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Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby chengdufan

I've enjoyed playing in the SIWC, but will very likely be knocked out today. I think that overall it has been a success so far and I will be setting up another World Championship next year, but am also planning a number of variant events to play before that. These variations will offer more chances for upsets, and will have quicker turnaround on results. Having a few events, and hopefully players entering multiple events will give a chance for next year's Championship to be seeded.

One of the drawbacks of the SIWC is the downtime. If you get your frames in relatively quickly but have to wait for your opponent's scores, or if you get knocked out in the first round, you might not play again for a while.

So if you aren't currently in a competition match, why not consider playing a friendly? You could play the same 9 frame format as the SIWC, or perhaps 7, 5 or even 3 frames. Just send a PM to an opponent you would like to play and see if they are interested.
If you have organised a match-up, you could send each other your scores. You could also send them to another poster to act as 'referee' (I'd be happy to receive anyone's friendly scores). Either way, it would be great if you could post your friendly scores in this thread.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby acesinc

I think you are showing some real ingenuity with these ideas Chengdufan! I am definitely on board with any format you may be able to come up with, and I hope enough others show an interest to make this viable. I think the High Break is proper for the Island Championship, but for Friendlies, I think it will require a bit more thought.

Obviously, (and I know you have read my Provisional Colour and Handicap white paper so this will be old hat to you,) with our small group here, we have a variety of talent levels in participation. That makes it difficult to hold any sort of "fair" competition in which any of the participants might win. As it looks now, Pink Ball and Johnny Bravo are the Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan of our lives and times here on the Island. Rightly so, the cream rises to the top. The Island Championship should be strictly based on the best player. Full stop.

So for the Friendlies, I think a totally different approach and format would be in order. Perhaps something that would allow for a handicapped league somehow. Or even, and bear with me here, something that may have a little bit of luck involved to determine the actual winner of the match. It is about skill yes, but more importantly, it is about having some fun. And anyone should agree, part of the thrill comes from knowing that you could lose, even if you are the best. If anyone doesn't believe this, you need to watch the original Twilight Zone series, season 1, episode 28, "A Nice Place to Visit".

If anyone has any ideas of how this could possibly work across distance and time, please post. Think outside the box. How could two players, in different places, at different times, physically playing against different opponents, possibly have a competition to compare their scores against each other?

I will be first to posit an answer to that question in the next post. I hope others might join in with constructive criticisms or perhaps some other novel ideas.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby acesinc

To have some sort of competition, there needs to be some sort of scoring system. This usually comes from assigning numbers somehow. And the winner will be the one that ends with the highest number. Or perhaps, as in Golf, the player with the lowest number. No matter, numbers are easy to compare. There could be other ways. Like maybe in Poker, where for instance Four-of-a-Kind beats a Full House. But that is really nothing more than assigning a Name to designate a number in a list of priority.

So with normal Snooker of course, the winner has the highest overall match score. If the competition is a single frame, the winner has the highest frame score. For the SIWC, we used the highest break scores over nine frames to develop hierarchy. Friendlies will require something else I think because to keep interest among everyone, anyone should have opportunity to win any frame/match.

I came up with an idea based on something my friend who recently passed away did several years ago. He made a series of videos called "Snooker Rainbow" and each video was simply very good shots made on the topic colour. Perhaps we could adapt that to be our scoring system. Imagine this.....

(cue wavy lines to depict imagination).....

At ACES for a few years, we had a what's known as a Ladder League. The rules vary but for us, anyone on the ladder could challenge anyone else and the challenge could be accepted or denied. So winners or losers would work their way higher or lower on the ladder. And people would play when the wanted to, not on any set schedule.

So imagine Player A challenges Player B to a match. Player B accepts the challenge but in accepting the challenge, Player B now has the right to "Name the Colour". So let's imagine Player B says the colour for the match is Green. The winner of the match will be whoever pots the most Green balls over the course of the number of frames agreed upon.

.....(end wavy lines)

I think a match should be a number of frames that can be completed in a single session. For most players, that is probably 3 or maybe 5. Even 4 frames would work because we are not talking about any "Best of..." number of frames.

