The Billiard Monthly January 1913

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913


 A Journal of Interest and Value to Amateur Billiard Players
No. 27, January, 1913 Price 1/6 per annum to any part of the world. Single Copies 1d




A ‘Nine Average’ member of the Billiards Control Club.

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

The Roberts v. Gray Action

Dismissal of the Appeal

In the Court of Appeal on December 16, before the Master
of the Rolls, Lord Justice Farwell, and Lord Justice
Hamilton, the action of Roberts v. Gray was an application
by the defendant for judgment or a new trial on appeal
from verdict and judgment at trial before the Lord Chief
Justice and a special jury.

The action was for damages for alleged breach of contract,
as reported in The Billiard Monthly of March and
May last. It appeared that in 1910 the plaintiff was in
Australia, and on May 12, 1910, an agreement was entered
into between him and the defendant for a tour round the
world. The defendant had already agreed to play in England
from October, 1910, to the end of March, 1911, and
the agreement was therefore only to come into force on
April 2, 1911, and was to last for 18 months from that
date. On April 20, 1911, the defendant by his solicitor
repudiated the agreement, and the plaintiff therefore
claimed damages for breach of contract.

The defendant put in a number of defences, including a
plea that he was born on March 28, 1891, and was an
infant at the time of his signing the contract. This was
not denied by the plaintiff, but he contended that as the
contract was for the infant’s benefit he was bound by it.

Another defence was that the plaintiff had induced the
defendant to enter into the contract by a misrepresentation
that his obligation to play billiards with bonzoline balls
expired on March 31, 1911.

The jury found that the plaintiff did not make the false
representation alleged, and assessed the plaintiff’s damages
at £1,500.

A legal argument followed as to the effect of the defendant’s
infancy on his position, and the Lord Chief Justice
held that the contract of May 12, 1910, was a contract of
employment, and that, as it was for the benefit of the defendant,
it would bind him, although he was an infant
when he signed the contract. And he entered judgment for
the plaintiff on all the issues.

The defendant appealed, and in the present action the
Master of the Rolls, in the course of his judgment, said
that the appeal had been ably argued by Mr. Matthews,
but, having heard all that he had urged upon the Court he
(the Master of the Rolls) was bound to say that he saw
no reason to differ from the view taken by the Lord Chief
Justice. The attention of the Court had been called to a
great number of cases dealing with the extent to which an
infant might be bound by a contract made by him during
his infancy. He did not mean to say that there had been
no development of the law on the subject since the date
when the earliest cases were decided, but it was important
to remember that as early as Lord Coke it was laid down
that the doctrine that an infant’s contract for necessaries
was binding upon him applied not only to a contract for
bread and cheese and clothes, but also to a contract for education
and instruction.

That had been construed by the Court of Appeal in Walter
v. Everard (1891, 2 Q.B., 369), in which case Lord Justice
Fry had said that education must not be taken in the
narrow sense as being education to enable a man to work
to maintain himself as an artisan, but applied to education
and instruction suitable to the social state in which the
infant might expect to find himself when he became adult.

Then what was the effect of a contract entered into by an
infant in respect of necessaries including instruction? It
had been argued that such a contract might be good so far
as the consideration was executed, but that it could lot be
enforced so far as it was executory. So far as his Lordship
was concerned he was not aware of any authority for
that proposition, and he thought that the Court was bound
by the decision in Clements v. London and North-Western
Railway (1894, 2 Q.B., 482).

In that case the Court considered the contract as a
whole. Lord Esher said:—”If upon consideration of the
whole agreement there is a manifest advantage to the
infant, he cannot avoid it.” Lord Justice Kay said:—”I
agree with the Divisional Court that, on examination of
the whole contract, it is for the benefit of the infant,
although it contains terms that, standing alone, would not
be for his advantage. There is, therefore, no right on the
part of the infant to repudiate the contract.” Lord Justice
A. L. Smith quoted with approval the judgment of
Lord Justice Fry in De Francesco v. Barnum (45 Ch.D.,
430). “There is another exception which is based on the
desirableness of infants employing themselves in labour;
therefore, where you get a contract for labour and you have
a remuneration of wages, that contract, I think, must be
taken to be, prima facie, binding upon an infant.” Prima
facie, the contract was binding upon the infant. If the
contract fell within the class to which the doctrine of necessaries
applied, and on the whole was for the benefit of the
infant, there was no foundation for the argument that the
infant was not liable for damages. The Court had acted
on that view in Gadd v. Thompson (1911, 1 K.B., 304),
where an infant had been restrained by injunction from
committing a breach of a covenant in an apprenticeship

It only remained, therefore, to consider what was the
nature of the contract. Could it be doubted that playing
in company with so noted a player as the plaintiff was instruction
of the most valuable kind for an infant who
desired to make his living by billiard playing? The Lord
Chief Justice had held that the contract was capable of
being enforced as a contract for necessaries. He (the
Master of the Rolls) entirely agreed with that construction
of the contract looked at by itself. The Lord Chief Justice
then had held that the case came within the doctrine
laid down in Coke on Littelton (172A) and in Clements v.

