-size (12 ft × 6 ft [366 cm × 183 cm]) table is the size of the room (22 by 16 feet [6.7 m × 4.9 m]), which is the minimum required for comfortable cueing room on all sides. [34] This limits the number of locations in which the game can easily be played. While pool tables are common to many pubs, snooker tends to be played either in private surroundings or in public snooker halls. The game can also be played on smaller tables using fewer red balls. The variants in table size are: 10 ft × 5 ft (305 cm × 152 cm), 9 ft × 4.5 ft (274 cm × 137 cm), 8 ft × 4 ft (244 cm × 122 cm), 6 ft × 3 ft (183 cm × 91 cm) (the smallest for realistic play) and 4 ft × 2 ft (122 cm × 61 cm). Smaller tables can come in a variety of styles, such as fold-away or dining-table convertible. [35]

A traditional snooker scoreboard resembles an abacus, and records the score for each frame in units and twenties and the frame scores. They are typically attached to a wall by the snooker table. A simple scoring bead is also sometimes used, called a "scoring string", or "scoring wire". Each bead (segment of the string) represents a single point. Snooker players typically move one or several beads with their cue. [36]

Governance and tournaments

Organisation

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA, also known as World Snooker), founded in 1968 as the Professional Billiard Players' Association, [37] is the governing body for the professional competition. [38] [39] [40] The amateur game (including youth competition) is governed by the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF). [41]

Tournaments

Professional snooker players can play on the World Snooker main tour ranking circuit. Ranking points, earned by players through their performances over the previous two seasons, determine the current world rankings. [42] A player's ranking determines what level of qualification he or she requires for ranking tournaments. The elite of professional snooker are generally regarded as the "top 16" ranking players, [43] who are not required to pre-qualify for three of the tournaments, namely the Shanghai Masters, the former Australian Open and the World Snooker Championship. [44] The tour contains 96 players – the top 64 from the previous two seasons, the 8 highest-ranked professional players on the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit who are not in the top 64, 12 players from the Q School, and various regional, junior and amateur champions. [45]

World Snooker Championship trophy World Snooker Championship Trophy edited.jpg
World Snooker Championship trophy

The most important event in professional snooker is the world championship, [46] held annually since 1927 (except during World War II and between 1958 and 1963). The tournament has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, since 1977, and was sponsored by Embassy from 1976 to 2005. [22] Since 2005, tobacco companies have not been allowed to sponsor sporting events in the United Kingdom, and the world championship has had to find a new sponsor. It was announced in January 2006 that the 2006–2010 world championships would be sponsored by online casino 888 Holdings. The championship is currently sponsored by Betfred after 888 Holdings pulled out of their five-year sponsorship deal after three years. [47] On 15 April 2009 the World Snooker Championship website announced that Betfred would be the new sponsor of the world championship for the next four years. [48] [49]

The world championship is the most highly valued prize in professional snooker, [50] both in terms of financial reward (£300,000 for the winner, formerly £250,000) [51] as well as ranking points and prestige. The world championship is televised extensively in the UK by the BBC [52] and gains significant coverage in Europe on Eurosport [53] and in the Far East.

The group of tournaments that come next in importance are the other ranking tournaments. Players in these tournaments score world ranking points. A high ranking ensures qualification for the next year's tournaments, opportunities to play in invitational tournaments and an advantageous draw in tournaments. [43] The most prestigious of these, after the world championship, is the UK Championship. Third in line are the invitational tournaments, to which most of the highest ranked players are invited. The most important tournament in this category is the Masters, [54] which to most players is the second or third most sought-after prize. [55]

In an attempt to answer criticisms that televised matches can be slow or get bogged down in lengthy safety exchanges and that long matches cause problems for advertisers, [56] an alternative series of timed tournaments has been organised by Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn. The shot-timed Premier League Snooker was established, with seven players invited to compete at regular United Kingdom venues, televised on Sky Sports. Players had twenty-five seconds to take each shot, with five time-outs per player per match. While some success was achieved with this format, it generally did not receive the same amount of press attention or status as the regular ranking tournaments. However, this event has been taken out of the tour since 2013, when the Champion of Champions was established.

There are also other tournaments that have less importance, earn no world ranking points and are not televised. These can change on a year-to-year basis depending on calendars and sponsors.

