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Did Ronnie "change the game"...?

Postby D4P

The question came up in another thread recently of whether Ronnie has “changed the game” of snooker. I thought it was a question worthy of its own thread. My answer to the question is “No”, but with a major caveat. I will explain.

Let’s start by being clear about what we mean by “change the game”. When we say that Player X has changed the game, I think we mean that Player X has implemented some kind of innovative technique/strategy/approach/etc. that some/most/all other players subsequently copied and used themselves.

This definition implies that in order to change the game, Player X must implement something innovative that other players both want to copy, and are able to copy. Based on this line of thinking, we can imagine four different scenarios:

Scenario A: Player X implements something innovative that other players don’t want but are able to copy
Scenario B: Player X implements something innovative that other players don’t want and are not able to copy
Scenario C: Player X implements something innovative that other players want and are able to copy
Scenario D: Player X implements something innovative that other players want but are not able to copy

When we say that Player X has changed the game we would appear to have Scenario C in mind, in the sense that Player X has brought something innovative to the game that other players both want and are able to copy. Given that we usually mean it as a very strong compliment when we say that Player X changed the game, it might be taken as somewhat of a negative (or neutral) comment to say that Player X did not change the game. As a result, we might be tempted to conclude that a player who changed the game is somehow more impressive than a player who did not change the game, other things being equal.

Within the game of snooker, for example, people who say that Hendry changed the game but that Ronnie did not might very well be meaning to suggest that Hendry is superior to Ronnie in the sense of having changed the game. But there are at least 2 problems with this suggestion.

First, and most obviously, it stands to reason that the earlier a player plays in the history of a game, the more room there will be for that player to change the game, and the later a player plays in the history of a game, the less room there will be for that player to change the game. The fact that Hendry arrived earlier than Ronnie meant that Hendry had an opportunity to change the game in a way that Ronnie didn’t, because Hendry had already introduced the change. (Hendry had the opportunity to change the game by playing aggressive, splitting the pack early, trying to win frames in one visit instead of playing safe, etc., whereas Ronnie didn’t have the opportunity to change the game in that way because Hendry had already done so because Hendry was older and started before Ronnie did). As a result, comparing the extent to which an earlier player and a later player changed the game is not really a fair or meaningful comparison, at least not when a case is being made that an earlier player was superior to a later player for having changed the game.

Second, and much less obviously, whereas the “change the game” discussion implicitly assumes that Scenario C is the highest and most impressive achievement, deeper thinking will lead to the recognition that Scenario D is actually more impressive than Scenario C, in the sense that D involves Player X implementing some innovation that is beyond the ability of other players to copy, even though they want to. Put another way, implementing a desirable innovation that other players are not good enough to copy is more impressive than implementing a desirable innovation that other players are good enough to copy.

As a result, Scenario D is a more impressive achievement than Scenario C, even though D does not involve “changing the game” while C does involve changing the game. So for us to say that Player X did not change the game does not tell us whether or not Player X implemented an impressive innovation: we would need to further know whether Player X was a Scenario A player, B player, or D player.

Which brings us to Ronnie. It goes without saying that Ronnie has brought an innovation to the game, in the form of his ability to play at a very high level with his opposite hand. It also goes without saying that no other player has copied Ronnie’s innovation, at least nowhere near the extent to which Ronnie uses it. (A few players play easy shots now and then with their opposite hand, but nothing like what Ronnie does).

Being able to switch hands is clearly a desirable innovation, as it allows Ronnie more options when playing for position, allows him to significantly reduce his use of the rest/spider, and better allows him to keep his rhythm and “flow”. I have heard Hendry say multiple times in commentary that Ronnie’s ability to switch hands gives him a major advantage, and that Stephen wishes he would have had that ability himself.

So when we speculate as to why other players haven’t widely copied Ronnie’s innovation, it seems clear that the lack of copying is not a result of players not wanting to copy Ronnie, but rather of players not being able to copy Ronnie. (At least, they can’t copy him without spending way more time practicing with their opposite hand than they are willing or able to do, at the expense of practicing with their dominant hand).

As a result, we can see that Ronnie is clearly a Scenario D player, in the sense that he brought a desirable innovation to the game that other players would like but are not able to copy.

If other players had copied Ronnie, we would on one hand be able to say that he changed the game. But on the other hand, that would have been a much less impressive achievement than what Ronnie actually achieved. In fact, Ronnie brought an innovation to the game that was so far beyond the skill of other players that few have even tried to copy it, much less been able to do so.

Did Ronnie change the game? Nope. He did something much more impressive than that.

Re: Did Ronnie "change the game"...?

Postby SnookerFan

I would say Alex Higgins changed it more. Henry popularised a stylish of play.

