World Billiards Championship (English billiards)

The World Billiards Championship is an international cue sports tournament in the discipline of English billiards, organised by World Billiards, a subsidiary of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. In its various forms, and usually as a single World Billiards Championship, the title is one of the oldest sporting world championships, having been contested (though irregularly) since 1870.

From 2012 to 2014 there were separate timed and points divisions, with the tournament held in association with the International Billiards and Snooker Federation. In those years, there was no separate IBSF World Billiards Championship.

The rules adopted by the Billiards Association in 1899 are essentially the rules still used today. The tournament has been played on a regular annual schedule since 1980, when it became administered by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). The event was known as the World Professional Billiards Championship until 2010, and has had other names in the past, e.g. Billiards Championship of the World. In addition, the World Ladies Billiards Championship has been played since 1931 (with interruptions) and organized by World Ladies Billiards and Snooker since 1998.[1]

HistoryEdit

In the early 19th century, there was no recognised governing body or formal championship for English billiards. Jack Carr and Edwin Kentfield were prominent players when Carr challenged Kentfield to a championship game in 1825. Carr died on the eve of the match, and Kentfield hence assumed the title. He would remain unchallenged for 24 years.[2]

John Roberts Sr., who had spent years touring and establishing his reputation as a billiards player, challenged Kentfield. There was much controversy over the table and the pockets to be used, and Kentfield declined to play, so Roberts styled himself as champion, a title he held unchallenged until 1870, when he lost to William Cook.[3](pp46–58)

Cook beat Roberts's son John Roberts Jr. in a match in 1869, and challenged Roberts Sr. for the title. As this was the first actual match for the World Championship, the players themselves drew up a special set of rules for the game. Roberts managed to have the pocket width reduced to 3 inches (from the original 3​58 inches), and the "D" and spots were adjusted so that Cook's spot stroke strength, derived from his proficiency at consecutively potting the red ball from its spot, was weakened. Cook was nonetheless considered the favourite, and the 20-year-old had greatly improved since his win over Roberts Jr. the previous year. At 1:38 a.m. on the morning of 12 February 1870, Cook defeated Roberts to win the title, and won a newly created trophy, £100, and a Maltese cross. The match at St. James's Hall in London was attended by Edward VII, the Prince of Wales. This match ended the dominance of Roberts Sr., as a wave of new players took over the game.[2]

The February 1870 match initiated the World Championship, and led to many challenges for the title. Roberts Jr. and Cook were the dominant players of the era. There were occasional uncontested matches. The rule said that a player had to accept a challenge within two months of it being issued; if the challenge were ignored, the challenger became World Champion.

There was still the issue of the rules, however. Many players preferred the "spot-barred" style with limitations on the number of consecutive pots of the red that were allowed, but some preferred the "all-in" rules that did not include this restriction. Repeated potting of the red was a great strength for William Peall in particular.

There were three all-in competitions held separately from the title held by Roberts, for which he was never challenged. Billy Mitchell and Peall excelled in the late 1880s.

Billiards Association and Control CouncilEdit

The Billiards Association (later the Billiards Association and Control Council or BA&CC) was formed in February 1885, and produced a new set of rules in September 1885. They sanctioned two championships, one with a "spot-barred" format and the other "all-in". Roberts Jr. showed no interest in the competition, but the tournaments went ahead regardless. The "championship table" that had been created by Roberts Sr. was abandoned, and the normal table was used instead. Peall held the all-in title unchallenged, whereas Mitchell dominated the spot-barred competition.

In 1899, after five years with no challenges to the titles, the Billiards Association changed the rules of the game. After two spot strokes, the red would be replaced on the centre spot, to limit the repetition of "all-in" play. Although detrimental to his personal fortunes, Peall accepted this change and voted for the introduction of the new rule. This gave rise to the modern version of English billiards that is still played (with minor revisions) today.

There were many challenges for the title before 1911, but the competition was then amended to cope with the influx of new professionals and it became an annual tournament. Walter Lindrum won the title in 1934, after which the championship collapsed. Only two challenge matches took place over the next three decades, one in 1951 and another in 1964.

