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
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on August 12, 2016
A match to decide who will end 13th in a tournament, and who will end 14th: it does not sound important or exciting. Do the players even care? As it turned out, the 13/14 decider at the Verhoeven Open in New York was the most memorable match of the week, and it will have a place in the record books for a few decades. Continue reading Senior and junior at their best
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on July 24, 2016
One of the things a billiard player loves, is scoring well. Every 0.500 guy has these 0.750 matches from time to time, and they are like cocaine to his brain. He feels like a 0.750 player, if only for an evening.
There is one thing just as addictive as playing well, but we like it even more: winning matches. “I don’t care that I lost, I played well”. That’s what a momma’s boy says. “I don’t care that it took 123 innings. I won.” Now that’s a real man talking. (He’s lying, but it sounds good) Continue reading Know your opponent’s weakness
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on July 10, 2016
No billiard player should ever underestimate the responsibility of the referee.
It may not look like much: count the points and see if the required cushions were hit. But, just for the sake of argument, try to think of it as a trial. The question is: was that point valid?
The referee is the judge, presiding over that case. But there is no prosecuting attorney, and there is no defense lawyer. If there are arguments to be made, pro and con, he’ll have to come up with those himself. All he has, in terms of evidence, is a single key witness. Himself. Continue reading Judge, jury and star witness
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on June 27, 2016
There’s little need to explain why the female 3-cushion players don’t reach the averages that are common amongst the men. The historical disadvantage is huge, and the number of women players is so much lower, statistics almost dictate that fewer talents will rise to the top.
So I don’t have a problem with the enormous gap between Klompenhouwer and Hida on the one side, Caudron and Jaspers on the other. Orie and Therese are great champions, and they should wear their world title medals with pride. Continue reading Why aren’t the women catching up?
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on May 30, 2016
Dick Jaspers played an extraordinary match last Wednesday, in a Dutch Grand Prix. His final result of 40 in 7 made it the (shared) fifth best match ever, to forty points. But then, the world record is 40 in 6, and that has already been played four times (Caudron 2x, Zanetti and H.J. Kim). Dick shares the 40 in 7 with Coklu, D.K. Kang, K.J. Guen, Merckx and Zanetti. So maybe it was not THAT special? Why does this match deserve such generous attention? Continue reading Why the world record was not broken
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on May 16, 2016
People sometimes ask me why I’ve stayed fascinated with 3-cushion billiards for so many years. “It’s just a game”, they say. And: “After four decades, you must have seen every possible position on the table a thousand times. Doesn’t it get boring?”
No, it does not. And, hard to believe for the outsider, but true: I’ve never seen a position more than once. Let me address that issue, and make a few points about the degree of “repetition” in 3-cushion billiards. It is extremely close to 0 %. Continue reading You’ll never play the same shot twice
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on May 2, 2016
Every other year, I like to take a closer look at the UMB world ranking list, and see if the balance of power has shifted. Not so much between the top players, but between countries and continents. Even without checking, we all know Korea and Vietnam are on the rise, but we also know most of the World Cup tournaments are still won by players from Western Europe. So do these two facts cancel each other out? The results of my little evening’s homework may surprise you. Continue reading Should we learn how to say “축하 해요”, or “tebrikler”?
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on April 18, 2016
You don’t have to be an expert in politics to see that the best and brightest minds will not be found on the extreme right or extreme left. Both ignore valid arguments made by the other camp, which makes them part of the problem, not the solution. To think in black and white is easy, it takes an effort to see nuances.
It’s no different in the age-old debate about music at billiard tournaments. The simple souls are far left and far right. We’ll call one flank Church Memorial Service, the other will be known as Carnival in Rio. Continue reading Should we turn the music down? Or turn it up?
Posted by Bert VAN MANEN on April 1, 2016
I love the World Cups, and I spend hours (sometimes days) watching Kozoom when our Grand Slams are being played. But with regret, I have to say that something seems to be missing from these events. It’s not at the top of the pyramid: the world’s privileged 12 and those in contention to join the elite will always show up, and they treat us to mouth-watering 3-cushion. It’s not at the base either: there’s no lack of appeal to recreational players. They are always there, even if they know they’ll never make it to the main draw. Never speak badly of the “billiard tourists”! They are an important link in the food chain. Continue reading Let’s re-invent the Satellite tournament