Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue

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Posted on 22nd December 2001 by James Blaize-Smith of Milton Keynes.

I have been told by a friend that if you pot the yellow for example and the yellow spot is unavailable, the yellow is placed on the highest available spot. I have always used the rule 'next' highest available spot. e.g. you have potted the yellow, the yellow spot is unavailable, but the green and black spot are available.

Which spot does it go on? Green or black?

Your friend is correct. In the example you give the yellow would be placed on the black spot.

Posted on 16th December 2001 by K Rattu of Smethwick.

I've recently purchased a 9 x 4.5 foot snooker table and am considering buying a new set of balls. What is the ideal size of ball that I should purchase for a table of this size?

The ball size is determined by the height of the cushion from the bed of the table, and not by the size of the table itself. Indeed many undersized tables are manufactured to use the same sized balls that are used on the 12ft table.

If the wrong size is used then they will either jump every time they strike the cushion or they will tend to get trapped underneath it. If the set you are currently using react in neither of these ways then you can be sure you are already using the correct size. If so you will simply need to measure them to know which size to order.

Posted on 9th December 2001 by Noel Ridge of Galway, Ireland.

Can you tell me if the miss rule applies to amateur snooker and if so is it only in ranking tournaments or does it now apply to all games?

If the miss rule is being used is it only allowed if the match is being refereed?

The miss rule has applied to all players since 1995 so now obviously applies to all games. If the match is not being refereed, you must remember that the players involved must then referee each other, and for this reason I strongly recommend that you aquire a copy of the current rule book - it will save many arguments if you have it with you.

You can order the rule books from the World Snooker Association.

Posted on 17th November 2001 by Philip Fewkes of Nottingham.

What is the smallest possible winning score at snooker after all the balls have been potted, regardless of how unlikely it may be?

The smallest possible winning score would be 16 - 15.

To make this possible the fifteen reds need to be potted but not scored. This is the 'unlikely' part of your question, but could be achieved by a player going in-off the break, but striking the pack of reds so hard that he potted them all. This would give no score for the reds and a 4 point penalty for the foul.

This leaves the six colours to be accounted for. These 27 points would need to be shared between the two players, and this is one of the ways it could be played out.
The lowest possible frame score with all balls potted.

Posted on 17th November 2001 by Barney of Norwich.

A question from the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" program on the 3rd November 2001.

When only the "colours" remain in a frame of snooker, which ball should be potted immediately after the green. They gave the correct answer as "brown" out of 4 possible options:   A - yellow, B - brown, C - blue, D - pink.

Is this correct as if the yellow is one of the colours it must be potted before the brown.

Yes, the yellow is one of the colours, but it is the first to be potted when no reds remain. The correct sequence for potting the six colours is yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black.

So the yellow first, then green - and immediately after the green - the brown.

Posted on 9th November 2001 by Kevin Eaton of Staplehurst.

What is the best method to play a shot off the cushion. If the white is flush with the cushion how can you be accurate and safe.

Playing off the cushion. The secret to playing off the cushion successfully is to make the stroke as simple as you can.

Only the top of the cue-ball can be struck, and attempting to play side will normally guarantee failure except for the very best players. Control the positional side of the stroke by strength alone and make sure that the centre of the tip is directly underneath the highest point of the cue-ball.

With each forward movement that you make with your cue before playing the shot, take the tip of the cue right up to the edge of the cushion, and if you need to, alter your bridge slightly to allow the cue to pass beyond the cushion edge without touching it.

Concentrate on this with each forward movement until you feel comfortable, you may find that you need to grip the butt of the cue a little further up than for a normal shot.

When you are sure you can strike the cue-ball accurately look up to the object-ball to confirm you are still aiming correctly, and then play the shot - a shorter backswing of the cue can also improve a straighter follow-through.

Posted on 27th October 2001 by Oliver Golding of London.

If the white is potted, can the player who is next to play get a free ball by cunning placing of the white in the "D" when a red might otherwise have been fully visible from elsewhere in the D.

Free Ball Query. Free Ball Query. The answer is no. If the incoming player decides to play the shot himself then, if such a position exists, he must place the cue-ball in a position from which a clear shot can be played to both extreme edges of a ball that is on.

Imagine the two reds in the small diagram are the only ones that remain. Even in this example a free ball would not be given. The other diagram clearly shows that the cue-ball can be placed in a position that does allow a clear shot to be played at either extreme edge of the red.

With the cue-ball placed so close to the red the player can play in the direction A or B, without the yellow or brown preventing the shot being played.

Added 18th July 2009 by Peter Rook, co-author of
"The Billiards and Snooker Referees' Handbook"

I recently noticed on page 13 of your Q & A pages in reply to Oliver Golding you intimated that the cue-ball MUST be placed in a position from which . . . etc.

Of course, the striker need not do so - he may optionally play from a position where the cue-ball is snookered but, in doing so, he will not be awarded a free ball.

Yes of course!  Sorry Oliver and thank you Peter, it's much too easy to miss the obvious!

Posted on 20th October 2001 by Michael Jackson of Nottingham.

I played my shot and the white stopped very near to a pocket without dropping in. I moved away from the table and my partner approached the table preparing to take his shot. Whilst deciding how to play his shot the white ball dropped into the pocket without being touched. Who loses the points for the foul and why?

You may be wrong in your assumption that this was a foul stroke. If an experienced referee had been in control of this frame then his decision would have been based on the length of time that elapsed between the cue-ball coming to a stop, and the moment when it fell into the pocket.

If he considered all forward motion of the cue-ball had stopped before it fell into the pocket, he would not call a foul, and the cue-ball would be replaced into the position it had occupied.

The number of seconds that the cue-ball would need to remain on the edge before falling is not stated, and the referee would have to make the decision. As a general rule you could probably assume that if it stayed on the edge for two seconds or less it would be considered a foul; three seconds or more it would not be a foul and would be replaced.

Posted on 13th October 2001 by Amanda Hockley of South Petherton.

I have a couple of Burroughs & Watts Snooker Plus balls, orange and purple, in their box and allegedly dating back to pre 1906 which seems feasible from the history of their owner.

I would be interested to know a bit more of their history such as who truly invented the game and why it was dropped, I understand it was to give a higher break than 147 but that's about all.

Joe Davis invented the game but it's far more recent than you suggest, he introduced it to the public on October 26th 1959 during the News of the World Tournament.
He invented the game as he thought snooker was dying as a public entertainment, and hoped this new variation that allowed greater chances for break-building and a higher maximum of 210 would help to revive the game.

It was dropped simply because it never really took off. Those who played the game found the "normal" version couldn't really be improved. As with all novelties it had a brief period of popularity before fading into obscurity.

See also the reply given to a similar question received in March.

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Snooker Cue