While on a trip to Australia in 1968, Rex Williams decided to travel to Auckland to challenge the reigning champion Clark McConachy for the billiards title. This was the first contest since McConachy's 1951 win and, aged 73 by this time, his play was affected by his Parkinson's disease. In what turned out to be a poor-quality match, Williams won the title.[4]

WPBSA titleEdit

Leslie Driffield, a member of the BA&CC Council was present at a meeting where the Council nominated him as the challenger to Rex Williams for the professional Billiards Championship. Williams declined to play Driffield within the five months time limit that the BA&CC Council had set, which expired on 7 July 1970, and forfeited the title, which was then contested between Driffield and Jack Karnehm in June 1971. On 1 October 1970, the Professional Billiard Players Association, which had been reestablished in 1968 Williams and seven other players, disaffiliated from the BA&CC. The Professional Billiard Players Association changed its name to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association on 12 December 1970, and declared itself the governing body for the professional game, recognising Williams as champion. Driffield and Karnehm were, at first, the only two professionals to recognise the BA&CC as continuing to have authority over the game.[5][6][7][8][9][3](pp146–147)

In the 1970s, there were further challenge matches for the title. Rex Williams was dominant in this period. In 1980, Fred Davis won at the age of 67 to become World Champion. Since the 1980s, the world championship has sometimes been contested as a series of shorter games, for example in 150-up, the first player to win a designated number of games of first-to-150 is the victor.

From 1989 to 2011, Mike Russell was the dominant player, closely followed by Geet Sethi who won five titles. Some Australian players were successful in the 1980s, most notably Robby Foldvari (winner 1986, runner-up 1987) and Eddie Charlton (twice runner-up, 1984 and 1988).

In 2011 WPBSA formed World Billiards (Limited) to administer the sport worldwide. As of 2012, the distinction between professional and amateur players was removed and the WPBSA World Professional Championship was merged with the former IBSF World Billiards Championship and simply became the World Billiards Championship. Tournaments were held in both points and timed format.[10] In 2015, the IBSF withdrew from World Billiards Limited and reinstituted its own championship.[11]

David Causier (with six titles), Pankaj Advani (three titles), and Peter Gilchrist are other multiple title winners in the modern game.

World Championship resultsEdit

Main sources: English Amateur Billiards Association,[2] A History of Billiards (Clive Everton),[3] Cue Sports India[12]

Initial, self-declared World ChampionsEdit

Date Champion Notes Refs.
1825   Edwin Kentfield Declared Champion when Jack Carr was unable to play him
1849   John Roberts Sr. Declared Champion when Kentfield declined his challenge

Challenge World ChampionshipsEdit

Additional Source: Billiards (1899) by Joseph Bennett[13]

As there was no governing body in place, the rules were agreed between players, with representatives of The Sportsman newspaper providing arbitration if required.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
11 February 1870   William Cook 1,200   John Roberts Sr. 1,083 St James's Hall, London
14 April 1870   John Roberts, Jr. 1,000   William Cook 552 St James's Hall, London
30 May 1870   John Roberts, Jr. 1,000   Alfred Bowles 752 St James's Hall, London
28 November 1870   Joseph Bennett 1,000   John Roberts, Jr. 905 St James's Hall, London
30 January 1871   John Roberts, Jr. 1,000   Joseph Bennett 637 St James's Hall, London
25 May 1871   William Cook 1,000   John Roberts, Jr. 985 St James's Hall, London
21 November 1871   William Cook 1,000   Joseph Bennett 942 St James's Hall, London
4 March 1872[a]   William Cook 1,000   John Roberts, Jr. 799 St James's Hall, London
24 February 1874   William Cook 1,000   John Roberts, Jr. 784 St James's Hall, London
24 May 1875   John Roberts, Jr. 1,000   William Cook 837 The Criterion, London
20 December 1875   John Roberts, Jr. 1,000   William Cook 865 St James's Hall, London
April 1876   William Cook   Declared Champion  
28 May 1877   John Roberts, Jr. 1,000   William Cook 779 Gaiety Restaurant, Strand, London
July 1878   William Cook   Declared Champion  
8 November 1880   Joseph Bennett 1,000   William Cook 949 St James's Hall, London
12–13 January 1881   Joseph Bennett 1,000   Tom Taylor 910 St James's Hall, London
September 1881[b]   William Cook   Declared Champion  
February 1885   John Roberts, Jr.   Declared Champion  
30 Mar-1 Apr 1885   John Roberts, Jr. 3,000   William Cook 2,908 Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, London
1–4 June 1885   John Roberts, Jr. 3,000   Joseph Bennett 1,360 Royal Aquarium

