Three-time warld champion Mark Selby playing a practice game
|Heichest govrenin body||WPBSA|
|First played||1870 i Indie|
|Equipment||Snooker table, snooker balls, cue stick, triangle, chalk|
Snooker (pronountit UK //, US //) i a cue sport tha originatit amang British Armie officer stationed i Indie i the second hauf o the 19t century. It is played on a rectangular table covered wi a green cloth (or "baize"), wi pockets at each o the fower corners an i the middle o each lang side. Uisin a cue stick an 21 coloured bawls, players must strike the white bawl (or "cue bawl") tae pot or pocket tha remainin bawls i the correct sequence, accumulatin pynts fur each pot. An individual gemme (or frame), is won bi the player scoring the maist pynts. A match i won when a player wins a predetermined batch o frames.
Snooker gained identity in 1884 when armie officer Sir Neville Chamberlain, stationed in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, devised a set o rules that combined pyramid and black puil. The wird snooker wis a lang-uised military term fur inexperienced or first-year personnel. The gemme grew i popularity i the United Kingdom, an the Billiards Association an Control Club wis formed i 1919. It i noo governed bi the Warld Professional Billiards an Snooker Association (WPBSA).
The Warld Snooker Championship haes taken place syne 1927. Joe Davis, a key figure i the early growthe o the sport, won the championship 15 straucht times atween 1927 and 1946. The "modern era" began in 1969 efter the broadcaster BBC commissioned the snooker televeesion show Pot Black an later began tae air the Warld Championship in 1978. Key figures i the gemme war Ray Reardon i the 1970s, Steve Davis i the 1980s, an Stephen Hendry i the 1990s, each winnin sax or mair Warld championships. Syne 2000, Ronnie O'Sullivan haes won the maist Warld titles, wi five. Top professional players noo compete regularly aroond the warld and earn millions o pounds on the Warld Snooker Tour, which features players frae across the warld.
History[eedit | eedit soorce]
The origin o snooker dates back tae the latter hauf o the 19t century. In the 1870s, English billiards wis a popular activity amang British Army officers stationed i Indie, an several variations o the gemme war devised during this time. Ane variation that originatit a the officers' mess o the 11t Devonshire Regiment in 1875 combined the rules o two pocket billiards games: pyramid an black puil. The umwhile wis played wi 15 reid coloured bawls poseetioned i a triangle, while the latter involved the potting o designatit bawls. The gemme wis developit i 1884 when its first set o rules wis finalised bi Sir Neville Chamberlain,[lower-alpha 1] an English army officer who helped develop and popularise the gemme at Stone House in Ooty on a table biggit bi Burroughes & Watts that wis brought ower bi boat.
The wird snooker wis a slang term fur first-year cadets and inexperienced military personnel, but Chamberlain wad eften uise it fur the performance o ane o his fellae officers a the table. In 1887, snooker wis gien its first definit reference i England i a copy o Sporting Life which caused a growthe in popularity. Chamberlain came out as the gemme's inventor in a letter tae The Field published on 19 Mairch 1938, 63 years efter the fact.
Snooker grew i popularity across the Indian colonies an the United Kingdom, but it remained a gemme mainly fur the gentry, an mony gentlemen's clubs that haed a billiards table wad nae allou non-members inside tae play. Tae accommodate the growin interest, smawer an mair open snooker-specific clubs war formed. In 1919, the Billiards Association an the Billiards Control Buird merged tae form the Billiards Association an Control Club (BA&CC) an a new, staundart set o rules fur snooker first became offeecial.
