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
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on December 25, 2016
Kozoom readers, thousands of them put together, have a wealth of experience. Their averages may vary from 0.200 to 2.000, but they have all played matches in a friendly, and in a hostile atmosphere. My guess is, they will come up with three different responses to this question. Continue reading What if you dislike your opponent?
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?
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on November 20, 2016
It wasn’t a bad week, was it? Six, seven unforgettable matches, close finishes, superb scoring and more points I intend to replay at home than I can remember (but there is always the Kozoom video archive!).
Jaspers, Blomdahl, Merckx, Caudron. Not their week, but don’t think for a moment that this marks a downturn in their careers. All four have big event wins still in them. Merckx made a strong impression in the group stage, but Jae Ho Cho was a fair winner against him. Neither Caudron nor Jaspers played like a pre-tournament favorite, and Blomdahl ran into a strong (11 inning) performance by Zanetti. All four will be back in a World Cup semifinal (or better) before it’s 2018. Continue reading It will be tough to improve on Bordeaux 2016
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on November 18, 2016
We see Tasdemir struggle in Bordeaux: 40 in 38. A day later, he makes 40 in 15. In the poor match, only the win counted. Is it always that way? Is the game about winning, not about average?
We see Leppens and Bury play the decider in their group. Leppens had the better average, and needed only a draw. That was a huge advantage. Does every inning count?
Truth, version 1. Continue reading Vanity, or the key to success?
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on November 16, 2016
“There is no such thing as an easy world record, but the easiest one will probably be the 40 in 6. Someone will make 40 in 5, I am sure. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it will happen. Dick was very close already, twice.
The high run? Also very difficult, because to make 29, you need to handle the pressure when you get close. Just ask Fred, and Roland too. Maybe you have played relaxed and you’ve hit the ball well, and then you get over 20, and the pressure starts to build. The cue will get heavier and heavier, until it weighs a ton. And it’s not just pressure in a match situation, there is also fatigue. I have made 33 twice in practice, and you just get tired from focusing and not wanting to miss. Continue reading “The next one will be horrible”
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on November 6, 2016
The “November Nine” is an expression from the world of Poker. Once a year, after many preliminary rounds, nine poker players will be left to compete for the greatest prize in their sport: the WSOP title, and they do it in November. If you end up 9th on that final table by the way, you go home with exactly 1 million dollars. Continue reading Who are the November Nine?
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on October 23, 2016
Fred’s nickname is the “extra-terrestrial”, or ET. I admire his game as much as anybody, could watch him for days and never get bored. But today I am going to tell you a little secret, hope you keep it between us.
He’s human. Continue reading A truckload of natural ability
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on September 26, 2016
Jan Carl, who recorded so many matches of the Carom Tour and the Sang Lee Memorial, is also a fine billiards commentator. He often had a good player in the chair next to him (Min Jae Pak, Ira Lee, Robert Raiford), but the final, wonderful line was always his:
“This is Jan Carl signing off, hoping your next kiss has nothing to do with billiards.” Continue reading The kiss that brings no joy
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on September 11, 2016
Everybody loves the shootout, right? Well, maybe the top players are not too crazy about it. But we, the spectators, are glued to the screen. We’ll sometimes miss a few points here and there early in the match, we’ll walk the dog if we have to, but not if a World Cup quarterfinal has just ended 40-40 and it’s time for “penalties”, to use the soccer term. Continue reading It’s all about the break