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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - European Championship - Istanbul (TUR)

About match length, timer and equalizer

Posted by on May 23, 2012

About match length, timer and equalizer

© Kozoom photo
Dick Jaspers and Marco Zanetti.

ISTANBUL - The European championship three-cushion has its kick-off in Istanbul this week (on Thursday) using the new system and rules. Many people involved in billiards had their opinion, there was support and there were opponents. The European confederation (CEB) finally has made the decision: at the European championships there will be played to 30 caroms in the preliminaries, in the knockout phase to 40, with a 40 seconds time clock and without equalizing inning.

The UMB still uses another systems untill now and will handle the three winning sets system in the main tournament of the World Cups.

What is - on the eve before the European championship in Istanbul - the opinion of top players? Kozoom did a small tour and recorded the responses.

Dick Jaspers, the world champion, agrees with the decision to shorten the matches. The 40-point matches are allright, except when it comes to big titles, such as the World or the European championship.

Marco Zanetti, former double world champion, has the same vision, but can't agree with the different rules in UMB and CEB.

Torbjörn Blomdahl, player with the most titles in this current generation, notes that it's better for organizers play matches to 40 or 50 points. ,,It is better to program the matches, because a game in sets may take one hour and a half, as well as three hours.''

Eddy Merckx (former world- and European champion) and Martin Horn (German champion and former World Cup winner) don't mind to play matches to full lengths of 40 or 50 and possibly 30 in the qualifying rounds of a championship.

The time frame is not a problem for most players. Torbjörn Blomdahl prefers the chess clock instead of the normal time clock to 40 or 50 seconds.

Match lengths:

Dick Jaspers: ,,Matches to 40 points is ideal, but I'm convinced that in European or World championship the matches must be longer. It is the main challenge for a athlete in any sport. You can win a great title, so 50 points is much more fair. We now play a match in the European championship to 30 points. That is really ridiculous and without any respect for the sportsman who's practicing over the whole year.''
,,The World Cups can be much more attractive, when they don't play to two winning sets in the qualifications, but for instance to 40 points. Players have to make long trips, so it is better to play more matches.''

Marco Zanetti: ,,Thirty points in the qualifications of CEB tournaments is really too short: I think 40 is much better. And why not an equalizing inning? In the main tournament to 50 points and without equalizer, I certainly agree.''
,,The UMB should handle the longer distance, not the sets, for example, 25 for the pre-pre qualification, 30 for pre- and 40 points for the final qualifying round. The main event must be played to 50 points.''

Torbjörn Blomdahl: ,,Yes, I agree to play to long distances, because we're used to play to 50 in the national games. We did an investigation among the players: fifty percent wanted to play in sets, the others to 40 or 50 points.''
,,For the organizer it is better and easier to work with the system of matches to 40 or 50 points. That makes the timetable more predictable. A match in sets can take 50 minutes, but others more than three hours.''
,,We had many discussions before, I must say, but the decision to move to 30 and 40 points to play, came as a surprise for me.''

Martin Horn: ,,I have no objection playing matches to full points, whether it is 30 or 40. But in the groups of the Europeans, you must have a chance to tie a match, so why no equalizer? In the knockout system to 40, I agree to play without.''

Eddy Merckx: ,,I opt for the full length match, whether it's 50 or 40, doesn't matter for me. Thirty is short, but in the group matches it can be done.''


Dick Jaspers: ,,Time clocks are not really necessary, because if they play a bad match, it automatically takes longer and you even put more pressure on the player. The level will not increase in the future.''

Torbjörn Blomdahl: ,,It's the same for every player. I would prefer to play with chess clock (for each player equal time) than with the timer.''

Marco Zanetti: ,,The clock should be the same everywhere: now, sometimes it's 40 seconds, another time 40, I suggest: let's take 45 seconds for all games, individual and teams.''

Eddy Merckx: ,,I prefer to play with time clock.''


Torbjörn Blomdahl: ,,I personally prefer knock out matches without equalizer and team matches with time frame. Then you have more 5-3 scores and less 4-4 results. I would prefer to play in the groups of the European championship with an equalizer.''

Dick Jaspers: ,,The penalty in case of a draw is still more fair than the toss before the match. Maybe five millimeters can decide over win or lose a game. And penalties are attractive for the crowd, everyone likes to watch it. This attractive part of the match has been removed without any feeling what top sport needs.''

Eddy Merckx: ,,Equalizer or not, it doesn't make sense for me. If you know it in advance, it's the same for both players.''

Further comments:

Dick Jaspers: ,,I think the leaders of UMB and CEB can do much more for their sports. They even don't succeed to make the same rules etc. I would like to see that they take care for a better future for players. The officials have to operate in the background. The players must get more respect.''
,,Very important is that players can prepare optimally in tournaments for their matches, for instance to adapt to the tables. The level is very high, therefore you should strive for better conditions.''

Marco Zanetti: ,,It's very strange to play with different rules, although we are used to it for many years. We're playing to the long-distance in national leagues and to sets in official international tournaments.''

Torbjörn Blomdahl: ,,There was a strange thing in the preliminary rounds of the European cup, that with equal match points, the caroms decided over qualification, not the average.''

,,What is very strange as well: on the official website of the CEB, yesterday 22 May, was written that the European championship will be played to sets of fifteen and not to the full points!!''

Martin Horn: ,,When you decide that caroms are more important than average with same matchpoints, it is possible to manipulate in the penultimate parties. The system of preliminary rounds in the European cup was so stupid. We had a better average with Horster Eck than FC Porto, but they were qualified by caroms. Really ridiculous.''

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My Comments

Length, Timer, and Equalizer
Playing some tournaments in 15-point sets format and others in a one-set match of 30, 40, 0r 50 is ridiculous. One of the two formats must go, for good. The elimination of one of the two formats is more important than which one to eliminate! Lets all 3 cushion players play ONE format. Let it be sets of 15s, for the following reasons:
1) It avoids the equalizer issue.
2) It offers good timing for ball cleaning.
3) It's ideal for a brief commercial break in televised matches.
4) The number of sets can be adjusted according to the weight of the match, for example best-of-3 from start to the last 32, then best-of-5 thereafter (did I hear someone say best-of-7 starting the semifinals?).
5) It's better for the players' average (Each player gets at least one shot at the break position).
6) If a player has a slow start or a bad set, there is always a new set.
The only disadvantage I see in this format is the fact that we will no longer see a 17, 22, or 30 point innings!
As to the timer, a 45 second shot clock will do.

Message 1/3 - Publish at May 23, 2012 3:39 PM

About match length, timer and equalizer
I think it's very good that top players have this discussion and from above (CEB / UMB), they should listen. But in the qualification rounds, lower distance may be alright ...!

Chess clock should be the future, but also true what Dick Jaspers says that a well played game WITHOUT time limit can go faster than a badly played game WITH time limitation.

But true it probably is that television will prefer games in sets, because they have several highlights and surprises can more easily happen ..

At the European- and world championships, it should always be the distance game to at least 40 points.
The longer the distance to play to, the greater chance there is that the best player wins.

Just an amateur players point of view.

Message 2/3 - Publish at May 23, 2012 4:28 PM

my opinion
I don't think we need to merge every rules into one as long as there's a well-organized format for every tournament. For example, play for sets in the worldcup tournaments and play for distance in the (national/European/world)-championship, etc. Both rules have attractive parts.

Chess clock would be the solution. It can give players more flexibility during the match and will lead better performance as a result.

Message 3/3 - Publish at June 7, 2012 8:53 PM

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