In 1927 the first Warld Snooker Championship wis organised bi Joe Davis.[lower-alpha 2] Davis, a professional English billiards an snooker player, moved the gemme frae a pastime tae a professional activity. Davis won every warld championship until 1946, when he retired frae the championships. The gemme went intae a decline throu the 1950s and 1960s wi little interest generatit ootside o thae who played. In 1959, Davis introduced a variation o the gemme kent as "Snooker Plus" tae try tae improve the gemme's popularity bi addin two extra colours, but this failed tae gain interest. In 1969, David Attenborough commissioned the snooker televeesion series Pot Black tae demonstrate the potential o colour televeesion, wi the green table and multi-coloured bawls bein ideal fur showin off the advantages o colour broadcastin. The series became a ratings success and wis fur a time the second-maist popular show on BBC Two. Interest i the gemme increased an the 1978 Warld Snooker Championship wis the first tae be fully televised. The gemme quickly became a mainstream gemme i the United Kingdom, Ireland an much o the Commonwealth, an haes enjoyed much success syne the late 1970s, wi maist o the rankin toornaments bein televised. Bi the 1985 Warld Snooker Championship a tot o 18.5 million viewer watched the 1985 Warld Snooker Championship atween Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis, a record viewership fur the United Kingdom fur ony broadcast efter midnight. In the early 2000s, a ban on tobacco advertisin led tae a decrease i the nummer o professional tournamen, wi professional toornaments bein cut tae anly 15 events i 2003, frae 22 i 1999. Houiver, the popularity o the gemme in Asia, wi emerging talents sic as Liang Wenbo and mair established players sic as Ding Junhui an Marco Fu, boosted the sport i the Far East. Bi 2007, the BBC dedicated 400 oors tae snooker coverage, compared tae juist 14 minutes 40 years earlier.
In 2010, promoter Barry Hearn gained a controllin interest in Warld Snooker Ltd. an the Warld Snooker Tour, pledging tae revitalise the "moribund" professional gemme. Syne this time, the nummer o professional toornaments haes increased, wi 44 events i the 2019/20 season. Events hae an aw been made tae be mair suitable fur televeesion broadcasts, sic a the Snooker Shoot-Out, a timed, ane-frame toornament. Prize money fur professional events haes an aw increased, wi tap players makin several million pounds during thair careers. The winner o the 2020 Warld Snooker Championship will receive £500,000 out o a tot fund o £2,395,000.
Rules[eedit | eedit soorce]
Objective[eedit | eedit soorce]
The objective o the gemme i tae score mair pynts than ane's opponent bi pottin bawls in the correct order. At the stairt o a frame, the bawls are poseetioned as shawn i Figure A, an the players then tak turns hittin shots bi strikin the "cue bawl" wi the cue stick, thair aim bein tae pot ane o the reid bawls (or "red") intae a pocket and tharebi score a pynt. Failure tae mak contact wi the reid constitutes a fowl shot. If the striker pots a reid, he or she must then pot ane o the sax "colours". If the player successfully pots a colour, the value o that ball i added tae the player's score, an the ball i returned tae its stairtin poseetion on the table. Efter that, the player must pot anither reid, then anither colour, in sequence. This process continues until the striker fails tae pot the desired ball, at which pynt the opponen comes tae the table tae play the next shot. The act o scorin sequentially in this manner i tae mak a brak (see scoring ablo).
The gemme continues in this manner until all reds are potted and anly the sax colours are left on the table. At this pynt the colours must be potted in the order frae least tae maist valuable bawl, as per the table tae the right. The shots are: yellow (two pynts), green (three pynts), brown (fower pynts), blue (five pynts), pink (sax pynts) and black (seiven pynts), the balls nae bein returned tae play. When the final ball i potted, the player wi mair pynts wins. If the scores are equal when all the balls hae been potted, the black i placed back on its spot as a tiebraker. In this situation, cried re-spotted black, the black ball i placed on its designated spot an the cue ball is played as ball in haund. The referee then tosses a coin an the winner decides which player goes first. The frame continues until ane o the players pots the black ball or commits a foul. A player mey an aw concede a frame while on strike if he or she thinks thare are nae eneuch pynts available on the table tae beat the opponen's score. In professional snooker this i a common occurrence. Professional and competitive amateur matches are officiated bi a referee. The referee an aw replaces the colours on the table when necessar and calls out how mony pynts the player haes scored during a brak. Professional players uisually play the gemme in a sporting manner, declaring fouls which thay hae committed but the referee haes missed, acknowledging good shots frae thair opponent, an holding up a haund tae apologise fur fortunate shots, kent as "flukes".
Scoring[eedit | eedit soorce]
Pynts in snooker are gained frae potting the correct balls in sequence. The tot nummer o consecutive pynts (excluding fouls) that a player amasses during ane veesit tae the table is kent as a brak. A player attaining a brak o 15, fur ensaumple, coud hae reached it bi potting a reid then a black, then a reid then a pink, afore failing tae pot the next reid. A maximum brak in snooker is achieved bi potting all reds wi blacks then all colours, yielding 147 pynts; this i eften kent as a "147" or juist as a "maximum".