What will be interesting I think is that anyone can challenge anyone, but the determining factor will be something that is really rather neutral, not something that the better player is certain to win. If Pink Ball were to challenge me, I certainly would not select the Pink Ball because he is sure to win that match. If I answer his challenge with Yellow or Green, he will need to play his match trying to win against his real life opponent, but also trying to pot more Yellows than what he may guess my Yellow pots to be. This would even give a player incentive to play on even needing snookers if perhaps a couple last Reds may allow him to add to his selected Match Colour tally. There is definitely an element of luck to it.

Any thoughts?

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby Pink Ball

Don't agree.

I think we could use the SIWC to work out a handicap. Over the course of my nine highest breaks, my average break was 41. Johnny Bravo's was 49. So that would suggest that I should get an eight-point start on Johnny.

If we played a shorter version of our SIWC match, say our five best breaks over five frames instead of nine over nine, and you add eight points to each of my breaks, then you could have yourself a match that's too close to call.

I think we could base our handicaps off our nine highest breaks in our last nine SI competition frames going forward, so our handicaps become more accurate over time and reflective of form. My handicap mark is currently 41, but that could go up or down depending on form.

Maybe get anyone interested in participating in this the opportunity to go through the nine-breaks process before submitting a handicap for the tournament, whether they play in the SIWC or not.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby acesinc

I agree with you in principle, but not in specifics. The maths is not as simple as one would make it out to be when it is extrapolated over a larger number of players. In general, few people end up agreeing with whatever the handicap number ends up being, with half thinking it is too high, and the other half thinking it is too low. If you believe it is just a simple equation to figure out what the numbers should be, then I suppose YOU will be willing to do that work? And lastly, believe me, I know from my shallow pool of talent over on this side of the pond: complexity brings apathy. If people think it is a hassle (such as making them play nine frames just to create a baseline), or if they don't agree with the proclamation of whatever the handicap number turns out to be, they just won't do it. Then we are stuck with three, four, maybe five players interested.

I am not married to the idea above but my main point is that High Break is perfect for the Championship. A little friendly competition should be something totally, absolutely different. Not just a minor modification of the Championship format.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby acesinc

Believe me, I agree. Running a league is never easy, and creating handicaps that most of the players are happy with is nigh on impossible.

That is why I think it would be nice to have something that says, "I got this number, you got that number. I win! Woo-hoo!" (Simpson's meme thread reference there.) It just can't be complicated. I watched my league disintegrate in just 3 years from 12 down to 5. And that is individuals, not teams. People get bored quickly. I used to like the variety of tournament formats in the past: the Hofmeister Doubles, the Worlds with teams from various countries, the aggregate score tournament down in Oz, I forget the name, Winfield's or something.

Variety is the spice of life. Today we have the standard tournaments, the Six Red Championship, and the Shoot Out. And people seem to complain about the last two. My point is that across time and distance, it has got to remain interesting. And I don't think a plain numerical handicap will do that. If I can beat either you or Johnny because I had a 30 point headstart, yea, I won I guess, but it wasn't all that interesting for me. And if I do win that match, the admittedly better player simply justifies the loss by saying, "Yea, but he would not have won except for that ridiculous handicap." Which means it wasn't all that interesting for you. And if you win the match, your thought is invariably, "Well, I won despite that ridiculous handicap." I don't find either of those outcomes as much fun as something that requires some skill, but perhaps some chance involved as well. Like Las Vegas.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby chengdufan

I'm delighted to see the responses here! I woke up to find this and I immediately sat up and got my thinking cap on :happy:

I completely agree that it would be great if we had a format in which anyone on the island could have a competitive match. Here are my thoughts on the ideas so far...

Aces' "Pick a colour" -
A very interesting and innovative idea. Personally, I wouldn't like to play this way though.
In creating the SIWC, one of the things I wanted to avoid was it having an affect on people's regular games with their real life friends. What I found in reality, for me at least, was that it did have some affect. In my first set of 4 frames, I was buzzing about playing the SIWC and changed my game up, playing looser and going for breaks. I could see that this irked my opponent somewhat as he wasn't getting the usual game he expected. He warmed to it a bit in the following 5 frames, but it has taken a little away from our regular match-up.
In all 9 frames I was going for ridiculous pots to try to continue breaks when normally I would have played safe. This helped me in SIWC (to a certain extent), but hindered me in real life.
I think going for as many yellow/greens as possible in a frame would take too much away from the real life game. I can't see my playing partner being too thrilled with me playing this way.

