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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Bert's column (NED)

The final Sunday could be a little better

Posted by on May 8, 2017

The final Sunday could be a little better

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Honestly, I don't remember the last time I watched the final of a World Cup, European championship or World championship 3-cushion, and said to myself: this was boring. It just never is. I do remember several times when I felt it was "pretty  good, but over too quickly".   

There's not a lot wrong with our major events, and we can be happy with the high standard we have. But sometimes you feel the time is right for minor changes to the rules and formats. It can be because the game is changing, and old rules no longer work as well as they used to. Or it's simply the times that change, and audiences have different demands.

The governing bodies of billiards are not as staunchly conservative as they used to be, they know there is no shame in fine-tuning. It does not mean you were wrong before.  It means you are paying attention.

In my opinion, it's mostly the final day of the big events that needs to be tweaked. Minor changes, but they should be improvements.  Two of them.

1) We should get rid of the equalizing inning in finals.

2) We should play to 50 on the final day, in the semifinal and final. 

To make an argument for the first change, I'll paint you a picture of the last day of a hypothetical World Cup. We're in Ho Chi Minh city, and Nguyen or Tran or Ma is in the final (but it could just as well be Bursa, with Semih or Tayfun or Murat). Can you imagine the excitement in the audience? They are going nuts! If their man wins it, they are going to cheer and clap and shout so hard....

Only, they are not allowed to. Their guy has the white ball, and he makes his 40th point. Everybody respects the fact that his opponent still deserves peace and quiet to play his equalizing inning. So there's no pandemonium.

The opponent, former world champion Danedbjörn Caunettipers (we all know him, and love to watch him play) needs 6 to make it 40-40, and he misses after 4. Again, the audience stays calm, they behave so well. Who would cheer and applaud a miss? You don't want to do that to a respected opponent, that would be bad taste.  But as a result, hundreds of people in the stands have a sock in their mouth, at the exact moment they should sing, shout and raise the roof.

In the past, I have said and written that I like the equalizing inning. I have not changed my mind, I still do: for league play and every round in an individual tournament, except the final. The last minute of the championship should be about one thing, and one thing only: the final point. If a player makes it, he has won. He can stick his cue in the air, and that's the end of it.  

What is the price we would pay for that rule change? Only this: the lag to start  the final would be much more important. I can live with that. It's not a coin toss, there is skill involved. If you can win the lag more than 50 % of the time, that's a quality.   

Zanetti 2017

No run of 28, but 5 runs of 7 will also get you there.

Second proposed change: 50 points instead of 40, on the final day. To make that argument, let's go back to the days of sets of 15. Why did we abolish that format? Because of the scheduling problems. The UMB wants their tournaments to run like clockwork (rightly so), and that's impossible in the set system. If you have, in the same round, a quick player winning 15-5, 15-7, 15-1, and a slow player winning 14-15, 15-13, 12-15, 15-14, 15-13, you are looking at a time difference of two hours. And yes, we still have slow players and quick players. The shot clock has never solved that problem (A chess clock would!).  

So no more sets, 40 points it became, and that's fine, manageable. But the later in the tournament, the higher the averages. The higher the averages, the shorter 40 points becomes. At the current highest level,  40 points has changed from a middle-distance run to a sprint. Since 2013, we've played 29 "major" tournaments, and there has been no final longer than 26 innings. The average length of those 29 finals was 17.68 innings!   

Those three matches on Sunday, they are quite often the best that 3-cushion has to offer. Do we actually WANT those to be over in an hour?  If you are a band, why would you make the best song you have, the shortest one?

There is no scheduling problem on the final day. There is no time pressure. The four semifinalists are invariably so good, they could comfortably play to 50 points. It would make the contest more fair, it would increase the chance of a player making a comeback, it would keep the magic of high runs alive. And it would still be over in two hours. 50 points on the final day, I can't see a downside to it.   


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My Comments

So true!
Well said Bert! I agree completely and hope to see UMB considers your wonderful approach immediately. Thanks so much.

Message 1/2 - Publish at May 8, 2017 5:40 PM

My two cents
1. i disagree. This is way to make big comeback tales. This year Cadre finale between Leppens and Swartz become legendary. I never seen better cadre match. Starting position is too big advantage in one frame game to loose it in one aproach.
2. 50 agree. But, feature is make it more attractive for crowd and acceptable for television. And that need some system like supercup. I like snooker system with frames. We can do something like this. Late phase more frames.
Frame without equalising to 12 points.
or something similar or more attractive. Dynamic...

Message 2/2 - Publish at May 9, 2017 2:41 PM

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