Ronnie didn't invent anything, but was as naturally talented at the game who has ever existed.

Re: Did Ronnie "change the game"...?

Postby TheSaviour

Every player has their own technical taking, me thinks...

And sorry for the inconvenience. Well, the threat still is a very much on, just what happened to Donald Trump slightly made me more patient.

Let´s take David Gilbert. I certainly can´t understand some of the positional shot he plays. But I need to admit, like he himself admitted, he has no bottle. He only has both the technical intelligence and playing intelligence. When he mades a few reds first and posses a prospects to make a 147, he tends to play the easier positional shots to blue. He doesn´t have the bottle to "take the risk". While someone like Ronnie sees it as a worth of taking, at least more often than David Gilbert sees, reasons or feel out of it. Ahead of a big crowds. And while it comes down to have a go while there´s no good angle, David Gilbert loses his nerve. But just for a while.

Let´s take Stephen Maguire. I certainly can´t understand him. Why is he all smile and clapping while someone like Ding is a below par and easily sees him off? I certainly can´t understand Stephen Maguire as a person. Ronnie is someone I can understand, if just ignoring his "ability and willingness" to rescue and help the suicidal persons (???)...

So everyone has their flaws. But to be to easy to understand, or at least having some thoughts which makes the people to talk, helps the case. Of being so instrumental. Technically it is a gone case.

So Chandler SO HEAVILY still struggling? Wondering why. If Ronnie has been so instrumental? So Hirani and Miah still struggling? Wondering why. If Ronnie really has been so instrumental?

Ha.

Ha.

Haa.

It comes down to the of just playing the "minimal" safety-shots while having a real battle. While failing to made the shot, technically, it means basically nothing. There always is a room for a few really poor mistakes and miss-cueings. But having the "flow" and making just those MarkSelby, JackLisowski and so on safety-minimals (which means nothing, leaves nothing on, but neither or either does any harm), and they all are good players.

Mark Williams still can make that rock-solid contribution as soon as the decider begins. Can Ronnie? Is he already a bell end?

Re: Did Ronnie "change the game"...?

Postby SnookerFan

TheSaviour wrote:Every player has their own technical taking, me thinks...

And sorry for the inconvenience. Well, the threat still is a very much on, just what happened to Donald Trump slightly made me more patient.

Let´s take David Gilbert. I certainly can´t understand some of the positional shot he plays. But I need to admit, like he himself admitted, he has no bottle. He only has both the technical intelligence and playing intelligence. When he mades a few reds first and posses a prospects to make a 147, he tends to play the easier positional shots to blue. He doesn´t have the bottle to "take the risk". While someone like Ronnie sees it as a worth of taking, at least more often than David Gilbert sees, reasons or feel out of it. Ahead of a big crowds. And while it comes down to have a go while there´s no good angle, David Gilbert loses his nerve. But just for a while.

Let´s take Stephen Maguire. I certainly can´t understand him. Why is he all smile and clapping while someone like Ding is a below par and easily sees him off? I certainly can´t understand Stephen Maguire as a person. Ronnie is someone I can understand, if just ignoring his "ability and willingness" to rescue and help the suicidal persons (???)...

So everyone has their flaws. But to be to easy to understand, or at least having some thoughts which makes the people to talk, helps the case. Of being so instrumental. Technically it is a gone case.

So Chandler SO HEAVILY still struggling? Wondering why. If Ronnie has been so instrumental? So Hirani and Miah still struggling? Wondering why. If Ronnie really has been so instrumental?

Ha.

Ha.

Haa.

It comes down to the of just playing the "minimal" safety-shots while having a real battle. While failing to made the shot, technically, it means basically nothing. There always is a room for a few really poor mistakes and miss-cueings. But having the "flow" and making just those MarkSelby, JackLisowski and so on safety-minimals (which means nothing, leaves nothing on, but neither or either does any harm), and they all are good players.

Mark Williams still can make that rock-solid contribution as soon as the decider begins. Can Ronnie? Is he already a bell end?


Yeah, that's what I meant to say.

Re: Did Ronnie "change the game"...?

Postby Ck147

Ronnie hasn't changed the game and probably never will. I gave my reasons in the other thread.

Re: Did Ronnie "change the game"...?

Postby SnookerFan

Ck147 wrote:Ronnie hasn't changed the game and probably never will. I gave my reasons in the other thread.


What's was the other thread?

Re: Did Ronnie "change the game"...?

Postby Ck147

SnookerFan wrote:
Ck147 wrote:Ronnie hasn't changed the game and probably never will. I gave my reasons in the other thread.


What's was the other thread?

Can't remember. (BTW, work just approved my holiday request for The Masters so I can make all the sessions on the Monday and Tuesday now!)