London and North-Western Railway (supra), and had
given judgment for the plaintiff against the infant. He
(the Master of the Rolls) thought that judgment was perfectly
right, and that the appeal must be dismissed with

The Lords Justices also delivered judgments dismissing
the appeal.

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

Things that Matter in Billiards


In billiard playing, as in golf, and all other, games that
are played with a stationary ball, much depends upon the
attention that is given at the very outset—and preferably
under professional or other competent supervision, to the
primary act of striking. How the cue or club is held and
swung, the position of the body, the direction of the eyes,
and the estimation of strength, are bedrock essentials and
far and away more important than any attempts, whether
successful or unsuccessful, at actual playing. No sane
tutor either of billiards or golf would permit a student to
hit a ball before he had learned how to hold and swing
his cue or club, and no student, who intended to excel,
would dream of attempting to drive or to score before he
had mastered the elementary principles apart from which
any success worth having is impossible of attainment.

Yet, if those who seriously study billiard or golf essentials
at the outset may be reckoned by hundreds those who
plunge blindly and crudely into these games are to be
counted in thousands. Let any public billiard room bear
its testimony to the accuracy of this assertion. Let the
majority of the players be watched and almost every possible
billiard error will be found to be illustrated in the
course of a hundred up. An object ball will be missed
altogether, proving that the player’s body position was
wrong or that he had raised his cue and caused the cue ball
to swerve without adjusting his aim for the emergency; the
white object ball will be lost in a pocket or behind the baulk
line, proving that the striker had not taken the line of its
probable direction or had played too hard or too gently; the
cue ball will be stabbed or stunned when light or high cueing
is essential, proving that no thought had ever been given
to cue ball rotation; and to the “rotten, rotten, rotten,”
of the striker himself the onlooker will feel inclined mentally
to apply an emphatic “hear, hear.”

Under these circumstances a few lines under the head of
“Things That Matter in Billiards” devoted to simple and
profitable methods of initial practice may be found to be
not unacceptable to many readers of The Billiard Monthly.

There is only space to consider, in the present article, three
points, and these are: Cueing, strength, and ball direction.

The fundamentals of stance and cue swing may be learned
without balls, without a table, and even without a cue.

Let the left hand be placed flat On any table or bench with
the fingers and thumb together and the knuckles be raised.

That is the bridge, and the cue will pass over the knuckle
of the thumb, the tip of which may be raised a little if
preferred. The next thing to observe is that the right foot,
with the leg straight but easy, is in a straight line behind the
hand and that the left foot, a little out to the left, is pointing
towards the hand. Now the right elbow is to be raised
until the upper arm is exactly horizontal and the fore-arm
hanging perpendicularly from it. Meanwhile the face is
broadside to the hand, with both eyes in equal focus, and
thus, hand, chin, elbow, and the ball of the right foot
occupy an identical straight line. If now a billiard ball
were placed on the table nine inches in advance of the left
hand and a cue, with its tip touching the ball were placed
in the right hand in its state of pendulum suspension, the
exact position at which the cue should be lightly held would
be automatically discovered, and a little gentle swinging of
the tip at equal distances behind and before the ball’s imaginary
position might be indulged in.

So much for the body position and cueing, and now for
the vital question of strength. Numberless degrees of
strength are used by indifferent players, but it is doubtful
whether more than four or five are ever required, and these
may be learned for all time by a little preliminary practice
on a good full-size table. For the purposes of this article
we will call them Nos. 1, 2, 3, and A strength, and make
them correspond to a table length of travel of the cue ball,
with one cushion intervening for each length. At the outset
a chalk mark should be made six inches above the
pyramid spot and the three balls placed in a line across the
table at this point a few inches apart. No. 1 strength
should bring the balls back to the baulk line off the baulk
end cushion; No. 2 strength, played (with slightly more
than “stringing” strength) from the baulk line should
bring them again to the baulk line off the top and the
baulk cushion; No. 3 strength to the same position after
three cushion contacts; and No. 4 strength again to the
baulk line after four cushion contacts. After the strokes
have been perfected in order, they should be taken irregularly,
and then the principle should be applied in the case of
No. 1 to the cross top loser or the loser from the middle
pocket to the spot; in the case of No. 2 to the in-off from
the pyramid spot; in the case of No. 3 to the long in-off
from the centre spot; and in the case of No. 4, to a forcing
stroke into a top pocket. The extension of the same system
and principle to other requirements and intended positionings
would follow, as a matter of course until proper
strength selection became instinctive and automatic.

There remains to be considered the question of ball direction,
which is a great stumbling block with many amateurs.

Professionals develop a species of double-sight in this particular
as the result of sustained observation and experience,
but anyone who has never seen a billiard table can easily
be shown how to forecast the run of an object ball. Such
an one would only need to remember that the ball must
take a direct course from the point at which it is struck and
that the aim must always be twice as for from the centre
of the ball as viewed direct, as is the distance from such
centre of the part of the ball to be struck. Thus, when
the point to be struck is half an inch from the centre as
viewed from the position of the cue ball, the aim must be
at the edge, whereas if the part to be struck is the extreme
edge, the aim must be an inch wide of the edge, and so on.