In 2015, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association submitted an unsuccessful bid for snooker to be played at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. [57] [58] Another bid has been put forward for Paris 2024 through the newly formed World Snooker Federation . [59] [60]

Criticism

Several players, such as Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Allen and Steve Davis, have warned that there are so many tournaments that players risk burning out. In 2012, O'Sullivan played fewer tournaments in order to spend more time with his children, and ended the 2012–13 season ranked No. 19 in the world. Furthermore, he did not play any tournament in 2013 except the world championship, which he won. [61]

Equipment

Cue-tip chalk, cue, white chalk-board chalk, and a sliding score-keeper London - Royal Automobile Club - 3024.jpg
Cue-tip chalk, cue, white chalk-board chalk, and a sliding score-keeper
Table
The playing surface, 356.9cm (11 feet 8.5 inches) by 177.8 (5 feet 10 inches) for a standard full-size table, with six pocket holes, one at each corner and one at the centre of each of the longer side cushions. For further information see Billiard table , specifically the section Snooker and English billiards tables.
Cloth
The fully wool cloth is usually green, with a directional nap running from the baulk end of the table towards the end with the black ball spot. The cloth is often called "baize"; however baize is a much inferior type of cloth sometimes used on pool tables. The nap will affect the direction of the cue ball depending on which direction the cue ball is shot and also on whether left or right side (spin) is placed on the ball. Even if the cue ball is hit in exactly the same way, the nap will cause a different effect depending on whether the ball is hit down table (towards the black ball spot) or up table towards the baulk line. The cloth on a snooker table is not vacuumed, as this can destroy the nap. The cloth is brushed in a straight line from the baulk end to the far end with multiple brush strokes that are straight in direction (i.e. not across the table). Some table men will also then drag a dampened cloth wrapped around a short piece of board (like a two by four), or straight back of a brush to collect any remaining fine dust and help lay the nap down. The table is then ironed. Strachan cloth as used in official snooker tournaments is made up of 100% wool. Some other cloths include a small percentage of nylon. [62] [63]
Balls
22 balls (15 red, 6 colour balls and a white cue ball), 52.5 mm or 2116 inches in diameter. For further information see Billiard ball , particularly the section Snooker.
Cue
A stick, made of wood or fibreglass, tapering to a tip, usually ending in leather, which is used to strike the cue-ball.
Cue-tip chalk
The tip of the cue is "chalked" to ensure good contact between the cue and the cue-ball. This "chalk" is generally a silica-based compound rather than actual chalk of the type used on blackboards.
Extension
A shorter baton that fits over, or screws into, the back end of the cue, effectively lengthening it, used for shots where the cue ball is a long distance from the player.
Rest
A stick with an X-shaped head that is used to support the cue when the cue ball is out of reach at normal extension.
Rest head adaptor
An attachment that slips onto a conventional rest head to make a spider or to give a slightly different bridge.
Hook rest
Identical to the normal rest, yet with a hooked metal end. It is used to set the rest around another ball. The hook rest is the most recent invention in snooker.
Spider
Similar to the rest but with an arch-shaped head; it is used to elevate and support the tip of the cue above the height of the cue-ball.
Swan (or swan-neck spider or giraffe)
This equipment, consisting of a rest with a single extended neck and a fork-like prong at the end, is used to give extra cueing distance over a group of balls. If not available, a regular X rest can be placed on a spider so it in turn hangs the required distance beyond to provide similar support.
Triangle/rack
The piece of equipment is used for gathering the red balls into the formation required for the break to start a frame.
Extended rest
Similar to the regular rest, but with a mechanism at the butt end which makes it possible to extend the rest by up to three feet.
Extended spider
A hybrid of the swan and the spider. Its purpose is to bridge over large packs of reds. Is less common these days in professional snooker but can be used in situations where the position of one or more balls prevents the spider being placed where the striker desires.
Half butt
Usually housed underneath the side of the table, the half butt is a combination of a table length rest and cue which is rarely used unless the cue ball needs to be struck in such a way that the entire length of the table is the actual obstacle.
Ball marker
A multi-purpose instrument with a "D" shaped notch, which a referee can place next to a ball, in order to mark the position of it. They can then remove the ball to clean it; also used to judge if a ball is preventing a colour from being placed on its spot and to judge if the cue ball can hit the extreme edge of a "ball on" when awarding a free ball (by placing it alongside the potentially intervening ball).

Notable players

Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the most world titles in the 21st century (in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013). Stephen Maguire, Ronnie O'Sullivan, and Michaela Tabb at German Masters Snooker Final (DerHexer) 2012-02-05 05 cropped.jpg
Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the most world titles in the 21st century (in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013).

