Friday, 7 August 2009

History of Snooker

Below is what we understand to be the 'History of Snooker'. Snooker compared to Billiards is a relatively new game that has fast become one of the nations most popular spectator and participation sports. Find out more below about how it was first invented and the unexpected way the name 'Snooker' was given Billiards which snooker derived from was thought to be played as early as the 1340's, with Louis XI of France owning a billiard table in the 1470's.
The term 'snooker' was given to the game by Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain in 1875 whilst serving in the Army. In the Officers' Mess at Jubbulpore in India, gambling games such as pyramids, life pool and black pool were popular, with fifteen reds and a black used in the latter. To these were added yellow, green and pink, with blue and brown introduced some years later. One afternoon Chamberlain's Devonshire regiment was visited by an young officer who had been trained at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. This officer explained that a first-year cadet at the Academy was referred to as a 'snooker'. Later, when one of the players failed to hole a coloured ball, Chamberlain shouted to him: 'Why, you're a regular snooker.' He then pointed out the meaning and that they were all 'snookers' at the game. The name was adopted for the game itself.
Chamberlain himself joined the Central India Horse in 1876, taking the game with him. After being wounded in the Afghan War, he moved to Ooatacamund and the game became the speciality of the 'Ooty Club', with rules being posted in the billiards room.
John Roberts (Junior), who was then Billiards Champion, visited India in 1885, met Chamberlain at dinner with the Maharajah of Cooch Behar and enquired about the rules of snooker. He then introduced the game into England, although it was many years before it became widely played there. Manufacturers of billiards equipment, however, soon realised the commercial possibilities of snooker, and by the end of the 1800's the game had developed as had the tables into as we know them today.
The biggest individual contribution to snooker came from Joe Davis and his brother Fred who dominated the game for over 50 years between them and were instrumental in the games transition from a grand aristocratic game to a working class pastime. Joe won 15 consecutive world championships and Fred won 8 world championships. There was only a handful of decent players but the standard was relatively low the highest break in 1922 being 33, Joe's game developed to a point where he made a 147 maximum break which was recognized in 1957, and was obviously way ahead of his time in terms of skills and techniques. Fred was younger than Joe by 12 years and was unlucky not to have had his name highlighted in snooker history like his brothers. Fred came very close to beating Joe on a number of occasions especially when you consider that three of their finals came down to the final frame, Joe winning them all and some which spanned 80+ frames with Joe the's name.


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