Pynts mey an aw be scored in a gemme when a player's opponent fouls. A foul can occur fur various reasons, maist commonly fur failing tae hit the correct ball (e.g. hitting a colour first when the player wis attemptin tae hit a reid), or fur sending the cue bawl intae a pocket. The umwhile mey occur when the player fails tae escape frae a "snooker" – a situation in which the previous player leaves the cue ball poseetioned sic that no legal bawl can be struck directly wiout obstruction bi an illegal bawl. Pynts gained frae a foul vary frae a minimum o fower tae a maximum o seiven if the black bawl i involved.
A foul shot that leaves no valid shot fur the opponent can leave them a "free bawl". A free bawl allows a player tae uise ony ither coloured ball in place o the shot thay war supposed tae play. Daein sae wi all 15 reid bawls in play can result in a brak exceeding a maximum, wi the heichest possible bein a 155 brak, achieved via the opponen leavin a free bawl, wi the black bein potted as the additional colour, an then potting 15 reds and blacks wi the colours. Jamie Cope haes the distinction o bein the first player in snooker history tae post a verified 155 brak, achieved in a practice frame in 2005, wi ither players sic as Alex Higgins an aw claiming tae hae made a seemilar brak.
Ane gemme, frae the balls in thair stairtin poseetion until the last bawl i potted, is cried a "frame". A match generally consists o a predetermined nummer o frames an the player who wins the maist frames wins the match. Most professional matches require a player tae win five frames, an are cried "best-of-nine" in reference tae the maximum possible nummer o frames. toornament finals are uisually best-o-17 or best-o-19, while the warld championship uses langer matches – rangin frae best-o-19 in the qualifiers an the first roond up tae best-o-35 fur the final (first tae 18), and is played ower fower sessions o play held ower two days.
Governance and tournaments[eedit | eedit soorce]
The Warld Professional Billiards an Snooker Association (WPBSA, an aw kent as Warld Snooker), fountit in 1968 as the Professional Billiard Players' Association, i the governing body fur the professional competeetion. The amateur gemme (includin youth competeetion) is governed bi the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF). Events held specifically fur women and events fur seniors are handled bi Warld Snooker unner World Women's Snooker an the World Seniors Tour, respectively.
Tournaments[eedit | eedit soorce]
Professional[eedit | eedit soorce]
Professional snooker players play on the Warld Snooker Tour. Events on the Tour are anly open tae players on the Tour and selected amateur players, but maist events require qualification. Players can qualify fur the Tour aither bi bein heich eneuch on the Warld rankins frae prior seasons, winnin continental championships, or throu the Challenge Tour or Q School events. Players on the Tour generally gain two-year participation fur the events.
The Tour an aw haes an offeecial Warld rankins scheme, wi anly players on the Tour receiving a rankin. Ranking points, earned bi players throu thair performances ower the previous two seasons, determine the current Warld rankins. A player's rankin determines what level o qualification he or she requires fur specific toornaments. The elite o professional snooker are generally regartit as the "top-16" rankin players. Thay are nae required tae pre-qualify fur some o the toornaments, sic as the Shanghai Masters, the Masters an the Warld Snooker Championship. Certaint ither events, sic as thae in the Coral Cup series, uise the ane-year rankin leet tae qualify; thir uise the results o the current season tae denote participants. Currently, the Tour contains 125 players, wi players aither in the tap-64 on the offeecial rankin leet, or finishing as ane o the tap aicht prize money earners during the maist recent season, guaranteed a tour place fur the next season, this bein assessed efter the Warld Championship.
The auldest professional snooker toornament is the Warld Championship, held annually syne 1927 (except during World War II and atween 1958 and 1963). The toornament haes been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, syne 1977, an wis sponsored bi Embassy frae 1976 tae 2005. Syne the ban on advertisin tobacco products, the championships hae been sponsored bi betting companies.