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

The Billiard Room as A Social Rendezvous

Some serious-minded persons were (says The Gentlewoman)
discussing the lamentable growth of card gambling
among women and the disastrous effect it is producing upon
the morals, the manners, and the purses of those who constantly
indulge in the habit. Various alternatives were suggested,
such as devotion to philanthropic work, outdoor
exercise, public service on boards, and so forth, when it was
pointed out that these occupations, admirable as they were,
Could not be continued at all hours, and that it was highly
necessary that women should be furnished with some sort
of indoor recreation which should take their minds completely
away from the more serious duties of life. Cards
being barred on account of their unhealthy excitement, some
one mildly hinted at Billiards. The idea was taken up
with enthusiasm, and in a few weeks’ time it became so
popular that in a number of houses the deserted billiard
room became night after night the centre of life and

It is remarkable how the billiard room in most houses
has been neglected. A couple of decades ago it was the
favourite resort of men and women after dinner, but the
fair sex never made any great show at the game, perhaps
for the reason that they preferred the gossip to be found
there to the game itself Yet what better indoor game
can be found? Every muscle of the body is brought into
activity, the eye is trained to accurate sighting, deftness of
touch is obtained, and nothing can be more graceful than
the sight of a beautiful woman bending over a table to take
her shot. Moreover, there 1s nothing of the rancour of
cards about the game, because very rarely is it played for
money, and no pastime is better calculated to foster a fine
sporting courtesy.

There is no reason why Billiards should not be the evening
corollary of golf. One can conceive of few better
training grounds for the “putting” green than the learning
of the strength of a table. District clubs could be formed
for handicaps. Mayfair, with its many sumptuous private
billiard rooms, might lead the way, and there is no reason
why, in these days of rapid inter-communication through
motor cars, country matches should not take place. There
is the germ of a movement in the suggestion, which might
lead to a much healthier way of killing time than the long
sedentary hours at cards with their heavy liabilities and
nerve-wracking anxieties. If only a few distinguished
leaders of society would take it up a revolution might be
effected in the postprandial habits of women, which should
be accompanied by untold benefits to the general health of
the sex.

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

A Billiard Oracle

An Instrument that ‘Answers’ Any Billiard Question

As considerable interest appears to have been raised in
billiard and general circles regarding the “Billiard Pointer,”
evidenced by some remarkable articles that have lately
appeared in several of the leading newspapers, we have
deemed that it might be useful to present this month
an exact photographic representation of this instrument, by
means of which Colonel Western is able to arrive at such
closely-reasoned and accurate conclusions with regard to the
behaviour of all
classes of billiard
balls under all sorts
of conditions.

It will be observed
that the pointer consists
of five flat steel
arms, which are
moved on the pantograph
principle and
can be locked in any
position by means of
the wing nut at the
top of No. 2 arm.


The Billiard Pointer

The small hole in
No. 2 arm marks the
position of the object
ball and the arm
itself indicates the
direction taken by
the object ball if a
correct contact is
made. No. 2 arm
shows the direction
of the cue ball previous
to contact, and
the small hole at the
joint in this arm
marks the position of
the cue ball at the
moment of its coming
into contact with
the object ball. The
various aims and
contacts are provided
for by the scales on
No. 1 and No. 3
arms, those on the
former fixing the
points of contact and
aim, and those on
latter the angles of

We should perhaps
mention here that
the slide on No. 2
arm, which shows
the exact point to
the one-sixty-fourth
of an inch where the
object ball has been,
or should be, struck,
does not stand out very clearly in the photograph, but it
can be seen at the ½ division.

The cue half-ball angles and the angles at all divisions
are, of course, shifting quantities according to the nature of
the balls and cueing, but taking 35 degrees as an average,
a cord stretched from the small hole in No. 2 arm marked
P, to 35 on the scale on No. 3 arm, will always show the
exact direction in which the cue ball will travel at whatever
division it may be struck, when No. 2 arm is pointing to
the starting position of the cue ball, and No. 1 arm is
pointing in the direction to which the object ball should
go, or when the slide on No. 1 arm is standing at
the division at which it is desired to strike the object ball.

All the operations are purely mechanical and no calculation
or knowledge of any sort is required.

There is one further
point to which
we must allude, of
which most of the
reviewers that have
referred to this ingenious
have fought rather
shy, probably because
it is a subject
regarding which so
extremely little is
known. All the
marks below about
37 on No. 3 arm,
which is the upright
one on the right of
the photograph, refer
to the SCREW
angles, and precisely
as with the natural
angles, and again
without any calculations
of any sort, the
path that the cue
ball will follow when
struck with screw
under any, and
every, condition is
pointed out. Enormous
possibilities are
here indicated. It
will hardly be questioned
that screw is
very little used except
at very close
strokes because
players do not know
exactly what will
happen, or exactly
where they should
strike the object ball
to produce a desired
result. Players have
the power and the
skill, but not the
knowledge. With
the knowledge which
the “Pointer” supplies,
the whole table
is opened up, instead
of play being confined
to a few specially-known angles. We foresee great
results when this is realized.