Unofficial "all-in" World ChampionshipsEdit

These matches were arranged between the players, and not recognised by the Billiard Association.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
October 1887   Billy Mitchell 15,000   William Peall 13,733 Royal Aquarium
March 1888   William Peall 15,000   Billy Mitchell 6,753 Royal Aquarium

"Championship of the World" tournamentsEdit

With the Billiards Association championship in abeyance, the billiard table manufacturers George Wright and Company organised a "Championship of the World" tournament. The tournament was played in heats, with the heat between Mitchell and Peall proving decisive on each occasion.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
January 1889   Billy Mitchell Royal Aquarium
February 1890   William Peall Royal Aquarium
March 1891   William Peall Royal Aquarium

Billiard Association tournament World ChampionshipsEdit

The Billiard Association organised separate championships for "all-in" and "spot barred" formats.

All-inEdit

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
April 1892   William Peall 5,000   Billy Mitchell 1,755 Orme & Sons Showrooms, Soho Square

Spot-barredEdit

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
April 1892   Billy Mitchell 3,000   John North 2,697 Thurston's Showrooms, Strand, London
February 1893   Billy Mitchell 9,000   John North 7,525 Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London
January 1894   Billy Mitchell 9,000   Charles Dawson 8,163 National Sporting Club, London

Billiard Association challenge World ChampionshipsEdit

The Billiards Association published a new set of rules 1 October 1898 that prohibited the push shot stroke, and promoted one championship rather than two.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
9–14 Jan 1899   Charles Dawson 9,000   John North 4,715 Gaiety Restaurant, Strand, London
April 1900   Charles Dawson 9,000   Harry Stevenson 6,775 Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, London
January 1901   Harry Stevenson 9,000   Charles Dawson 6,406
April 1901   Charles Dawson 9,000   Harry Stevenson 5,796
November 1901   Harry Stevenson   Declared Champion  
16–21 Mar 1903   Charles Dawson 9,000   Harry Stevenson 8,700 National Sporting Club, London
September 1908   Melbourne Inman   Declared Champion  
March 1909   Melbourne Inman 9,000   Albert Williams 7,662

Billiard Control Club ChampionshipsEdit

The Billiard Control Club was established in 1908 as a rival to the Billiard Association and organised a separate championship.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Refs.
February 1909   Harry Stevenson   Declared Champion  
April 1910[c]   Harry Stevenson   Melbourne Inman
October 1910   Harry Stevenson 18,000   Melbourne Inman 16,907
April 1911   Harry Stevenson 18,000   Melbourne Inman 16,914
March 1912   Melbourne Inman 18,000   Tom Reece 9,675
March 1913   Melbourne Inman 18,000   Tom Reece 16,627
March 1914   Melbourne Inman 18,000   Tom Reece 12,826
March 1919   Melbourne Inman 18,000   Harry Stevenson 9,468

Billiards Association and Control Council ChampionshipsEdit

After the 1919 Championship, the Billiard Association and the Billiard Control Club amalgamated and, as the Billiards Association and Control Club (later renamed as the Billiards Association and Control Council) organised an annual championship tournament.

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
May 1920   Willie Smith 16,000   Claude Falkiner 14,500
March 1921   Tom Newman 16,000   Tom Reece 10,744 Thurston's Hall, London
May 1922   Tom Newman 16,000   Claude Falkiner 15,167 Thurston's Hall, London
May 1923   Willie Smith 16,000   Tom Newman 15,180
May 1924   Tom Newman 16,000   Tom Reece 14,845
April 1925   Tom Newman 16,000   Tom Reece 10,092
May 1926   Tom Newman 16,000   Joe Davis 9,505
May 1927   Tom Newman 16,000   Joe Davis 14,763
May 1928   Joe Davis 16,000   Tom Newman 14,874
April 1929   Joe Davis 18,000   Tom Newman 17,219
May 1930   Joe Davis 20,198   Tom Newman 20,117
March 1932   Joe Davis 25,161   Clark McConachy 19,259
May 1933   Walter Lindrum 21,815   Joe Davis 21,121
October 1934   Walter Lindrum 23,553   Joe Davis 22,678 Railway Institute, Melbourne [3](pp106–107)