The Warld Championship i the maist heichly valued prize in professional snooker i terms o financial reward (£500,000 fur the winner, formerly £300,000), rankin pynts an prestige. It is televised extensively in the UK bi the BBC an gains significant coverage in Europe on Eurosport an in East Asia on CCTV-5. The Warld Championships is pairt o the Triple Crown alang wi the UK Championship an the non-rankin Masters. Thir events are valued bi some players as the maist prestigious, an are an aw some o the auldest competitions. Winnin all three events is a difficult task, an haes anly been done bi 11 players.
Wi some events haein been criticised fur matches takkin too lang, an alternative series o timed toornaments haes been organised bi Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn. The shot-timed Premier League Snooker wis established, wi seiven players invitit tae compete at regular United Kingdom venues, televised on Sky Sports. Players haed twinty-five seconds tae tak each shot, wi five time-outs per player per match. While some success wis achieved wi this format, it generally did nae receive the same amount o press attention or status as the regular rankin toornaments. This event haes been taken out o the tour syne 2013, when the Champion of Champions wis established. The Champion o Champions sea players qualify bi virtue o winnin ither events in the season, wi 16 champions competin.[lower-alpha 3]
In 2015, the Warld Professional Billiards and Snooker Association submitted an unsuccessful bid fur snooker tae be played at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Anither bid haes been put forrit fur 2024 Summer Olympics throu the Warld Snooker Federation, foondit in 2017. A trial fur the format fur cue sports tae be played at the 2024 games wis put forrit at the 2019 Warld Team Trophy, an aw featurin nine-ball an carom billiards. Snooker haes been contested at the Warld Games syne 2001, an wis included as an event at the 2019 Africaen Games.
Criticisms[eedit | eedit soorce]
Several players, sic as Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Allen and Steve Davis, hae warned that thare are too mony toornaments durin the season, an that players risk burnin out. In 2012, O'Sullivan played fewer toornaments in order tae spend mair time wi his childer, an ended the 2012–13 season ranked 19t in the warld. Furthermore, he did nae play ony toornament in 2013 except the Warld Championship, which he won. O'Sullivan haes suggestit that a "brakaway tour" wi fewer events wad be beneficial tae the sport, but as o 2019 no sic tour haes been organised.
Some leagues hae allowed clubs tae refuse tae accept women players in toornaments. League committee leadership defended the practice, saying, "If we lose two of these clubs [wi the men-only policies] we would lose four teams and we can't afford to lose four teams otherwise we would hae no league." A Warld Women's Snooker spokesperson said, "It is disappointing and unacceptable that in 2019 that players such as Rebecca Kenna hae been the victim of antiquated discriminatory practices." The All-Party Parliamentary Group said, "The group believes that being prevented from playing in a club because of gender is archaic."
Equipment[eedit | eedit soorce]
The Accessories uised fur snooker include chalk fur the tip o the cue, rests o various sorts uised fur playin shots that canna be played bi haund, a triangle tae rack the reds, an a scoreboard. Ane drawback o snooker on a full-size (12 ft × 6 ft [366 cm × 183 cm]) table i the size o the room (22 by 16 feet [6.7 m × 4.9 m]), which i the minimum required fur comfortable cueing room on all sides. This leemits the nummer o locations in which the gemme can easy be played. While puil tables are common tae mony pubs, snooker tends tae be played aither in private surroundins or in public snooker halls. The gemme can an aw be played on smawer tables uisin fewer reid bawls. Variant table sizes include 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 fur realistic play) an 4 ft × 2 ft (122 cm × 61 cm). Smawer tables can come in a variety o styles, sic as fold-away or dining-table convertible.
A traditional snooker scoreboard resembles an abacus and records the score fur each frame in units and twenties an the frame scores. Thay are teepically attached tae a wall bi the snooker table. A semple scoring bead is an aw whiles uised, cried a "scoring string", or "scoring wire". Each bead (segment o the string) represents a single pynt. Snooker players teepically muive ane or several beads wi thair cue.