Finally, the authors claim, which as far as our experience
goes is justified, that the “Pointer” will answer any question
regarding how a stroke can be made or has been made,
suggests to us that it is entitled to the cognomen of the
“Billiard Oracle,” with, we think, a greater pretence to
that designation than the oracles of old, who might answer
but were not always right, and we have consequently so
styled it in our heading. It has at all events answered
two hitherto unsolved problems, viz., the relative angles of
the different natures of balls set forth in our last issue, and
the correct positions of balls for true half-ball strokes, and,
as far as we can see, it is quite capable of answering any
other conundrums relating to the direction of balls that may
be required.

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

Billiard Players in Council

Is the Bonzoline or Crystalate Throw-off Greater?

To the Editor.

I have read with interest Col. Western’s article in this
month’s issue of The Billiard Monthly, but he has overlooked
the fact that different sets of billiard balls, though
of the same material, often throw different angles. Taking
ivory balls first, I remember years ago playing with a
set, the half-ball angle of which was quite as wide as that
of average bonzoline balls, and on the other hand a professional—
I believe it was Cook—has told me that he once
played a match with ivory balls which threw so narrow an
angle, that when playing the long in-off from the D with
the object white on the centre spot, the cue ball had to be
placed on a spot nearly 6 inches—instead of the customary
3½ inches—from the end of the D line. Indeed, it is a matter
of knowledge that professionals often speak of a certain
set of ivory balls as being wide-angle or narrow-angle balls
as the case may be.

Again, good players who have played with many different
sets of bonzolines or crystalates, are well aware that there
is often a considerable difference in the throw-off angles of
two sets of balls of the same size and make.

It would appear that Col. Western’s exhaustive tests have
been entirely confined to three sets of balls—one of ivory,
one of bonzoline, and one of crystalate—otherwise he would
not have made the error of stating that, contrary to the
general belief, bonzoline balls, instead of throwing a wider
angle than crystalates, throw a narrower one. I do not for
a moment doubt that this is the case with the sets which
Col. Western used in his experiments, but this is certainly
not my experience, nor is it the general one. I feel sure
that Col. Western will readily allow that the angle which is
thrown by any set of balls—not in degrees and minutes but
to practically the centre of the pocket—can be found by any
decent player—say a player who regularly makes sixties and
seventies—without recourse to mechanical devices. A few
trials by such a player of the long in-off from the D with
an object ball on the centre spot is all that is necessary to
discover which of two sets of balls throws the wider angle,
and if, as Col. Western remarks, the general opinion is
that bonzolines throw a wider angle than crystalates—this
opinion, of course, refers to the average balls of each make
—he may safely take it that this opinion—which indeed is
not an opinion but knowledge—is founded on truth.

My own experience derived from games played with many
sets of all three kinds of balls is that average crystalates
come off just slightly wider than average ivories, and average
bonzolines just slightly wider than average crystalates.

Col. Western’s experiments have all been made at No. 2
strength, but such a stroke played without screw or side is
a somewhat different stroke in a game of billiards from
what it must be in his experiments. The reason of this is
because a No. 2 stroke is a fastish one, and for such a
stroke without side or screw the cue ball would almost
always be struck well above the centre with the result that
the curve after contact would be fairly pronounced.

Like Col, Western I have absolutely no financial interest
of any sort in any make of ball, but I cannot help wondering
what the makers of crystalate balls will say if they read
that a crystalate ball diverges from the object ball 3 inches
more in 5 feet than an ivory ball when the contact is halfball,
and 4 inches more when the contact is quarter-ball.

Col. Western is wrong when he states that the recognised
standard size of a billiard ball is 2 1/16. The standard
size is 2 1/16 to 2 3/32. Consequently the composition balls,
2 5/64 and 2 3/32, with which Col. Western made his tests,
though larger than the ivory balls used by him, were not
over-size but strictly standard. As a matter of fact, professionals
when making a match often stipulate for 2 5/64
balls, which size is, of course, the mean between the
extreme limits of standard size.

In conclusion, may I state how very delighted I have
been to come across the current number of The Billiard
Monthly so far away from home.

Riso LEVI.

Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo.

Dec. 10th, 1912.

Suggested Reversal of Red and White Ball Values

To the Editor.

I have a suggestion to make that I think is worth consideration,
as it appeals to the amateur style of play. As
the ruling of the game stands now, the winning hazard is
barred practically; the cannons are limited; and they are
talking of checking the losing hazards If they do, then the
whole of the game is penalized. My opinion is, and it is
backed by the majority of West End club members—that
the only thing that should be barred is the push stroke, the
spot, cannons, and losing hazard remaining in, as in the
original game. If professionals excel at certain shots let
them in their matches or tournaments to make their own

It is the billiard-interested public that keeps the game up.

What would the professionals do without them. Therefore
the rules should be made for billiard players generally.

