Ace cueist Pankaj Advani feels the end is near for the timed format of traditional English billiards.
It's in the longer and timed format that the likes of Wilson Jones, Michael Ferreira and Geet Sethi dominated the three-ball game and claimed 14 World titles together and carved out World record breaks.
Advani, too, has won the World title in the timed format, but unlike Jones, Ferreira and Sethi — all three raised in the old fashioned timed format — the 26-year-old Advani has tasted more success in the points format on the World and Asian stage.
After launching Japanese watch-maker Citizen's ‘Eco Drive Super Titanium' and ‘Satellite Wave' models here on Wednesday, Advani said: “There are two schools of thought; the first one says that the traditional (timed) format reflects one's ability.
“The second one says that the points format is faster, interesting and gives everyone an equal chance. Keeping that, and the bigger picture, in mind we have decided to skip the timed format and support the points format. It is good for the game,'' said Advani.
Recently nine Indian players opted out of the timed format in the IBSF World billiards championship at Carlow, Ireland, and instead took part in the points format (150 up). Advani lost (3-6) to Mike Russell in the final.
Reason behind decision
Explaining the reasons for the Indian cueists decision to pull out of the timed format, Advani said: “Mr. Sindhu Pulsirivong (president of the Asian Confederation of Billiards Sports) has done a lot for the game in south-east Asia and other parts of the world. He advised us not to play the longer form of the game. Everyone's shortening the format and making it more unpredictable. So that's why he told us not to play the timed format this year.
“They basically want to do away with the longer form of the game to make it extremely competitive, short and unpredictable. So we may not have the timed format in the future, except for one tournament in England.”
Players from India, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam were among those who supported the points format. Mike Russell plays for England and Qatar; he was not told to skip (the timed format) but he supports the points format as well.''
When asked if players see a drop in consistency playing both the timed and points format, Advani said: “Generally billiards is played over a longer format. We have been conditioned to do that. What is happening now is that at the Asian Games and half of the World championship, billiards is played in the points format. So we are now more and more conditioned to play in the shorter format.
“The best of seven frames takes two hours. I remember beating Peter Gilchrist 4-3 in the quarterfinals in Ireland, and it did not take more than two hours,'' said Advani.
Advani is convinced that the points format is good for the game and even snooker specialists have a chance. “We skipped the time format in Ireland because it made sense to us. It's good for the spectators as well.
“The points format is making the game attractive and spectator-friendly and that's the way forward. If you are a snooker player, you have a chance of winning a 100-up game. It's done in the Asian Games.
“It is a little disadvantage to the perfectionist, but everyone loves Twenty20 cricket. Even the World professional billiards event in October is moving towards the points format... from 500 up to 1000 up.”