Newton’s principle of action and reaction certainly applies in billiard sports. But before it does, the players need to calculate an intricate network of possibilities in the silent analysis of the cool green baize. Pool and snooker are played on a table with six pockets into which the balls are potted – some in a certain order – to score points. In three-cushion or carom, which is played on a table without pockets, the cue ball has to make contact with two others plus at least three cushions before scoring through hitting the third ball. Billiard balls vary from one game to another in size and number. The cues are made of a hardwood, generally maple or ash – the latter particularly for snooker. Chalk is applied to the tip of the cue – for nearly every shot – to increase the friction coefficient. As a consequence, slippage between the cue tip and the struck ball is avoided.
Billard Sports features in The World Games 2013; check the event calendar for details about when it is scheduled.
DID YOU KNOW THAT...?
How it all began ...
The game of billiards has a rich history, evolving from a lawn game quite similar to what is known as croquet today, and dating as far back as the 1300s. Over the centuries it developed from a popular pastime into three highly competitive disciplines.
Play began outdoors ... with a single ball and a crooked still! Only much later was it moved indoors, to a wooden table covered in green cloth simulating the grass. Initially, the balls were shoved rather than struck with the mace, the blunt instrument that could have been at the origin of the game's contemporary name: the French "billart" is a mace. But etymologists are in dispute: "les billes", balls in French, could have influenced the name too.
In any case, the proper cue was developed in the late 1600s. And the equipment became increasingly sophisticated in the 1800s due to the industrial revolution. By 1850 billiards had essentially evolved into the current forms.
Carom, pool and snooker ...
Carom, pool and snooker have three pieces of basic equipment in common. Each is played on a table, with or without pockets, which is covered in cloth. Each discipline uses a cue which varies in length and a determined number of different colored balls. The skill lies in moving the balls around the table, and points are scored by either potting the balls or deflecting them off as many edges as possible.
Even though carom, pool and snooker are derived from the same game, they have developed distinct identities, each creating its own rules and world governing body. Today, all billiard sports collaborate harmoniously for the future of the game and its continued expansion through the World Confederation of Billiard Sports.
Billiard sports at The World Games ...
Only on very rare occasions feature all three disciplines together in a top-level tournament. It does happen at least once every four years: during The World Games. In participation too, it is always a premier line-up for billiard sports! The professional stars come out for the carom, pool and snooker events. And emerging stars go up against the most established champions. Even if there is no cash purse at stake for the winners, the World Games titles are among the most coveted for billiard sports.