Post-World War II Challenge World ChampionshipsEdit

Date Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
September 1951   Clark McConachy 9,274   John Barrie 6,691 London
August 1968   Rex Williams 5,499   Clark McConachy 5,234 YMCA Stadium, Auckland

Billiards Association and Control Council challenge matchesEdit

Date Association Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
June 1971 BACC   Leslie Driffield 9,029   Jack Karnehm 4,342 Middlesbrough Town Hall
January 1973 B&SCC   Leslie Driffield 9,204   Albert Johnson 4,696

WPBSA challenge matchesEdit

Date Association Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
1971 WPBSA   Rex Williams 9,250   Bernard Bennett 4,058 Castle Club, Southampton
September 1973 WPBSA   Rex Williams 8,360   Jack Karnehm 4,336 Marconi Athletic Club, Chelmsford
September 1974 WPBSA   Rex Williams 7,017   Eddie Charlton 4,916 Geraldton
1976 WPBSA   Rex Williams 9,105   Eddie Charlton 5,149 Geelong

WPBSA World ChampionshipsEdit

Date Association Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
May 1980 WPBSA   Fred Davis 5,978   Rex Williams 4,452 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [3]
November 1980 WPBSA   Fred Davis 3,037   Mark Wildman 2,064 Brownsover Hotel, Rugby [3]
1982 WPBSA   Rex Williams 3,000   Mark Wildman 1,785 Astra La Reserve Club, Sutton Coldfield [3]
1983 WPBSA   Rex Williams 1,500   Fred Davis 605 Court Snooker Club, Peterborough [3]
1984 WPBSA   Mark Wildman 1,045   Eddie Charlton 1,012 Majestic Snooker Club, Portsmouth [3]
1985 WPBSA   Ray Edmonds 3   Norman Dagley 1 Hatton Garden Snooker Centre, London [14]
1986 WPBSA   Robby Foldvari 3   Norman Dagley 1 Romiley Forum Stockport [3]
1987 WPBSA   Norman Dagley 3   Robby Foldvari 1
1988 WPBSA   Norman Dagley 7   Eddie Charlton 4 [3](p175)
1989 WPBSA   Mike Russell 2,242   Peter Gilchrist 1,347
1991 WPBSA   Mike Russell 1,352   Robby Foldvari 957
1992 WPBSA   Geet Sethi 2,529   Mike Russell 718 Holiday Inn, Bombay [3](p181)
1993 WPBSA   Geet Sethi 2,139   Mike Russell 1,140 President Hotel, Bombay [3](p182)
1994 WPBSA   Peter Gilchrist 1,539   Mike Russell 645 Leela Kempinski Hotel, Bombay [3](p184)
1995 WPBSA   Geet Sethi 1,661   Devendra Joshi 931 President Hotel, Bombay [3](pp185–186)
1996 WPBSA   Mike Russell 2,534   Geet Sethi 1,848 Bombay Gymkhana, South Mumbai [3](p188)
1998 WPBSA   Geet Sethi 1,400   Mike Russell 1,015 Ahmedabad [3](p190)
1999 WPBSA   Mike Russell 2,000   Peter Gilchrist 832 Chennai [3](pp191–192)
2000 No tournament held
2001 WPBSA   Peter Gilchrist 1,287   Mike Russell 863 Cricket Club of India, Mumbai [3](pp191–192)
2002 WPBSA   Mike Russell 2,251   Peter Gilchrist 1,273 Midsomer Norton [3](p196)
2003 WPBSA   Mike Russell 6   Peter Gilchrist 4 Jerma Palace Hotel, Marsaskala [3](p197)
2004 WPBSA   Mike Russell 2,402   David Causier 1,349
2005 WPBSA   Chris Shutt 1,620   Mike Russell 1,365 Pontins, Prestatyn [3](p199)
2006 WPBSA   Geet Sethi 2,073   Lee Lagan 1,057
2007 WPBSA   Mike Russell 2,166   Chris Shutt 1,710 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2008 WPBSA   Mike Russell 1,823   Geet Sethi 1,342 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2009 WPBSA   Pankaj Advani 2,030   Mike Russell 1,253 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [15]
2010 WPBSA   Mike Russell 1,738   Dhruv Sitwala 1,204 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [16]
2011 WPBSA   Mike Russell 1,500   David Causier 558 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [17]

