Post a reply

Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby acesinc

Posted in the tournament banter:

Ash147 wrote:
Ash147 wrote:This is where the miss rule becomes silly. This snooker is such a difficult one for Mike Dunn to escape from.

This is what I was referring to last night.

You all know that I don't post very often and I don't tend to spend much time in the banter topics. This side of the pond, it is difficult to follow the game live; streams are difficult to come by and shaky at best in integrity, and I simply can't devote too much time to trying to keep up. Occasionally, when something interesting appears to have happened, I generally rely on YouTube to be able to see it with my own eyes.

It turns out that I had some spare time and coincidentally, I happened upon a good stream and I was actually watching this live as it happened last night. And I thought to myself that it demonstrates the basic trouble with the FAAM rule but for his part Terry Camilleri did as good a job with it as can be expected.

The biggest problem with this one is technology. As they are attempting to implement this Rule, the use of technology is still poor after more than twenty years now. As I have said many times, the Rule was written as it is for use on the professional circuit but as with any good rule set, of course, the Rule should also apply at the amateur and even simple social and recreational level. But that is not the case with FAAM. I have known so many amateur players who wish to follow this Rule within their own game, but they simply do not understand it properly, and of course complete lack of technology at the Club level makes it a joke to attempt to implement FAAM anyway.

There was a poster on Snooker Island a few years back...Biskit Boy I think he went by...who created a concept to alleviate this problem at all levels of play. It was sheer genius. I thought it should have gone straight to the top and it should have been implemented as an immediate and important rule change after review by the powers that be. The solution was useful and understandable for all levels of play and would actually leave the Professional game virtually untouched to continue play virtually identical as current. I wish someone in charge would be smart enough to take note of that concept and take whatever steps necessary to implement it into the Rules of Snooker.

Now about this particular "impossible" snooker in which Mike Dunn found himself. You should open the video to refer to while reading this post. You can see the ORIGINAL ball position following Wilson's trap at 2:15. Analyzing that, Dunn had two possible paths to play....1) the very difficult one that he chose, and 2) another very difficult three cushion escape kind of paralleling the Pink to Black line....Black cush, side cush, Baulk cush near Yellow. The second choice also left the real possibility of White in off the Red even if contact were made. To be clear, Kyren played his stroke with very specific is no coincidence that the Red is sitting there right in the jaws of the middle pocket. Kyren wished to lay a devious snooker, expected that Mike Dunn would fail in the escape, and Kyren would pounce on the duck of a Red in the jaws. That is important to understand for what is to follow...

First failed escape: very narrow gate between Brown and cush with extremely precise spin control and of course, Mike struck the Brown and the balls bounce away, Red never moving so the resulting position meant the Red was unpottable for Kyren. Why did Mike Dunn choose this path over the other? They were both incredibly difficult no matter what but if path #2 were tried, success of contact with Red probably would have meant an in off foul anyway. With path #1, success (while not at all likely) nearly certainly would have resulted in POTTING the Red, let alone just making contact. It was the correct choice. And Camilleri CORRECTLY called FAAM because if there is more than one option, the referee should expect that the player will try other options.......if a player has half dozen options, five of them easy, but instead chooses a nearly impossible path, should the Ref NOT call "miss" because the escape was nearly impossible for the path chosen? He can and should call FAAM all day long.

Camilleri attempted to put the balls back into position. Sadly, he failed miserably. If you stop video at 3:30 and compare it to the original snookered position, path #2 is now clearly not even an option anymore for Mike. This is embarrassing for the controlling body of Snooker in my opinion. It is more than twenty years now guys, if you cannot implement this correctly, then you must consider scrapping it. Let's be clear....while extremely difficult, this was NOT an "impossible" snooker to escape. In fact, there HAD BEEN not one but two clear possible paths to attempt the escape. Kyren was not at all "lucky" that the snookered position turned out exactly as it had; it was very well planned and executed.

Second failure: Pretty much the same as the first failure, not much to talk about here.