The playin surface, 356.9 cm (11 feet 8.5 inches) bi 177.8 cm (5 feet 10 inches) fur a staundart full-size table, wi sax pocket holes, ane at each corner an ane at the centre o each o the langer side cushions. The fully oo cloth is uisually green, wi a directional nap running frae the baulk end o the table towards the end wi the black bawl spot. The cloth is eften cried "baize"; awtho true baize is a lawer quality cloth whiles uised on puil tables. The nap will affect the direction o the cue ball dependin on which direction the cue ball is shot and an aw on whether left or right side (spin) is placed on the ball. Even if the cue bawl is hit in exactly the same wey, the nap will cause a different effect dependin on whether the bawl is hit doun table (towards the black ball spot) or up table (towards the baulk line). The cloth on a snooker table i nae vacuumed, as this can destroy the nap. The cloth is brushed in a straucht line frae the baulk end tae the far end wi multiple brush strokes that are straucht in direction (i.e. nae across the table). Some table men will an aw then drag a dampened cloth wrapped aroond a short piece o buird (lik a two bi fower), or straucht back o a brush tae collect ony remainin fine dust and help lay the nap doun. The table is then ironed. Strachan cloth, uised in offeecial snooker toornaments, i 100% oo. Some ither cloths include a smaw percentage o nylon.
Notable players[eedit | eedit soorce]
In the professional era that began wi Joe Davis in the 1930s and continues until the present day, a relatively smaw nummer o players hae succeeded at the tap level. Joe Davis wis warld champion fur twinty years, retiring unbeaten efter claiming his fifteenth warld title in 1946 when the toornament wis reinstated efter the Second Warld War. Davis wis unbeaten in Warld Championship play, an wis anly ever beaten fower times in his entire life, wi all fower defeats coming efter his Warld Championship retirement and inflicted bi his ain brither Fred Davis. He did lose matches in handicapped toornaments, but on level terms thir fower defeats war the anly losses o his entire career. He wis an aw warld billiards champion. It is regarded as heichly unlikely that anyone will ever dominate the gemme tae this level again.
Efter Davis retired frae Warld Championship play, the next dominant force wis his younger brither Fred Davis, who haed lost the 1940 Warld Snooker Championship final tae Joe. Bi 1947, Fred Davis wis deemed ready bi his brither tae tak ower the mantle, but lost the warld final tae the Scotsman Walter Donaldson. Davis and Donaldson wad contest the next fower finals. Efter the abandonment o the Warld Championship in 1953, wi the 1952 final boycotted bi British professionals, the Warld Professional Match-play Championship became the unofficial warld championship. Fred Davis won the event every year until its penultimate ane, in 1957, which he did nae enter.
John Pulman wis the maist successfu player o the 1960s, when the warld championship wis contested on a challenge basis. Houiver, when the toornament reverted tae a knockout formula in 1969, he did nae prosper. Ray Reardon became the dominant force in the 1970s, winnin sax titles (1970, 1973–1976 and 1978), wi John Spencer winnin three.
Steve Davis' first warld title in 1981 made him anly the 11t Warld champion syne 1927, includin the winner o the boycotted 1952 title, Horace Lindrum. Davis wad win sax Warld Championships (1981, 1983, 1984 and 1987–1989), and competit in the maist watched snooker match ever, the 1985 Warld Snooker Championship final wi Dennis Taylor. Stephen Hendry became the 14t in 1990 and dominated throu the 1990s, winnin seiven titles (1990, 1992–1996 and 1999). Ronnie O'Sullivan is the closest tae dominance in the modren era, haein won the title on five occasions in the 21st century (2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013). Mark Williams haes won three times (2000, 2003 and 2018) and John Higgins fower times (1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011), but syne the beginnin o the century, thare haes nae been a dominant force lik in previous decades, an the modren era haes seen mony players playin tae a seemilar staundart, insteid o ane player raisin the bar. Davis, fur ensaumple, won mair rankin toornaments than the rest o the tap-64 players put thegither bi 1985. Bi retaining his title in 2013, O'Sullivan became the first player tae successfully defend the Warld Championship syne Hendry in 1996 (Mark Selby wad an aw dae this in 2017).
See also[eedit | eedit soorce]
Notes[eedit | eedit soorce]
References[eedit | eedit soorce]
Citations[eedit | eedit soorce]
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Joe Davis will reinvent this after-dinner pastime and become world champion
- "Billiards and Snooker – J Davis retires". The Times. 7 October 1946. p. 8.
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Surprisingly, the programme raced to second place in the BBC2 ratings
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By 1977, though, a new lighting system had been devised, allowing the players to be seen clearly without problems and, the following year, Aubrey Singer agreed to cover the World Championships all the way through, with an hour of highlights every day for 16 days)
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