World Billiards Ltd World ChampionshipsEdit

 
Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds in 2013
Date Association Format Winner Score Runner-up Score Venue Refs.
2012 WBL/IBSF Short   Rupesh Shah 6   Matthew Bolton 2 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [18]
Timed   Pankaj Advani 1,895   Mike Russell 1,216 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [19]
2013 WBL/IBSF Short   David Causier 6   Alok Kumar 1 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [20]
Long   Peter Gilchrist 1,500   David Causier 1,085 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [21]
2014 WBL/IBSF Short   Pankaj Advani 6   Peter Gilchrist 2 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [22]
Timed   Pankaj Advani 1,928   Robert Hall 893 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [23]
2015 WBL Short   David Causier 6   Robert Hall 1 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [24]
Long   David Causier 1,500   Peter Gilchrist 1,277 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [25]
2016 WBL Short   David Causier 8   Dhruv Sitwala 6 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [26]
Timed   Mike Russell 2,224   David Causier 1,115 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds [26]
2017 WBL Short   David Causier 8   Sourav Kothari 4 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Long   David Causier 1,500   Peter Gilchrist 779 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2018 WBL Timed   Sourav Kothari 1,134   Peter Gilchrist 944 Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
2019 WBL Timed   Peter Gilchrist 1,307   Sourav Kothari 967 RACV Club, Melbourne [27]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Some sources say the match was in April
  2. ^ Bennett had broken his arm, and resigned the title
  3. ^ Match unfinished, due to the death of Stevenson's wife

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "World Ladies Billiards Champions". World Billiards. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "The Professional Champions of English Billiards". The English Amateur Billiards Association. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Everton, Clive (2012). A History of Billiards. englishbilliards.org. ISBN 978-0-9564054-5-6.
  4. ^ Everton, Clive (1985). Guinness Snooker – The Records. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 154–156. ISBN 0851124488.
  5. ^ Everton, Clive (14 November 1988). "A great billiards amateur". The Guardian. p. 39 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Guardian and The Observer. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Challenge taken". The Guardian. 30 September 1970. p. 19 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Guardian and The Observer. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  7. ^ Clive Everton (2 December 2011). Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards: The Inside Story of the Snooker World. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78057-399-1.
  8. ^ "WPBSA v TSN". BBC Sport. BBC. 16 February 2001. Archived from the original on 1 January 2003. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  9. ^ "History of The WPBSA". wpbsa.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  10. ^ "2012 World Billiards Championship". world-billiards.com. World Billiards Ltd. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  11. ^ "IBSF cause damaging billiards split". Snooker Scene. No. August 2015. Everton's News Agency. pp. 28–29.
  12. ^ "Roll of Honour". Cue Sports India. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  13. ^ Bennett, Joseph (1899). Billiards.
  14. ^ "Everything in garden lovely for Edmonds". Snooker Scene. No. April 1985. Everton's News Agency. p. 20.
  15. ^ Everton, Clive (6 September 2009). "Pankaj Advani seals World Professional Billiards Championship win". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  16. ^ "Knock-out Round". Cue Sports India. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  17. ^ "Russell Takes Billiards Crown Again". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  18. ^ Subbaiah, Sunil. "Rupesh Shah wins second world title". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Pankaj Advani wins World Billiards title". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 13 September 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  20. ^ Pathak, Vivek (25 October 2013). "David Causier, the new champion for World Billiards (Short format)". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 21 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  21. ^ "IBSF Long up Billiards Championships Long up – Leeds / England 2013". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  22. ^ "Advani stuns Gilchrist to clinch World Billiards title". The Times of India. 24 October 2014. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  23. ^ "Advani: first ever player to bag billiards triple double". The Hindu. 30 October 2014. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  24. ^ "World Championships (150-up)". wbeventsonline.com. World Billiards. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  25. ^ "World Championships (long up)". wbeventsonline.com. World Billiards. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  26. ^ a b "The 2016 LITEtask World Billiards Championship". world-billiards.com. World Billiards. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  27. ^ "2019 World Billiards Championship". wbeventsonline.com. World Billiards. Retrieved 12 October 2019.

External linksEdit