Again, Camilleri attempts to put back the balls.....and now we have all the relevant balls in yet another NEW position unlike the position of the two earlier attempts. Stop video at 5:20 and compare that the the stop video at 3:30 and at the original 2:15. If this doesn't give one pause to think that SOMETHING has got to change, then you are simply not paying attention. The "gate" between Brown and cush was actually opened up quite a bit making that third and final attempt quite a bit easier. And the result of course was different. Part of the problem I think (but certainly not all of the problem) is that it appears that resetting the balls for the third attempt, they were referring to the stop video of the ball position of the SECOND ATTEMPT! Instead of the correct stop video of the original position as at 2:15. You will note that the position of balls in Attempt # 3 is quite close to ball positions of Attempt # 2. The big deviation that occurred was between Attempt #'s 1 and 2.

After the third failure (and with the advantage of the Brown being further away from cushion), Dunn did manage to hold the cue ball on a straight enough path that it did in fact contact Red but of course contact was with Brown first, much thinner contact with Brown than the first two attempts. Wilson obviously expected that Referee Camilleri would be calling FAAM all day long but Mr. Camilleri was exactly correct in has assessment that Mike Dunn has made the best possible attempt to contact given the circumstances (that being that there was no longer even a second path that might be tried). Dunn played the stroke with the clear effort to move the Red ball without regard to the resulting position he would leave for Wilson and that satisfies the FAAM Rule requirement. Referee Camilleri invokes the Fair Play clause and calls a simple "Foul!". Kyren Wilson seemed a little surprised by this (he probably doesn't understand the Rule correctly seems that nearly no one does), but of course he didn't complain about it.

This Rule mostly works at the professional level. It is utter crap for amateur play without technology. After all this time at the professional level, they STILL cannot get their technology correct. Almost no one properly understands the implementation of this Rule. Somebody in charge of these decisions really, really needs to give this a good think.

Re: Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby acesinc

Oh, by the way, I should probably refresh your memory a bit about the "Biskit Boy" rule and how it may have changed this Mike Dunn situation...(spoiler alert...good chance that it may not have changed the outcome, nor even the details, at all.)

Biskit Boy's concept is to eliminate the referee's discretion entirely. EVERY missed contact is called as a Foul and a Miss even in such case that contact is literally impossible. (Literally impossible almost never occurs....imagine the cue ball completely trapped by two balls not on and the cushion....THAT is LITERALLY impossible to contact ball on. This situation with Mike Dunn was very difficult but NOT literally impossible.) So the referee has no discretion; he simply states the fact that a Foul and a Miss has occurred. In that case, the non-fouling player has exactly the same options as currently. Let us say that as in this Wilson/Dunn case, Kyren calls for the balls to be reset. The difference is the next step....the FOULING player now has an option. He can choose to either have the ref reset the balls, or he can opt out of playing the stroke again by simply surrendering Ball in Hand to his opponent instead. (This would be the thermonuclear option of ball in hand to be positioned ANYWHERE on the table as in the Six Red variation.) Now, the thing is, how often do you really think that thermonuclear option is going to happen at the Professional level? The answer is nearly never.....probably only in such case as a literally impossible snooker occurs.

So then, what would have happened with Wilson/Dunn had the Biskit Boy Rule been in place? Same thing as you saw except the third Miss would have allowed Wilson to call for the balls to be reset. Dunn would NEVER have given Ball in Hand to Wilson particularly with that Red just hanging over the pocket so the FAAM sequence likely would have continued until: 1) Dunn actually succeeds in his quest for a nearly impossible escape or 2) Snookers Required stage is reached (no more FAAM) or 3) In one of Mike Dunn's attempts, he happens to knock the Red into a difficult position such that he decides that it is worth the risk to give Kyren Ball in Hand very much as occurred in that failed third attempt.

My guess is that Dunn probably would have kept trying until Snookers became required for him to have a chance to win and thus play would have continued. Alternately, after that third attempt, the Red happened to end up tight against the side cushion. In that circumstance, maybe, just maybe, he would have risked his luck by declining resetting the balls and put Kyren in that position with Ball in Hand. It still would have been a very difficult pot even with Ball in Hand so perhaps the frame may have played out EXACTLY the same way as it did.