In the professional era that began with Joe Davis in the 1930s and continues until the present day, a relatively small number of players have succeeded at the top level. [64] [65]

Through the decades, certain players have tended to dominate the game, but none more than its original star player, Joe Davis. Davis was world champion for twenty years, retiring unbeaten after claiming his fifteenth world title in 1946 when the tournament was reinstated after the Second World War. Davis was unbeaten in world championship play, and was only ever beaten four times in his entire life, with all four defeats coming after his world championship retirement and inflicted by his own brother Fred. He did lose matches in handicapped tournaments, but on level terms these four defeats were the only losses of his entire career. [66] He was also world billiards champion. It is regarded as highly unlikely that anyone will ever dominate the game to his level again. [67] After Davis retired from world championship play, the next dominant force was his younger brother Fred Davis who had lost the 1940 final by a single frame. By 1947 he was deemed ready by his brother to take over the mantle but lost the world final to the Scotsman Walter Donaldson. After this setback, Davis and Donaldson contested the next four finals, Davis proving the stronger player. After the abandonment of the world championship in 1953, with the 1952 final boycotted by British professionals, the Professional Match Play Championship became the unofficial world championship in all but name. [68] Fred Davis won the event every year until its penultimate one, when in 1957 he did not enter. After winning three official and five unofficial world titles, his absence from the 1957 tournament was to prove vital, as its winner, John Pulman, was automatically awarded the official world title on resumption of the tournament in 1964. Davis would try, but never regain the world title again.

John Pulman was the king of the 1960s, when the world championship was played on a challenge basis. However, when the tournament reverted to a knockout formula in 1969, he did not prosper. Ray Reardon became the dominant force in the 1970s, winning six titles, with John Spencer winning three. Steve Davis' first world title in 1981 made him only the 11th world champion since 1927, including the winner of the boycotted 1952 title, Horace Lindrum. Stephen Hendry became the 14th in 1990 and dominated through the 1990s. Reardon won six (1970, 1973–1976 and 1978), Davis also six (1981, 1983, 1984 and 1987–1989) and Hendry seven (1990, 1992–1996 and 1999). Ronnie O'Sullivan is the closest to dominance in the modern era, having won the title on five occasions in the 21st century (2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013). Mark Williams has won three times (2000, 2003, and 2018) and John Higgins four times (1998, 2007, 2009, 2011) but since the beginning of the century, there has not been a dominant force like in previous decades, and the modern era has seen many players playing to a similar standard, instead of one player raising the bar. Davis, for example, won more ranking tournaments than the rest of the top 64 players put together by 1985. By retaining his title in 2013, O'Sullivan became the first player to successfully defend the world championship since 1996 when Hendry won the sixth of his seven titles, his fifth in a row, and then later by Mark Selby in 2017. [69]

Variants

See also

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Joe Swail is a professional snooker player from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has reached ten major ranking semi-finals, including the 2000 and 2001 World Championships but only one final. Swail is renowned for playing well at the Crucible Theatre, having reached the last 16 on four further occasions. He is also a former English amateur champion and Northern Ireland amateur runner-up, and has captained Northern Ireland internationally. He was Irish champion in 1992 and 2005.

Russian pyramid

Russian pyramid, also known as Russian billiard is a form of pocket billiards played on a table similar to a snooker table. It is popular across Eastern Europe as well as countries of the former Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc. A variant with colored balls modeled on those of pool is known as Russian pool. In Western countries, the game is known as pyramid billiards, or simply pyramid within professional circle.

Pool (cue sports) family of cue sports

Pool is a classification of cue sports played on a table with six pockets along the rails, into which balls are deposited. Each specific pool game has its own name; some of the better-known include eight-ball, eightball pool and its variant blackball, nine-ball, ten-ball, seven-ball, straight pool, one-pocket, and bank pool.

The following is a glossary of traditional English-language terms used in the three overarching cue sports disciplines: carom billiards referring to the various carom games played on a billiard table without pockets; pool, which denotes a host of games played on a table with six pockets; and snooker, played on a large pocket table, and which has a sport culture unto itself distinct from pool. There are also hybrid pocket/carom games such as English billiards.

Century break Wikimedia list article

In snooker, a century break is a score of 100 points or more within one visit at the table without missing a shot and requires potting at least 25 consecutive balls. The ability to score century breaks is regarded as a mark of the highest skill in snooker, while the first career century has been described by Ronnie O'Sullivan as the "ultimate milestone for any snooker player".