Pink Ball's "Break average handicap" -
I'm warmer on this idea than Aces, but he's right that it could end up a little boring. I don't agree that calculating the handicap is an issue. I'd be happy to do that, and I'm sure others would too. People could keep track of their own handicaps as well, perhaps. But I think using this idea would only work in a one-off competition format, rather than as a regular thing or for friendlies. The problem is that it makes the result too random.

So, what we need is something that closes the gap between players of different levels, but doesn't completely bridge it. I've got some ideas and will share in the next post.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby chengdufan

"Red Ball Challenge" -

This is based on Aces' idea, but instead of colours, we count reds. I suspect that for low level players such as myself, they will pot 7-8 reds in most frames against a similar level opponent. Moving out from 7-8, 6-9 would be slightly less likely, 5-10 less likely still, 0-15 would happen almost never. Meanwhile, the higher the standard of the match, the more likely each extreme becomes. In pro matches, I predict the most likely to be 3-12.

So, you have your usual 3-frame session in real life and note down how many reds you potted in each frame.
Let's say I pot:
Frame 1: 9
Frame 2: 6
Frame 3: 8

I play "Red Ball Challenge" against Pink Ball, who is playing his son in real life. His record is:
Frame 1: 2
Frame 2: 12
Frame 3: 7

Now you could go for an aggregate score, and say I beat PB 23-21, or do it frame-by-frame (which I suggest may be better), and say I win 2-1.

This idea would have little to no affect on the real life game. I still think it's a bit too close to random to be fun though. I have a couple of more ideas. Will create another new post.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby chengdufan

"Frame Points Aggregate" -

Here's something that might work (though I think the idea in the next post is better).
Compare your aggregate frame scores in each frame played.
In real life, my 3 frame scores are as follows:
So the aggregate scores are: +15; -23; -3

I play Aces, whose frame scores are:
Giving aggregates of: +42; +66; -25
Aces wins the first two frames, but my aggregate is better in the third. The result is a 2-1 win for Aces.

One of the problems with the two ideas I've put in so far is that the result is largely determined by the strength of the real life opponent rather than either of the SI players. On to the next idea...

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby chengdufan

"Handicapped High Breaks" -

It needs a catchier name, for sure.

This expands on Pink Ball's average break handicap idea.
Players are placed in tiers based on their average break score over 'x' number of frames.
Tier 1 - average 40+
Tier 2 - 30+
Tier 3 - 20+
Tier 4 - 10+
Tier 5 - <10

Like SIWC, the competition is to compare your highest break scores. If you are a tier 1 player, you must use your highest break score in the first frame you play after agreeing to the match. I'm tier 4, so I would play 4 frames to get my high break.
We wouldn't have the '20-point rule', so a tier one player may end up losing heavily in their first frame and have quite a low high break.

The main drawback of this is that you would usually only get one pair of breaks to compare per session of snooker (unless tier 1-2 players were competing). I think that's ok though, and you may choose to do a best of 3 over 2-3 weeks, keeping yourselves active.

It isn't perfect, but I think this idea may be the best so far in terms of bridging the gap, but not closing it.

Re: Snooker Island Friendlies

Postby acesinc

Chengdufan, all very good ideas! I am just checking in one last time before bed so I will try to give this a little more thought tomorrow. Certainly don't need to lock into anything anytime too soon. Personally, I think all of these and maybe even a couple more unique ideas from others can be turned into separate tournaments through the year. Maybe have the Red Ball Challenge tournament and that takes a couple months to complete (judging by how the SIWC will obviously take a while to finish), then the Frame Points Aggregate tournament during the next couple months, etc. I don't think a "League" style setting would work so well as people will surely be coming and going throughout the year. New players can always join the next tournament. And as we go, we all keep trying to better our game so someone can give Johnny or Pink a run one year in the Championship.

Keep thinking up new stuff. Very impressive!