All posts by Thanasis

Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on January 26, 2021

A few joyful billiard memories 2/3

If you are a top player, your words matter. They carry weight, get remembered and repeated, days or years later. Which is why most of the 3-cushion superstars have developed diplomatic talents. They don’t use harsh language often, when discussing matches. And they usually have respectful things to say about their colleagues. The “trash talking” that is common in some sports (even in our “cousin” pool) may be exciting and colorful, but it has no place in 3-cushion billiards.

Say you’re a 0.750 player who has just lost his match 17 – 40 in 43 innings. You hate yourself so badly, you are about to stick your head in the toilet bowl and flush. Then you run into Leppens or Horn or Carlsen, who were among the spectators. If a guy of that caliber says: “Man, you had so many shitty positions in that match! I know how it feels, it happens to us all”, he has put you on the road to recovery in a matter of seconds. They have that power.

If you are lucky enough to have a world class player in your circle of friends, you can take it to the next level. You complain about your horrible luck in a match, and they will explain to you how most of it was the result of your own poor decisions. Cherish these moments! They can be pivotal in your career.

A short conversation with TB I’ll never forget, is this one from 1998:
I’m in a World Cup first round, playing an opponent who is much stronger. Two – zero down in sets, but I win an excellent third set in three innings: 1-10-4. There’s a five-minute break, and Blomdahl says:
“That was a very good run.”
Thank you, I say. In my mind, I’m already preparing to tell him about the positional shots I was most proud of.
“I am talking about the 4, of course. Stevie Wonder could have made that 10, the way the balls rolled. But the 4 was classy.”

Maybe you’re a 1.300 player, or an 0.800, or a 0.500. But there are always players around you who don’t have your knowledge, your skill or your experience. We are all somebody’s Blomdahl. Think before you speak.

Deurke toe

by Bert VAN MANEN on October 23, 2020

Willy Wesenbeek passes away at 83.

The world of billiards loses another icon: Belgian balkline specialist Willy Wesenbeek has passed away today. He was 83 years old.

Wesenbeek won the European title in the free game in 1980 in Lugo, Spain, averaging 111,11. But his strong suit was balkline: he excelled in 47/2, 47/1 and 71/2. Wesenbeek collected no fewer than 13 Belgian national titles in these disciplines: two in 47/1, five in 47/2, three in 71/2 and two in the free game. Continue reading Deurke toe

The awakener

Blomdahl awakes a spectator that he was fell asleep.

At 1994 Korea’s World Cup, during the match between Raymond Ceulemans and Torbjörn Blomdahl, a person went asleep in the spectators.

Nothing wrong with that, except that he was at the most prominent spot.

Mr Blomdahl took charge of the situation:

The 78 men with a World Cup medal

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Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on January 9, 2017

In 1986, a man who could not average 0.400 himself, changed the lives of top players forever. His name was Werner Bayer, a German businessman and billiard enthusiast with vision. He founded the BWA (Billiard World Association), with the intention of professionalizing the sport. No more flowers or the occasional kitchen appliance to reward a victory; players should earn real money. No more noisy and smoke-filled low-ceiling billiard rooms for major events;  the Hotel Kempinsky in Berlin, the Antwerp Hilton and the Teatro Principal in Palma would host 3-cushion events  from now on, and they would be called World Cups. Continue reading The 78 men with a World Cup medal

Technical games: baggage or ballast?

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Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on December 10, 2016

There are a few 3-cushion debates that will not go away, and they are all older than Myung Woo Cho. Why do they never get resolved? Too many people on opposite sides, too many (good) arguments available to both parties. Here’s one: should we turn the music up, or down? And another: matches should be longer. No, shorter. Continue reading Technical games: baggage or ballast?