Five-pin billiards

Five-pin billiards or simply five-pins or 5-pins, is today usually a carom billiards form of cue sport, though sometimes still played on a pocket table. In addition to the customary three balls of most carom games, it makes use of a set of five upright pins (skittles) arranged in a "+" pattern at the center of the table. The game is popular especially in Italy and Argentina, but also in some other parts of Latin America and Europe, with international, televised professional tournaments. It is sometimes referred to as Italian five-pins or Italian billiards, or as italiana. A variant of the game, goriziana or nine-pins, adds additional skittles to the formation. A related pocket game, with larger pins, is played in Scandinavia and is referred to in English as Danish pin billiards, with a Swedish variant that has some rules more similar to the Italian game.

The game of snooker is a cue sport which emerged in its modern form in the late 19th century, with roots going back to the 16th century form of English billiards. Billiards was popular among the British Armed Forces stationed in India. As billiards was only a two player game, new games such as life pool and pyramid pool were developed in order to accommodate more players. Eventually, these two games were combined to form snooker.

Blackball (pool)

Blackball, also known as reds and yellows and English eight-ball, is a pool game originating in the United Kingdom and popular across Europe, as well as in some former British colonies such as Australia. In the UK and Ireland it is usually called simply "pool". The game is played with sixteen balls on a small pool table with six pockets.

The 2005 UK Championship was the 2005 edition of the UK Championship, a professional snooker tournament that is one of the sport's three Triple Crown events. It was held at the Barbican Centre in York, North Yorkshire from 5 to 18 December 2005. The competition was the second of six World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) ranking events in the 2005/2006 season and the tournament's 29th edition. It was broadcast in the United Kingdom and Europe on the BBC and Eurosport.

The 2004 Masters was the 2004 edition of the professional non-ranking Masters snooker tournament, one of three "Triple Crown" events on the Snooker Tour, which was held from 1 to 8 February 2004 at the Wembley Conference Centre in the British capital of London. It was the 30th staging of the tournament and it was the eighth of fifteen World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) events in the 2003/2004 season. The tournament was broadcast in the United Kingdom by the BBC.

The WPBSA World Billiards Championships are a pair of international, professional cue sports tournaments in the discipline of English billiards. The formerly singular championship has been divided, since 2010, into separate timed and points divisions, like the amateur world championships. In its various forms, and usually as a single World Billiards Championship, the title is one of the oldest sporting world championships, dating in earnest to 1869.

2009 UK Championship snooker tournament

The 2009 Pukka Pies UK Championship was a professional ranking snooker tournament that took place between 5–13 December 2009 at the Telford International Centre in Telford, England.

The 2002 LG Cup was the 2002 edition of the professional Grand Prix snooker tournament and was held from 5 to 13 October 2002 at the Guild Hall in Preston, Lancashire, England. It was the second year the event was known as the LG Cup and the 21st overall staging of the competition. The tournament was the first of eight World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) ranking events in the 2002/2003 season and it was televised in the United Kingdom on the BBC.

The Snooker Shoot-Out is a professional ranking snooker tournament played under a variation of the standard rules. The 2017 event was the first time the tournament was staged as a ranking event. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh is the current champion.

Kaisa (cue sport)

Kaisa or karoliina is a cue sport mainly played in Finland. The game originated in Russia, where it is still played to some extent. Kaisa equipment is similar to Russian pyramid from the 68 mm balls, small pockets barely large enough for a ball to enter, and the long and heavy cue sticks. Kaisa tables are usually 10 feet long and thus 2 feet shorter than official tournament Russian pyramid tables which are 12 feet long. It is a two-player or -team game. As with many carom billiards games, both players have their own cue balls used to shoot at the other balls, and usually differentiated by one cue ball having a dot or other marking on it. In all, five balls are used: the yellow object ball, two red object balls, and the two white cue balls. The game is played to 60 points, in a rather elaborate scoring system, reminiscent of those used in snooker and English billiards, with points being awarded for various types of shots. Like both Russian and English billiards, which are also played on large pocket billiards tables, kaisa is a hybrid of carom and pocket billiards game styles. Kaisa is principally a recreational game, without professional players. However, the first kaisa world championship tournament was held in April 2010. Participants came from 33 countries, and the main tournament was held in Kotka. A Finnish player, Marko Rautiainen, won the championship title. Amateur competition in Finland is widespread and popular, with matches being shown on a dedicated Web show on blip.tv.

Shaun Murphy English professional snooker player, 2005 world champion, 2008 UK champion, 2015 Masters champion

Shaun Peter Murphy is an English professional snooker player, who won the 2005 World Championship. Nicknamed "The Magician", Murphy is noted for his straight cue action and his long potting.

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