Badsnookerplayer wrote:I keep thinking about this.
The explanations so far are not illogical, but - to me at least - they are not convincing.
I can't help thinking that the ban on rolling up to a free ball was introduced to avoid a specific situation. I am trying to think of a situation where rolling up to a free ball might provide effectively infinite snookers, or maybe drag the game out forever but I can't.
I will keep thinking.
Hey, BSP. You can lay your weary head now and put your mind at ease. I thought of a situation for you in a matter of about three seconds. Whenever one may be hypothesizing a specific scenario such as this, one would do best to keep matters as simple and straightforward as possible. It makes it easy to consider and certainly easier to explain.
So for simplicity's sake, in a frame between you and I, we are down to the final Red on the table. The score is in your favour 38-0 (we have not potted well this frame) so we are at the "snookers required" stage. You have just played a foul stroke, now 38-4 to you and I will endeavour to describe the table situation....
All colours are on spot except the Yellow and Green. The final Red is touching Black on its spot and to the Black cushion side of it. The White has come to rest behind Brown on spot, say about four inches to the Baulk cushion side of it. The Yellow and Green have come to rest on either side of White, not touching it, and just a bit closer to Baulk cushion, say half a ball diameter so they are not hindering cueing at all.
Have the picture? Score is 38-4 to you, you have just committed a foul. No Miss because snookers were needed before the foul stroke, and a Free Ball is now available. My options: Play the shot to Red, Put you in to play the shot to Red, or Free Ball. Of course, me playing at Red would be silly. If I put you in as is, you can play off either side cushion to near middle pocket, come off Black cushion and touch Red. It may take a couple attempts to find the right line, spin, and power (FAAM would be in effect now) but it is not that difficult a stroke. Or I can play Free Ball. Not a good pot on anywhere in this situation.
But what if I had the option to roll up to Free Ball?
<cue the wavy lines across the screen like a flashback scene on telly>
Obviously, the "smart" play would be to nominate Brown and roll up to it the four inches with White landing perfectly and touching Brown. How devilish and despicable of me! And that was not even very difficult nor skillful at all! I am such a clever boy! Now White cannot be played off side cushion with Brown in the way, White cannot be reasonably played off Baulk cushion--hampered cueing with Brown and Yellow and Green blocking the lines anyway. So...eighteen feeble attempts later by you to contact Red playing off four, five, perhaps even six cushions, I am sitting pretty 38 points to the lead with the score at 76-38 without actually having potted a single ball the entire frame. I will cruise to an easy victory. Oh, and by the way, remember on your last attempt to contact Red in which you came reasonably close passing just a few inches away from it? (To be clear, the snooker in which you found yourself was not "impossible" by the standards of the Rules, just very, very difficult.) Well, the White rebounded off Black cushion and bounced out a ways so that while I cannot put you back to the original position (no FAAM anymore), I still do have a Free Ball available. Let's see now, where is that Brown?
For me personally, good Snooker is about positive play, scoring heavily, punishing your opponent with potting. It is not about skulking about in the bushes nefariously, not about pinching a few points here and there with negative play, not about taking pride in an infinite series of FAAM through a fortunate roll of the balls. When I am at the game, I am not willing my opponent to play badly. Au contraire, I wish my opponent to play as well as he is able and that in turn will benefit my game by forcing me to play even better. This is a continuously upward spiral between playing partners, and I think a much more optimistic view of the Game than just trying to win this frame at hand by laying the most devious snooker possible. I don't think the situation above (or variations of it) is anything that Snooker fans are interested in watching either.