Now for my suggestion. Instead of the red ball counting
3, let the white count 3 and the red ball 2—that is all. If
a player is good at losers he naturally will play on the highest
scoring ball, which would then be the white, and he
cannot regain position by potting that ball as he could at
present do with the red when his strength was faulty. The
white should be the highest counting, not the red. The
white is penalized if potted by remaining dead, the red is
spotted. Therefore the red should be regarded as the minor.


Head Marker, Junior Carlton Club.

Dec. 7, 1912.

[The suggestion is a sound one, but even this would
involve a certain limitation and change, and personally we
should prefer to see the full game played by amateurs, with
no legitimate stroke barred.—Ed. B.M.]

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

Anecdotes About Dawson

(By George Nelson, in The Yorkshire Evening Post.)

Charles Dawson’s reappearance in London reminds me
that just before his retirement, some four years ago, I played
the Yorkshireman six day games, and during that time
Dawson mentioned some humorous reminiscences of his
long career. Dawson told how, before he became a professional,
he once won both the first and second prizes offered
in a big Christmas handicap played at Huddersfield. Asked
how he accomplished this apparently impossible feat, he
explained it by saying he won the first prize, and the man
who won the second sold it to someone who offered it as
first prize in another handicap which he, Dawson, also won.

Dawson and Peall once got a week’s engagement in
Paris to play English billiards. Dawson told me he did
not wish to play there any more. English billiards was too
deadly dull for the excitement-loving French. The only
thing they would look at was pyramid playing, for they
could understand a ball being potted, and, besides, they
could bet on the short games. So pyramids it had to be
and two French bookmakers were installed, who quickly
became more important personages than the players. Before
each game the players had to wait whilst the two bookmakers
invited the public to back M. Dawson or M. Peall.

As soon as all the money was got on, the game had to be

I think Dawson has played for more money in England
than any living player, but he did not fancy the French
style of betting, which treated the players much as though
they were numbers in the game of rouge et noir.

A more kindly experience of Dawson’s was at Harrogate,
a place he was very fond of staying at. On one of his
visits he strolled into the billiard room of the hotel he was
staying in, and there encountered a party of five monks
from one of the conventual establishments. One of them,
not knowing Dawson, challenged him to a game. Dawson
declined at first, but, on being pressed, offered to play all
five of the holy fathers a 100 up level. These gentlemen,
who were fair players, thought they would teach such a
presumptuous player a lesson, so promptly took him at his
word. All the five followed each other, and did their best
to leave the balls, and only mustered 35 at the first attempt.

Dawson then just missed a cannon and the monks next, by
more careful manipulation, took their total to 76, but left
Dawson a good opening, which he utilized to get position
for the “spot” stroke, from which he ran to game. On
being told who Dawson was they were highly amused and
delighted at what they evidently thought was a very good

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

Billiards: the Strokes of the Game

We have received Part III. of what may almost be termed
a monumental work on the game of billiards. Even if it
be true that no two strokes in the game of billiards are
alike, we should still conjecture the belief that they must
all be here, for even in this third part there are no fewer
than 422 diagrams, each accompanied by precise wording,
which is further elaborated in the general letterpress. Altogether
the three handsome quarto volumes run to nearly
800 large pages, in which no space is lost, as the thousand
or so of diagrams are all embedded in the text. If a page
had been devoted to each, the entire work must have run
to something like three times its already liberal bulk.

The author, Mr. Riso Levi, has been engaged on his
work for several years, and he now says that if he had
known how heavy a task he was undertaking he might
have hesitated before beginning. All the same, we consider
that he has rendered a distinct service to billiards by
his nine years’ work, which now places in the hands of
students of the game an answer to most queries than are
likely to arise in the mind during practice.

The subjects dealt with in Part III. are:—Screw cannons
from the D; long distance cannons—object balls close together;
cannons—hitting a cushion first, gathering cannons; cannons off double baulks; nursery cannons and close
cannons; rocking cannons; pendulum cannons; cradle cannons; the jamb stroke; getting position for a drop cannon;
drop cannons; getting position for top-of-the-table play;
top-of-the-table play; pique and masse strokes; single
and double baulks; safety play; some little-known strokes;
and transmitted side and cushion-imparted side.

An interesting and useful portion of the volume is the
prefatory pages, in the course of which the author reviews
such intimately interesting points as centre pocket in-offs
(in which the avoidance of side is counselled); the down-to-the-cue pose (which is advocated); the ball to look at last
(which the author thinks should be the object ball); and
the best class of balls (in which matter compositions are

If the very exhaustiveness of this work should tend to
act as a deterrent to some purchasers two points might profitably
be borne in mind. One of these is that the volumes
are extremely valuable for reference as well as for sustained
reading, whilst the diagrams, with their brief illustrative
foot-notes are a separate and easily-grasped work in themselves.

Measurements are given in all cases, and the student
who glanced through these clearly-pictured strokes—in
nearly all cases leading to subsequent good position—and
made notes of those which he regarded as offering some
new suggestion, would not be long in deriving substantial
benefit from his investigation.

