Questions and Answers
Spotting the Red
143.”When the ball is pocketed twice in two consecutive
strokes by the same player should it be placed on the centre spot
or the pyramid spot?”
When the red has been potted twice
successively from the spot it must be placed on the centre spot
of the table. If first potted from a position other than the spot
there can be three red pots, including two from the spot, before
the red is shifted to the centre. And if a cannon is made with
the same stroke that pots the red from the spot the full number
of subsequent pots can still be made.
Books on Billiards
144.”In your article, ‘Things that Matter in Billiards,’ by
Col. C. M. Western, published in April, 1912, you refer to a book
entitled ‘The Practical Science of Billiards,’ by Western and
another entitled ‘Red Ball Play,’ by Gray. I have written
Methuen and Co., asking for quotations on these works, but they
reply that they do not know the publications. Will you kindly
let we know the price of these books and where they can be purchased?”
The publishers of the first book named are Odhams,
Ltd., 93-4, Long Acre, W.C, and of the second, Cassell and Co.,
Ltd., La Belle Sauvage, E.C.
145.”I shall be glad if you will let me know where I can
purchase the ‘Billiard Pointer’ referred to in your May edition
of The Billiard Monthly.”
Aston and Mander, Ltd., 61, Old
Compton Street, Soho, W.
A Billiard Saying
146.”Can you tell me where the remark now seen almost
daily in criticisms of George Gray’s special stroke that ‘billiards
is a game played with three balls’ originated?”
it was originated by the editor of The Billiard Monthly in the
first issue dated November, 1910.
147.”When putting on a billiard cloth is it better to stretch
it as tight as possible, and do balls run faster when cover is well
The tighter the better, if done evenly. This
naturally ensures freer running.
Force or Side?
148.”Is it sound play when the direct or cushion cannon is
wider than half-ball to force the stroke instead of applying slow
It is entirely a question of position. For instance,
if the red is on the spot and the cue ball a little away from the
centre pocket upper shoulder the red can be brought to more
accurate position by means of slow side than by force.
Pocket SideWhen Advisable
149.”Is it an invariable rule that pocket side should be used
when one of the pocket shoulders is more open than the other
as looked at in a straight line through the centre of the object
There is hardly any invariable general rule in billiards.
Unless the pocket is somewhat blind and extreme accuracy in
the running of cue ball is required it is often safer to attempt
to run in with a nice amount of top and with central striking
than to use side, but if perfect alignment of the cue can be ensured
side rotation always helps except with an open pocket.
A Golden Position Rule
150.”Is it well to cultivate the habit of thinking first of the
after position and secondly of the way of making the immediate
It is not only well, but absolutely essential. It is,
indeed, the golden rule in position play, and it is better to play
for safety than to make a stroke with no idea as to what will
even approximately be left. After a while position play becomes
a sort of second sight, and billiards is not billiards without it.
Shots to Leave Alone
151.”Are there any frequently recurring positions of the balls
that are regarded by professionals as inexpedient to go out for?”
This is a good question. Observant spectators at professional
billiard matches will notice that the players rarely leave themselves
difficult shots, but when such arise they do not dream of
attempting what the ordinary amateur would cheerfully go out
for. In the first place it is too difficult, and in the second place
the after position is too problematical. The short cut to position,
or even to the immediate score, is rarely taken by professionals.
They do not immediately attack the white merely because it is
in baulk, but gradually play the red near to it, and rather than
make sparks fly with sensational forcers they utilize a gentle
two or three cushion cannon which, although appearing difficult,
is easier and better.
When Ball is in Baulk
152.”Kindly answer the following questions in the next issue
of The Billiard Monthly: (1) When a ball is resting on the baulk
line with the greater part of its diameter outside the line, is it
held to be in baulk? (2) When resting on the baulk line, exactly
fair, is it in baulk? (3) When a player is in hand and playing
from the D can he place his ball exactly fair on the line surrounding
D, or must be play from inside the line?”
(l) No; it
is outside. (2) Yes. (3) Exactly on line.
Varying Direction of Object Ball
153.”May it be taken that for a finer and fuller than half-ball
shot aim is taken the same distance off and on the object
ball in order to get the same direction for the cue ball?”
Generally speaking, this is so, but the cue ball must be struck
high at short range to ensure perfect rotation before contact.
Choosing Easy or Difficult Score
154.”Should an easy score ever be attempted if you cannot
see that it will leave anything, whereas a more difficult one, if
brought off, might reasonably be expected to leave an opening?”
If an easy score can be made and the object or cue ball
thereby left more favourably (although not ideally) placed than the
alternative shot it is good play to make it. But rather than leave
an absolutely hopeless position following an easy one a position
shot of some difficulty should be attempted instead. At the same
time, a very easy shot ought usually to be so made as to leave
Right-Angled Hall-Ball Screw Limit
155.”Is it a fact that it is impossible to make a right-angled
screw at a finer than half-ball contact?”
We are not quite
sure as to shorter distances than, say, a foot, but beyond that
distance we should think that it is impossible.