Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue

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Posted on 5th March 2006 by Ian Duffy of Wisbech.

In a match last night player Peter went in-off into the black left corner pocket.

The marker took it out of the pocket and handed it to Charlie who was standing next to him. Charlie was walking to the baulk end of the table, cleaning the cue-ball with one hand as he went when the cue ball suddenly shot in the air and landed on the brown, blue and a red which were grouped together against the side cushion. None of the three balls or the cue ball moved very far and none touched any other ball on the table. (There were only 2 reds left.) Because of the way they were lying with the red and brown against the cushion 10mm apart and the blue 10mm away from the brown and in line with it square to the cushion, we, as spectators, had been observing this and discussing what would happen when the penultimate red was potted. In other words we knew exactly how the balls laid before the "accident" and could easily have replaced them.

Should we (1) have replaced them on the markers instruction and Charlie carried on with his shot, cue ball in-hand, as if nothing had happened?  or (2) left them where they were?

If they were left where they were, (A) Was it a foul shot with 4 points to Peter, (B) whose turn was it to play, and (C) was the cue ball still in-hand.

This would be called as a foul, as it would have been if he had (say) just as accidently moved the yellow when placing the cue-ball in the "D". No "Miss" would be called so the balls would remain in the positions where they came to rest, and Peter would have played the next shot from the position left, or asked Charlie to.

Peter would receive 4 points for the foul, or 5 if blue was struck first by the cue-ball.

Posted on 21st January 2006 by Graham Prickett of Derby.

I've found what I believe to be a snooker score board in my garage but it's not a regular snooker score board. It is split into two sides, on one side the sliders give way to reveal just one star. There are 12 rows of these sliders. On the other side similar sliders move across to reveal 12 rows of 3 black circles.

If you have any idea what this snooker derived game is called or where I can access more information then please let me know.

A similar question was posted here some time ago where I gave a short description of the old English game of Pool that your scoreboard was made for. Follow this link to read that reply.

You can find the original rules of this game within the History section.

Posted on 26th December 2005 by Jonothan Dempsey of Manchester.

1: I just fouled, say by potting a colour when on a red, and my opponent amid the confusion, picks up the cue-ball, thinking i went in off. Obviously it's a foul on his part, but where should the cue ball be replaced? Is it anywhere in the 'D'?

2: Is a so called 'side swipe' legal? Side swipe being where its not quite a touching ball, however rather than performing a push shot, just side swipe the cue ball with the tip, almost like a miscue, so that the ball only moves a little and touches the object-ball. Looks ugly but most effective. a little difficult to explain.

1: Yes, the cue-ball would have been played from the 'D'. After you fouled, your opponent became the striker, and he fouled when he picked up the cue-ball. This counts as "forcing a ball off the table" and the next player has the cue-ball "in-hand".
An exception to this rule is explained in Section 3 of the rules, Rule 15 & 16, then the ball would be replaced by the referee.

2: I'm sure you're describing the shot I've recently added to the Practice section. It is a miscue, but a deliberate one, As you say, very, very effective.

Posted on 11th December 2005 by Val Butts of Essex.

Has anyone heard of a bistoquet?

I read the following sentence on the EABA site and as I have ancestors with the name Bistoquet, I am interested in trying to find out the meaning of the word.

"We have an engraving of a billiard table, the instruments used at the game which include the cue, the mace and the bistoquet"

I had never heard of the term 'bistoquet' before but found a definition in "The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards" (pub. 2002) by Mike Shamos. (Now out of print but copies can occasionally be found on ebay.)

A 'Bitoquet' is an obscure term describing a rake-like instrument used to avoid making a push stroke.

Other spellings include 'Bistoquest' or 'Bistoquet' and is probably related to the old French 'hoquet' which means a curved stick, from which the term 'hockey' is derived.

Posted on 20th November 2005 by Peter Ng of Singapore.

In a snooker game with referee, with score difference 29 pts and all colours on the table (27 pts), if the loser snooked the leader and the leader missed, is it a foul and miss with option to re-spot?

It could be, it would depend on whether the referee believed that a valid attempt had been made to hit the ball 'on'.

Any player who was 29 ahead with 27 left would try their hardest to escape from the snooker, but there could possibly be some extraordinary situation where a player thought it might be to his advantage to 'accidently' miss. If the referee believed that the player had missed deliberately, then a foul and a miss would be called.

If called, the next player then has the choice of playing from the position left, or having his opponent play from the position left or from the original position.

Posted on 30th October 2005 by Martin W Rushforth of Barnsley.

A player takes a shot in snooker and in disgust picks up the cue ball and throws it on the table and it hits and moves the pink and black. What is the foul and what happens next?