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

A Few Cue Tips.—XXVII

  • Quick play is better than unduly slow play, if only for
    the reason that it engenders confidence instead of nervousness
    and indecision, but a stroke should never be made,
    however quick the play, until a clear decision has been
    taken and the proper body attitude assumed.
  • The very best class of private practice is to place the balls
    in a given position and endeavour from that position to
    make as long a break as possible. This compels attention
    and care with every stroke, apart from which good billiards
    cannot be played.
  • If inclined at any time to believe that you can strike a
    ball accurately, try the following experiment. Place a
    white ball on the pyramid (or even the centre) spot and put
    one of the other balls on each side of it. Now get a thick
    postcard and, with your finger on the spotted ball press the
    card gently down on each side of this ball so that, when
    the central ball is removed, the distance between the remaining
    two balls is 2 1/8 inches or slightly more. Now try how
    many times you can send the cue ball through this space
    without touching either of the balls.
  • It is usually believed that the angle of incidence on a
    billiard table cushion equals the angle of reflection. It does
    not, however, even with gentle strokes. To prove this
    make two marks on a bottom side cushion, one exactly
    midway between the centres of the two pockets and one
    an inch below it. If you aim at the lower mark the ball
    will strike the upper one—or the exact centre of the cushion
    — but it will reach the lower shoulder of the opposite corner
    pocket instead of its centre.
  • In thick run-throughs with side the tendency is to deflect
    the cue slightly, but if apparently central aim is taken the
    side corrects the inaccuracy. Central striking and accurate
    aim are, however, preferable, as slight differences in
    angles can be provided for in this way.
  • When in the cross in-off the cue ball is anywhere below
    the lower shoulder of the top pocket running side is much
    better than check side. The stroke is easier and the subsequent
    middle pocket position is surer and better.
  • A treacherous stroke is the quick thin in-off designed to
    bring the object ball out of baulk. The quicker the stroke,
    especially at short range, the finer must be the contact, or
    the near shoulder of the pocket will inevitably be taken.
    These strokes are better taken without side unless the pocket
    is very blind.
  • Occasional practice should be given to short gathering
    cannons off a cushion. Put two balls near together, a
    couple of feet from a cushion and try to preserve a series
    of cannons by sending the object ball to the cushion and
    back to the other two.
  • A stroke to be much cultivated is the short stun stroke,
    by means of which an object ball can easily be sent two
    table lengths, whilst the cue ball travels but a few inches
    and disturbs the cannon ball only slightly. This gathering
    stroke is quite simple, although viewed with some awe by
    many players


The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

Questions and Answers

Are Ivories or Compositions Easier to Play With?

206.—”Why is it always suggested that it is easier to play
with composition balls than with ivory?”

Taking the game
all round, we doubt whether the fact is as stated. Although
there may be a little more latitude for error with the extra composition
throw-off in half-ball play, the run-through shot is
rendered proportionately more risky. Even in red ball play the
advantage has always seemed to us to be slight, so far as the
making of long breaks is concerned, as the player who is so
deficient in strength or direction as to get outside the wide latitude
of the half-ball, or easy shot, area is not very likely to
make long breaks under any conditions.

Putting Life Into the Stroke

207.—”Seated in a club room recently I amused myself by
noting the ways in which the players at the different tables
addressed the ball, and I noted the following distinct and, in
many cases, opposite methods. One player just placed his cue
almost touching the ball, drew it once back, and delivered the
stroke. He played in this way every time. Another, without
putting the cue near to the ball at all, swung the cue several
times, and in one of the swings—sometimes the third, sometimes
the fourth, fifth, or sixth—sent it at the ball. A third gave the
cue several preliminary swings and then stopped it dead before
making his stroke. Surely all these methods cannot be right,
and I should be glad to know which is favoured by the best

There is no general rule and never can be. The
same thing occurs in golf, and it is simply a reflection of the
personal equation. There are no two billiard professionals even
who address the ball alike. John Roberts gets swift but sure
alignment and then draws the cue twice back, once for strength
and once for the stroke. Stevenson does not unsimilarly, but
with a lower pose of the body, and an accentuation of the cue
action at its penultimate approach to the ball. Inman seems to
be perfecting his aim at each successive swing and is loath to
let go until quite assured of his accuracy. On the whole, we
think that the best average system is two or three even and gentle
swings and then an almost stationary, but slightly “trembling,”
poise of the cue near to the ball before withdrawing it for the
final and decisive swing.

Training the Eye

208.—”Although I have played billiards for some years, I am,
not even yet sure of the half-ball and other angles. What is the
best course to adopt to improve in this respect?”

There are
several fixed positions on the table that are, as nearly as possible,
half-ball strokes and these should be practised regularly, especially
as they afford a varied range of strokes, with the object
ball both near and at a distance. Put the red ball on the middle
spot of baulk and, striking high, play a gentle half-ball into
middle or baulk pocket from back of the D and baulk corner
spot respectively. Notice the angle at, say, eighteen inches
beyond the object ball in the direct line to the pocket, and adopt
this method with all strokes. At this distance all strokes look
alike, which is not the case when the full distance to be travelled
by the cue ball is taken into account. The other set positions
from baulk are 24 inches up the centre of the table for stroke
into middle pocket from baulk end spot; centre table spot for
stroke into top pocket from position four inches inside baulk
end spot; pyramid spot for top pocket from baulk end spot; and
billiard spot for top pocket from upper shoulder of middle or
top pocket.

