News Carom Billiard


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

Sit there, and shut up.

Posted by on October 31, 2019

Sit there, and shut up.

© Kozoom

The difference between a world class 3-cushion match with a 2.500 average and a mediocre performance with 1.000 average is smaller than you think. Not always was the player in shining form when he made 40 in 16, not always did he make one horrible mistake after another when he lost 40-22 in 22. It's all about details, and a handful of them can turn a match around. The science studying that phenomenon shall henceforth be known as "Cenetology".  

Do I feel sorry for Lütfi? Absolutely. In those six innings in Veghel, the first three against Jaspers and the first three against Haeng Jik Kim, he played the best 3-cushion of his life. But I also take my hat off and bow to HJK, who showed superhuman resilience to win "Veghel". His mental achievement outclassed his billiards, in my view.  

Details: the one shot that unbelievably goes through the hole represents much more than a single point. You could have made two or three more. You could have ended your run with a good defensive shot. That might well have forced a mistake from your opponent, and you could have started another run. A swing of ten points, from a miss by a quarter of an inch? That's not spectacular or rare; it happens in almost every world cup match. Two of such swings each, and you have a close match. Three in your favor, none for the opponent: you have an easy win. For a tournament victory, you need attention to detail, and a little luck.

Why was the world cup in Veghel such a resounding success? Because the organizers got all the details right, and they had a little luck. A Dutch player surviving a few qualification rounds by the skin of his teeth: that helped. A world champion running 24, which equalized the world record for high run in a world cup: that was good for the event. And, going back a year: finding a big corporate sponsor who owns a unique space that could be changed into a venue: that's the luck you deserve if you work hard to make something happen.  

We've learned a lot about billiard events in the past decade, and we're catching up with the changing times and the demands of the spectators. You can't charge people for just a chair anymore, expecting them to sit there and shut up for four hours. They want a day-out, with entertainment, food and drink. Veghel provided that in an exemplary setting. Also, the days of solemn silence are over. Enthusiasm is welcomed, applause and cheers are much better than the old snap of the fingers. Doesn't it bother the players? I am willing to bet that 8 out of 10 prefer the modern situation to the old one.  

So many things you have to get right for an event to work. Hospitality is crucial, you want both the fans and the (sub)sponsors to feel welcome. Give the corporate men and women a VIP-box, so they'll feel important. And if they co-finance your tournament, they ARE! Make sure the players are in the venue for a while, before and after their matches. In the lobby, in the bar or restaurant, it doesn't matter. "We took pictures with Jae Ho Cho and Jung Han Heo, and we had a chat with Tayfun Tasdemir." For many fans, that is the highlight of their trip to a world cup.  

Music, there's another thing you have to get right. BIG mistake in Blankenberge 2018 and 2019, events that were just excellent in all other aspects. You don't want background music that half the audience likes, half the audience hates. You want music that 95 % of the people don't object to, and don't notice most of the time. Play it loud enough so you don't hear the kid with the bag of chips or the coughs in the crowd, but not so loud that it demands your constant attention.   

What's the most important thing that has changed in the past decade? Our product is better. 

With quite a bit of help from the Asians, we have reinvented the sport, and our tournaments have become twice as exciting because they are now UNPREDICTABLE. Unknown Vietnamese player in the semi's, Spanish youngster in the semi's, four world champions losing in the quarterfinals. I am not saying it would be better for billiards if Dick Jaspers never won again. But this new world order, where at least thirty guys can win major tournaments, is a godsend.   

Dutch cable giant Ziggo took a chance and put the Veghel world cup on their subscriber sports channel for three days. Two of the comments I heard from Ziggo producers in the studio: "This is way more exciting than we thought billiards would be." "Nice images (provided by Kozoom), and we love the mix between the intellectual and the emotional, in the game itself." (Yes, smart guys work at Ziggo).  

The billiard world may go through a tough period right now, but we have never had better footage to broadcast. If Kozoom made a highlight reel from "Veghel" with only shots that got spontaneous applause, it would last longer than a James Cameron movie.  

Is everything hunky dory then? Can we lean back and enjoy our 3-cushion world cups that have now reached a flawless state? My goodness no. In order of crucial importance: a) let's please work from both sides to end this horrible separation of players in two circuits, b) correct the unjust system wherein the ACC confederational championship carries the same number of ranking points as the CEB, ACBC and CPB's,  c) create transparency in the allocation of world cup wild cards. Most of the fans worldwide don't care much about billiard politics, but they have a good instinct for what is fair and what is not.  


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My Comments

Mr. Bert
As always, love your article. Nowadays, alot of times the differences between 2.50 vs 1.00 is only 1 to 3 innings. The levels are so high that leading 15 or more points can still be upset. Amazingly unpredictable.

Message 1/3 - Publish at October 31, 2019 8:55 PM

Crucial importance
As a carom fan, I am happy to see the late changes in carom events, mostly pioneered by PBA.
I am also happy to notice the changes of UMB events as well to catch up with the changed times.
I am impressed with the 3 important points(a,b,c) listed in order in the last paragraph of this excellent and neutral column. Bravo, Mr.Manen!

Nevertheless, point b and c are not such crucial at this particular moment.

The point a) which is created by UMB (& Kozoom & KBF) only to protect its commercial interest is real crucial one.

I am very glad to see at least Belgian and Dutch Federation are making fair and right decisions for players, carom sport and billiard fans.
This fact will be a keyhole for the future works from both sides.

Message 2/3 - Publish at November 1, 2019 4:09 PM

New in Town
I've only really discovered the joys of 3 cushion in recent weeks. I come from a snooker and English billiards background, but 3C is so unlike snooker it's a breath of fresh air. Sadly, in my neck of the woods I haven't got a chance of finding a carom table to play on.

I'm also still learning about the game, and I wondering why Coudron wasn't there. Is that because of the darts-like split you refer to above? Either way, great analysis.

Message 3/3 - Publish at November 3, 2019 1:17 AM - Edited at November 3, 2019 1:18 AM

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