Tag Archives: Bert van Manen

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.

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?

It will be tough to improve on Bordeaux 2016

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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

Vanity, or the key to success?

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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?

“The next one will be horrible”

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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”

Who are the November Nine?

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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?

The kiss that brings no joy

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Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on September 26, 2016

f48c420169d98c23bb6e91a4e5c3c2d14042c610.jpgJan 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