The number 147 is special to a certain group of people. There was the Porsche parked just outside the venue of the GCC Billiard Tournament with number plate ‘147’. The curiosity got bigger when there were more instagram accounts with the same figure at the end of the names. There could be others who are on the same boat like myself and then I dared to ask the experts who are at the GCC Billiard Sports Championship the pressing questions.
What is special about 147?
“It is the ultimate number a snooker player wants as his/her score,” they explained. Then there are us non — snooker players who have no idea about the blue, pink, white, brown and black balls on the tables. “Red is the key to other colours” — We must pot a red before attempting other colours and that is why there are 15 reds. The cue stick is a snooker player’s best friend. It is the medium through which they express themselves.
The GCC Billiard Sport Championship has been a learning experience. Players have come from each of the GCC countries and are extremely focused whether they are competing in the single events or team events.
It is amazing how the audience provide full support to the players from making minimal movements while the players are on the move to avoid distraction to clicking their fingers instead of clapping with both hands. It is a whole different culture in the snooker room.
The tournament director, Shoaib Khan has been my teacher in understanding this game; this actually led to the understanding of the temperament and psychology of the game. The best of players practice four to five hours daily. In Pakistan, where snooker is a passion and even a career for many, the players are known to practice for eight hours a day, explained Khan who has been officiating tournaments for many years and is now based in Qatar and is the Tournament Director at the GCC Championship.
What are the benefits of Snookers?
The game is all about geometry as it is understanding geometry, he said adding it is about recognising angles and creating your own angles.
It does not stop there. It is also the understanding of the cushion and borders, the table bed and nap. Nap has to do with the surface of the bed of the table. Khan explained, if you let the ball go through the nap it is always positive and when it is against the nap, the shot is always negative.
In a tournament the player might not get the same table they have played on before because the player is already used to the cushion and the borders, which gives them an insight on the bounce level.
Some of the other advantages of playing snooker are developing punctuality, discipline and ability to focus, said Khan. There seems to be a social element in it as there are etiquette to be followed and even a dress code to abide by. Today there are coaches to provide a player with all the guidance needed. But an important factor is the ability to take decisions. The nature of the person is reflected in their game. Some are slower players when asked if they are safer players, Khan replied, “No, cannot say that. They are slow by nature.”
Whatever the game the important factors are to be a good potter, break the builder and a good safety player. By being a safe player he explained that one does not leave an easy starter for the opponent to score first. Now this is also applicable in marketing I suppose while trying to take market share as a brand and being a good potter is to know your target as consumers. The other two — breaking the builder and being a safe player could be strategies.
Whether we like it or not there is a sense of competition at various levels. Sometimes competition brings out the best in us. There is a sense of purpose in contrast to being part of a mundane process. As for consumers they know they get better deals when there is competition.