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
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”?