Imperfect Aim

209.—”In making a long loser into a top corner pocket from
the centre spot I find that I get into the right-hand pocket better
by aiming a trifle full and into the left-hand pocket by aiming
a trifle fine. Can you kindly explain this”

Your body positioning
is probably at fault and you need to stand an inch or
so to the right. Try the following plan: Put the cue ball on the
baulk centre spot and settle down in your ordinary way for a
straight drive up the centre of the table. But before letting the
cue go, look down on to the rail to see where your cue is in
relation to the spot in the rail. You will probably find it on the
left; and we should be interested to hear whether such is the

Finishing a Break Handicap

210.—”I should feel much obliged if you would settle the undernoted
point in a billiard handicap. A. plays B. 100 up and gives
him a 5 break. Both players stand at 99. A. makes a cannon.
A. contends that he has won the game, and pleads that it is the
usual custom that the player giving the break need not complete
it when it does not require the full break to end the game. B.
contends that A. must make five before he scores and finishes
the game.”

Clearly A. should finish his break or not score it.

Judging Angles

211.—”Your column ‘A Few Cue Tips’ is very instructive and
interesting to all amateur billiard players. If, one week, you
could show us how to make the different shots on the billiard
table and as a guide quote the different spots on the table,
similar to the last paragraph of the December issue, it would be
appreciated. For amateurs it is very difficult to remember how
many inches you have to hit the cushion to get a certain position,
whereas you could remember to play over one of the spots
from a certain point, which seems much easier.”

Perhaps the
answer to Question No. 209 in the present issue may assist you.

In taking a cushion, either before or after contact, with another
ball the thing to do is to get what may be termed an equal angle,
i.e., let two imaginary lines drawn from the cue and object
balls to the cushion present to the eye the same divergence from
the cushion.

An Error

212.—”I notice an apparent discrepancy in the article re
‘Angles’ on page 1 of the December issue, if the figures given
are compared with those at top of first column on page 2. I
venture to point this out as the subject has interested me for some

Many thanks. It was purely an error, and the figures
given in the body of the article were the correct ones.

