English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : January, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : January, 1911

Questions and Answers

Point of Aim in Screw-Backs

10.—” I shall be obliged if you will explain the second
‘Cue Tip’ in your No. 2 issue of December, as I cannot understand
it: ‘The point of aim in screw and tight cushion kiss
strokes is where two lines at equal angle converge from the cue
ball to the objective.’ ‘Two lines at equal angle ‘—at equal
angle to what other line? It can’t be to one another, as they
can only form one angle. ‘Two lines at equal angle converge
from the cue ball.’ From what parts of the cue ball do these
converging lines start? ‘Objective’—does this mean the third
ball?’

The aim in fuller than half-ball screw and tight
cushion strokes is on the surface of the object ball on an
imaginary line drawn from its centre, which bisects the angle
made by two other lines converging upon such centre from the
centres of the cue ball and the second objective.

Weight of Cue

11.—”What is the correct weight of cue to use, and why?
May I add that your ‘Questions and Answers’ and ‘Cue Tips’
are most helpful to any player who studies the game?”

The
weight used and recommended by professionals is 15½ ounces,
and they all appear to adopt this as an average as time goes on
whatever predilections they may start with and which have
ranged from very light, to abnormally heavy, cues. Our own
view is that, so far as possible, everything in connection with
billiards should be standardized. The question of the weight of
the cue is really one of microscopical importance, provided that
the same weight is always used by the same person and that the
cue is well balanced. The loose holding and unrestrained swinging
of the cue are the really essential things. A ball will run
two lengths of a match table when the unaccentuated weight of
a light cue is brought to bear upon it. On the other hand, if a
light cue be unintentionally clutched or raised in striking disaster
without end can be produced.

The Value of Lessons

12.—” Is it, in your opinion, really essential that an amateur
desiring to be a good player should take lessons in billiards?
I know many very good amateurs who rather pride themselves
on the fact that they have never had a lesson.”

There are
natural geniuses in every game, but, as a rule, tuition at the
very beginning, whether in billiards, golf, cricket, or what not,
is of enormous value. Let us enforce this fact by reference to
one billiard stroke only—the long loser from hand off the centre
spot. It is the stroke with which every billiard tutor takes the
measure of his pupil at the commencement of the first lesson and
very few stand the test. The amateur who can get this stroke
and bring the object ball round off three cushions into position
for—at will—the middle pocket loser or the drop cannon after
the balls have been.spotted has little to learn in cue swing, aim,
and free strength, but how many are there who can do it?

Even professionals sometimes fail with this exacting and all-embracing
shot.

Swerving Shots

13.—”Frequently when the cue ball is tucked under a cushion
and I have to play on an object ball at some distance I miss
entirely, although my aim seems to be all right. Can you explain
this and say what is the remedy? I am not referring to a stroke
played with side or screw, which might, of course, cause the ball
to swerve.”

You may think so, but you are evidently putting
screw on by elevating the cue, and in making such a stroke—
or whenever the cue is raised—a fuller aim must be taken to
compensate for the swerve. Most useful effects are to be obtained
in this way at close range also. For instance, from tight under
the top cushion, at several inches distance from the pocket, you
can make the cross in-off with a gentle half-ball contact and
leave the red over the middle pocket.

“Billiard” or”Billiards?”

14.—”What is the correct adjective form of billiards? Should
one say ‘billiard’ players or ‘billiards’ players? In short, is
there a singular number to the word billiards?”

Nuttall gives
“billiard” as the adjective and “billiards” as the noun plural,
and this is confirmed by Murray, the now recognised authority.
Still, we agree with you that there seems to be some anomaly
here. A billiard player is a player of billiards, whilst a bowls
player is a player of bowls. Then why not “billiards” player?
Still, custom rules in most of these matters.

Barred Strokes

15.—”Do I gather from your article on ‘The Disabilities
Under Which Amateurs Labour’ that you are opposed to the
barring of any stroke whatever in billiards? How about the
push stroke?”

We have never regarded a push as a stroke.
As well might a golf ball be guided into the hole with the iron
instead of being struck. And we are in favour of the limitation
of safety misses to one, and should not be sorry if even a single
miss could be barred. This is not, however, practicable, as a
miss is sometimes made involuntarily as well as intentionally.

The anchor or rocking cannons have also, we think, been properly
limited, as they are quite exceptional, a shade freakish,
and have little or no educative value. Twenty-five consecutive
ball to ball cannons can still be made, and the amateur who
knows how to make these should, if he wants to continue, also
know how to get an indirect cannon towards the end of the first
sequence and so start afresh. To sum up our views in a sentence,
we should say that no stroke which is without adventitious
aid from cushions and which requires for its execution (like the
spot stroke and the middle pocket in-off) a variety of contacts,
strengths, and other cue manipulation, should be barred from
the game.

Unintentional Misses

16.—”In a game with a friend the other evening I missed
twice successively, although honestly trying for the shot each
time, and without my opponent having scored in his own attempt,
although he hit the object ball which I twice failed to do. He
claimed to have the balls spotted. Was he right?”

You
seem to have been having an exhilarating game. Yes, it was a
foul under Rule 9 of the Billiards Control Club, as it infringed
the letter, although not the spirit, of that rule. If consecutive
unintentional misses were allowed to pass an intentional second
miss might be claimed to be unintentional by an unscrupulous
player, although this would not, of course, often happen.


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