The game of Snooker was born, if not out of contempt, certainly out of familiarity. Its great-grandfather, the game of billiards, had been played in various forms for over three hundred years, but billiards as we now know it, using only three balls, became for many repetitive and monotonous.
A good player was able to score endless cannons by keeping the three balls closely bunched together. Games became never-ending with astronomical scores — the record is 499,31 5 (unfinished !) set up by Tom Reece on a snooker table in 1907 and took five weeks to achieve. Breaks of over 2000 are common and billiards, as a spectator sport, has gradually gone into a decline.
Back in the latter half of the nineteenth century there was a growing need for new games to be played on snooker tables. Names like ‘Pyramids’, ‘Pool’, ‘Black Pool’ came into the billiard player’s repertoire when various coloured balls were added to the standard two whites and a red.
It is now widely accepted that snooker itself originated in Jubbolpore, India, in 1875. A group of Army officers, including a young subaltern named Sir Neville Chamberlain, were playing Black Pool – their main recreation — on the Mess billiards table. For the purposes of variation, other coloured balls were added and given different scoring values. Sir Neville, observing that one of his opponents had failed to pot a ball and had left him an unplayable shot, accused him of being ‘a regular snooker’. At that time a ‘snooker’ was the nickname for a first-year cadet at the Woolwich Military Academy, and was obviously held in very low regard. Thus snooker, the game, was christened.
Before long, rumours of this ‘new’ game reached England and a well-known professional billiards player, John Roberts, travelled to Calcutta to discover the rules. He was introduced to Sir Neville Chamberlain by the Maharajah of Cooch Behar. who explained that Sir Neville was the best person to give him the information because he had invented it.
Did you know?
Billiard tables have bag nets and the brass on the pocket plates are visible on top of the table.
Snooker tables have pocket rails due to the number of balls being potted during a game.
Snooker table recovering methods are still the same as they were a century ago.