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1913

Jottings of the Month

  • Reece has followed up his defeat of Inman in Australia
    by defeating him also in this country. The result of his
    money match with his old rival after a fortnight’s play at
    Leicester Square, ending on Dec. 23, being Reece (rec.
    1,250) 18,000, v. Inman 16,293, or a victory on actual points
    scored of 457. In the course of the play Reece scored his
    record break of 740 against his best previous break of 692,
    which was also made against Inman, and whom Reece has
    now defeated for the first time in a money match.
  • Harry Taylor, the Leeds boy player, has been making
    some excellent breaks during the month, both in the Leeds
    £100 Handicap, and in subsequent matches against G. Nelson.
  • On the afternoon of December 24 the representatives of
    the sporting press, who so ably chronicle the daily proceedings
    at the Soho Square tournament throughout the season,
    had a handicap in the Salon on their own account, with
    heats of 100 up, and the winner of the final was Mr. George
    Reid (rec. 30), who beat Mr. F. A. Poxon (rec. 40) by 29 in
    100 up.
  • In aid of the funds of the Mount Vernon Hospital, Hampstead,
    a charity handicap, kindly organized by Mr. L. V.
    Jones, a member of the Stock Exchange Billiard Association,
    has been progressing during the month at the Black
    Lion, High Road, Kilburn, and the second round is commencing
    with the New Year.
  • A keen match in which much interest was manifested,
    took place at the Soho Square Salon on December 27 between
    George Clarke, head marker at the Junior Carlton
    Club and Fred Bass, head marker at the Conservative
    Club. In an afternoon and evening match of 1,200 up,
    Clarke proved victor by 1,200 to 1.027.
  • The Press Handicap commenced in the Minor Hall at
    Leicester Square on Dec. 30 with the largest number of
    entries on record.
  • Claude Falkiner has been doing well in the matter of
    breaks during the month. Playing against Miss Ruby
    Roberts, to whom he conceded half the game in 9,000 up,
    he made amongst other breaks one of 365 and another of
    354. Sparrow also made a good series of runs when playing
    against an amateur at Woking.
  • Mr. A. R. Wisdom, an ex-amateur champion, was one
    of those who took part at the Palace Hotel, Southend-on-
    Sea, in a benefit to J. B. Clark, the head marker.
  • Miss Hilda Morley, the seventeen year old daughter of
    the Cheshire champion was, as stated in last month’s number,
    one of the competitors in the Manchester Amateur
    Charity Tournament. Receiving 290 in 600 Miss Morley
    won two heats in excellent style and was only defeated in
    the third round after an exciting contest by six points by
    Mr. R. M. Metcalf, who was also the winner of the final.
    The other finalist was Mr. Allen Lonsdale, son of the ex-amateur
  • A welcome return to billiards was made on Dec. 23 at
    Leicester Square by C. Dawson, who met C. Harverson in
    a level game of 7,000 up for £25 a-side. It was in the
    same hall that Dawson some years ago made his great
    break of 823 under Rimington-Wilson rules. In the present
    instance Harverson won by 1,271 points.
  • Play in the London Charity Handicap is to commence
    on Jan. 2.
  • Professional players, including M. Inman, T. Reece, W.
    Cook, and C. Harverson, are understood to be in favour of
    a restriction of red ball losing hazard sequences, and it is
    stated that a representation in this matter has been forwarded
    by them to the Billiards Control Club.
  • The Amateur Championship of Leeds has again fallen to
    Mr. A. W. A. Smith, who defeated Mr. B. Hardwick by
    6 points in a match of 500 up.
  • W. Osborne, of Leicester, and E. C. Breed, of Derby,
    will again play for the championship of the Midlands.
  • The suggested amalgamation of the Billiards Control
    Club and the Billiard Association has been decided to be
    undesirable at the present moment.
  • The first round of the Stock Exchange Handicap was
    completed on December 24, and the second round is now in
  • The benefit to M. Clarke at the Palmerston Restaurant
    on Dec. 16 and 17 was of the most gratifying and successful
    nature. On the Monday Mr. S. Harwitz and Mr. P. Wood
    engaged in a match of 600 up, the former winning by 75,
    and on the following evening M. Inman, the present champion
    of English billiards, kindly played Mr. V. L. Harrington
    a match of 300 up and ran to game with 298 unfinished
    at his third visit to the table. M. Clarke is, we are glad
    to hear, improving in health.
  • The Christmas Handicap at the Albert Club was won by
    Mr. Bratt by three points.
  • There was a very interesting and successful flying handicap
    at Soho Square on Dec. 23 on the occasion of the benefit
    of the referee of the Salon, Arthur Williamson, whose
    popularity was well attested by a hall crowded to the doors.
  • The professionals who kindly took part were T. Reece, T.
    Aiken, T. Newman, B. Elphick, W. H. Sparrow, E. Hoskin,
    and A. Williamson himself. The honours went to B.
    Elphick, receiving 23, who in the final beat T. Reece, owing
    10, by 9.5. An interesting feature, and one that proved very
    popular, was the sealing of each handicap so that no player
    knew when he had won until the allotted moment arrived.
  • Inman and Diggle were unable to take part through absence
    in another part of the country. In addition to the excellent
    programme proper, the extremely clever hand stroke
    billiardist—R. de Kuyper—gave one of his extraordinary
    and fascinating displays, which was loudly applauded.
  • Breed and Pindar are placing a match of. 7,000 level at
    Leeds for £100 a-side.
  • In his match against Aiken, Newman made a 380 break
    but in the match as a whole Aiken’s fine and consistent
    play was too much for him, notwithstanding the 750 points
  • The Leeds £100 handicap resulted in a victory for J.
    Harris, of Manchester, who defeated Mr. Harry Virr, the
    amateur champion, in the last stage.
  • In the Stock Exchange Handicap, Mr. W. H. L. Goolden,
    the champion of the “House,” who owed 300, was
    defeated by Mr. M. Best, who received 10, by 106 points.
  • It was Mr. Goolden who last year defeated Mr. Colin
    Smith in a memorable match by one point.
  • The Grays are stated to be due in Melbourne (Australia)
    on March 3, while Stevenson is expected in London on Feb.
    28. Meanwhile Stevenson v. Gray are due to open in Calcutta
    on Jan. 6, where they have several engagements.
  • The business of Messrs. Cox & Yeman, Ltd., we understand,
    is now carried on in conjunction with that of Messrs.
    Burroughes & Watts, Ltd., Soho Square, W.C, and at that
    address only.
  • The Northern qualifying round of the Billiard Association
    Amateur Championship will commence at Manchester on
    February 10. The semi-final and final will also be played
    in Manchester, beginning on March 10.
  • During the month Falkiner has twice beaten his own previous
    best break of 315 on a standard table, with 354 and
    365, in each instance against Miss Roberts.
  • A snooker club has been formed at the Bedford Head
    Hotel, and held its first competition recently for prizes presented
    by Mr. J. P. Mannock and others. The winners
    were C. Wilson, J. Roe, and S. Marks, with L. A. Whitby
    as the winner of the highest proportionate break prize.
  • The Sporting Life understands that S. H. Fry, amateur
    champion in 1893, 1896, and 1900, and who temporarily forsook
    billiards to earn distinction at golf, contemplates competing
    in the forthcoming Billiard Association championships.
    He is said to be hard at practice with this object in
  • Entries for the Billiards Control Club championship (amateur)
    closed on Dec. 31. The event, which commences on
    Jan. 16, is open to members of the B.C.C. and leading
    London and provincial clubs, and also Oxford and Cambridge
    Universities. The present holder is Mr. H. C. Virr,
    of Bradford, the British and English amateur champion.