Depending on whether the pink or black was struck first by the cue-ball, the foul would be six or seven points, the value of the highest valued ball involved in the foul. This behaviour could easily cause the referee to assume that the player was conceding, and if the player said that he was not, then the referee should warn the player that in the event of any similar conduct the frame will be awarded to the opponent.

If the frame was part of a longer game, say best of five, and the player acted again in a similar manner, the referee would then award the game to the opponent.

Posted on 23rd October 2005 by Rami S. Darwish, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Only Brown, Blue, Pink, and Black left on the table, and I got a free ball after a foul made by my opponent on the Brown. I decided to nominate the Pink as a free ball, I didn't pot it, but the Pink came in front of the cue ball and blocked quarter of the next ball 'on' the Brown. In other words my opponent can see only 3/4 of the Brown.

So in this case is it a foul or not and if a foul, why?
Does my opponent get a free ball? and how many points the foul supposed to be.

The example you give would be a foul stroke. (Unless your opponent has a clear shot to both extreme edges of the brown, it counts as being snookered).

So your opponent would be awarded a free ball and also gets four points for the foul, the penalty being based on the value of the ball 'on' (the pink counted as brown when you played it as the free ball).

When a ball stops between the cue-ball and the ball 'on' it can be quite obvious if it obstructs a clear shot being played. But a ball can also interfere even if it is slightly behind the ball 'on' as this diagram clearly shows. Your opponent would be unable to hit the extreme edge of the brown on that side as contact with the pink ball ball would have been made first.

A ball not 'on' preventing a clear shot at the ball 'on'

Posted on 16th October 2005 by Rob, of Newbury.

Is it a foul if, after playing a free ball, the cue ball is snookered behind the nominated ball AND another ball - (in other words, if the nominated ball was removed, the cue ball is still snookered).

On a similar note, with reds on the table, is it a foul if a player is snookered on SOME of the reds by the nominated free ball and on the OTHER red(s) by another ball.

To answer your first question it depends if the ball nearest the cue ball was the ball you had played as a free ball. The rules clearly state that it is the ball nearest the cue ball that is considered to be the snookering ball.

So if you took the blue as a free ball while reds were on the table, and after your shot the line of balls was:- cue-ball, brown, BLUE, then red, that would not be a foul shot. But - cue-ball, BLUE, brown, then red, would be a foul.

The answer to your second question is no, not a foul. Your opponent would have to be snookered on all reds by the free ball for it to be a foul stroke.

Posted on 25th September 2005 by Stewart Edward of Glasgow.

My opponent fouled and snookered me, with the black pink and blue left on the table. The black blocked the blue, therefore I nominated the black as my "free-ball". I potted the black into the blue and the black also went in. I thought I would just get 5 points, my friend stated 5 points for each ball as both balls were "on" but another person watching said this was a foul. Could you help?

You should have received 5 points for potting the blue, the black should have been replaced on its spot, and your break should have continued with pink as the next ball 'on'. So you were correct.

There always seems to be some confusion over this, probably caused by the rule being different when there are reds on the table.

Had your opponent left you a free ball when a red was still on the table, and you had done exactly the same, potting the red and the free ball, you would then have received two points - one for each ball.

But when only the colours remain you only get the points for one ball if both are potted. The reason behind this is that WITHOUT a free ball, it is possible to pot more than one red in one shot, but not a colour.

Posted on 7th August 2005 by Mike Gitsham of Knutsford.

At Dunham Massey (National Trust property) there is a Gillow's Billiards score board dating to 1830. On one score index is the letter M and on the other is the letter P. No-one knows what they stand for. Can you help us?

They may stand for the two cue-balls used in the game of English Billiards. Throughout the history of the game one has always been marked with either one or two black spots, the other cue-ball has always been left unmarked.

These two balls have always been referred to within the game as "Spot" and "Plain". My guess is that the letters M and P may refer to these two balls. The M being the "spot" or the "marked" ball, and the P being the "plain" ball. Unfortunately none of the very old books I have on the game make any reference to marking the scores, and I can find no hard written evidence that in the very early days the "spot" ball was referred to as the "marked" ball.

But nothing else makes any logical sense. If these two letters were the initials of the original owner or institution for whom it was made, you would not expect them to have been placed where they were. So there are my thoughts, whether they are correct or not I cannot say but I hope they will be of interest.

Posted on 7th August 2005 by Gregor Miller of Dundee.

In a recent doubles match I was playing in my opponents were 7 points behind with only the black remaining.  My partner fouled by missing the black which would have then tied the scores. I had then said that because a foul had been made on the black the game is tied and the black is re-spotted and we play the black again however my opponent said that in doubles that does not happen and you continue to play on, leaving the black where it was as the foul was made. Can you tell me if the black should have been re-spotted after the original foul or should we have continued on the black from where it was?

You were correct. The black should have been re-spotted, and the cue-ball played from 'hand' in the next stroke. See the next question but one for a similar query.

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Snooker Cue