History and general playing objective
One of the safest sports throughout the world alongside pool, snooker is a game for two teams or two players. It is widely accepted to have had its origins in India. It shows influences from English billiards, which is a game using two cue balls and just one object ball. However, this is not where snooker descended from. Croquet is considered the original inspiration for snooker.
Croquet involves colored balls driven through hoops in the ground using a mallet. This makes it easy to see how croquet really is the inspiration behind snooker, which uses a table with pockets into which colored balls are driven using a cue.
When adopted for indoor play, snooker first involved balls propelled with a wooden head or curved metal called a mace, which was attached to the end of a narrow wooden handle. Because of how the size of a mace made it challenging to get accurate shots and play, a lot of people chose to turn the handle around and just use the narrow side for striking the ball.
That is how today’s cue sticks came to have their current design, which yields more efficient results.
General playing setup and various snooker trivia
Snooker involves the use of cues to drive some colored balls into pockets with the objective of getting the highest points. A cue ball is also used to pot or hit an object ball to get it into a pocket.
Doing this also involves shooting the object balls in order starting with a red one and then succeeded by another hue, and then on to bag consecutive points or a break. A red ball is worth a single point; a yellow one is two, a green ball is three, a brown ball four, a blue ball is five, a pink one six, and the black ball seven.
The highest break one can get has the black ball potted after the red one and then hitting the other colors with success one after the other. The maximum break is called a 147.
Both male and female competitions in snooker are held all over. That said, the world’s first recorded ‘female’ Snooker champ was actually a man. While Frances Anderson ruled the female snooker territory for around a quarter of a century by winning all the major tourneys in the female circuit, it was later discovered that the player was a male by the name of Orie Anderson.
This was only exposed during ‘her’ death when the undertaker at the mortuary discovered ‘she’ was a ‘he.’
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry has been one of the game’s all-time greats. He used the same cue for all the major competitions he took part in. Hendry’s famous cue was brought out of a plane’s cargo hold in Thailand in pieces in 2003, and this left the player devastated considering how it was his second most famous cue to cause him problems.
He once had to pay thieves a hefty £10,000 ransom to get it back.
A snooker game can last for an indeterminate amount of time.
Dave Harold and Shaun Murphy played the longest ever single snooker game (frame) in Beijing during the 2008 China Open. It lasted for 93 minutes and 12 seconds. On the other hand, the shortest frame was only 3 minutes and was dominated by Tony Drago in 2009.
Drago was infamous for his quick breaks and for often getting penalized because he didn’t wait for all the balls to stop moving before moving on to make the next shot. While the oldest average age of any sports athlete is 35.6 years, it is the average age of a snooker player based on a 1990s research.
Cues and their tips have advanced alongside each other, with snooker players rubbing chalk on their cue tips to gain greater control of the cue ball. Surprisingly, the modern ‘chalk’ has no ‘chalk’ at all and actually comprises a variety of fine abrasives.
In all respects, the earliest recorded table for billiards was owned by King Louis XI of France in 1740. It had a large hole in the center and was constructed of stone. Amid its physical differences from modern snooker tables, that ancient contraption had a green felt covering similar to what is found in today’s snooker tables.
The early balls used in snooker had an ivory construction. However, in the 1920s, balls made of synthetic materials were introduced, with some containing a number of elements used in the manufacture of gunpowder, which gave them a tendency to explode when struck. Because of this, the balls were rapidly taken out of circulation.
Modern snooker balls are built using plastic or resin materials.
Uncommon play scenarios
A foul penalty is called when a red ball is missed, which leads to snookering the opponent and that results in what is called a ‘free ball.’
Foul shots by one player award points to the opponent. These include striking another color before the red, missing all the balls, and driving the cue ball into a pocket. A pocketed cue ball is typically referred to as ‘scratching.’ This is based on how a player’s points on the scoreboard acre literally ‘scratched’ by the opponent when the said player pots the cue ball into a pocket.
The ‘free ball’ rule enables the opponent to nominate a color to replace the red ball, pot it, and then pot a colored, such that if a free ball is nominated with all the reds on the table, a player can get a maximum of 155 points.