Now, if we take the exact same ball position as at 2:15 in the video and now we are in an Amateur frame, the snookered player fails in his first escape attempt. His opponent wishes to put the balls back to original position (at least to the best of their ability without video support) but the fouling player will probably think, "Okay, if I give him Ball in Hand, he is sure to pot a ball or two, but there is only 16 points difference [scoreline was 44 and 28 after the initial foul and Yellow was NOT in an easily pottable position for an Amateur] so maybe I should just let him do his best and hope he misses." The big difference here is that the Referee is completely irrelevant to the Players' decisions, Amateur or Professional. The Rules would take care of everything; there is no Referee's Discretion required at all. In fact, at the Amateur level, there is almost certainly no Referee in the first place to even have any subjective discretion as the frame is almost certainly self-refereed by the players.

Win-win. Professionals play their game appropriate to their talent level and Amateurs play by exactly the same Rules appropriate to their talent level.
Last edited by acesinc on 02 Dec 2018, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby acesinc

I will give this thread another bump. I don't expect much activity here with the tournament on but a couple more thoughts struck me.

At 4:37, you can see that Kyren Wilson attempts to make the point about what should have been the second option that had been originally available. It was too little, too late because the second attempt had already been made with the balls out of original position.

At 5:14, you can hear Referee Callimeri say, "Can I keep this shot here? Freeze this shot", in other words, in case we have to put this back again, we are going to attempt to put the balls back in THIS position, implying that no effort is actually made to recreate the actual ball position as it was for the original stroke.

I don't know who the commentators are (one sounds like John Parrott to me, no idea about the other feller), but after Referee Callimeri calls only "Foul!" for the third failure to contact, the comments from the box seem as if the Referee is choosing whether to call Foul and a Miss or not for each stroke attempt. This is what I keep harping on about that this Rule is so, so, so misunderstood. In the situation (ignoring the fact that the balls were regularly replaced to the incorrect positions), Mr Callimeri made the only calls that could be made according to the Rules. He followed the spirit of the Rule exactly each and every time. It is not a matter of, "Well, I think he made a good enough effort." I applaud the second commentator, the other feller, who at 6:03 says exactly this, "'s really good to see a Referee put the Rule into practice as it is written." There was no "decision" made by Mr. Callimeri...he simply applied the Rule correctly in each of the three cases. Sadly, technology failed him miserably so that his efforts cannot be fully appreciated. People will argue as to whether he made the right call or not but there is no argument to be made; he made the only calls there were to be made according to the Rules.

Which brings the point that since people don't understand that it is so difficult for an expertly trained Referee to simply apply the rule correctly, then how can this rule possibly be applied correctly at the lower levels of the Game?

Edit: I heard the commentator that I believe is John Parrott refer to the other feller as "Shaun" so I assume that is Shaun Murphy. Kudos to his assessment.

Re: Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby acesinc

Tim Dunkley wrote:Brilliant solution. Love it.

Thanks for your opinion and reading my epic novel Tim. I highly value your opinion. If you had not yet seen BiskitBoy's original post, I searched and found it here:


You will have to scroll through the first few posts but they are worth reading as well. My favourite quote from BiskitBoy is:

BiskitBoy wrote:Based on the two examples above how should the referee make a subjective decision to call a ‘miss’ or not? Of course the answer is they shouldn’t have to.

I have seen video of professionals polled on what they think of the FAAM Rule and in general, they are fine with it. Of course they would be! They are used to it after all these years and they have a neutral, professional Referee taking care of the issue for them! Not so for the knuckleheaded amateur in a smoky, dimly lit dive of a pool hall just trying to improve his game and have a bit of fun. No one at the lower level knows how to correctly apply the rule and there is certainly no Referee to take care of it for us.

Every tournament I have played in (admittedly, not all that many as we have so few available over here), in the preliminary meeting, one of the players has always asked, "Are we using the Miss Rule?" and the Tournament Director has always replied, "NO! Only options are play as is or pass the shot." This makes no sense...why do we need different rules for Professionals and Amateurs? This rule change would allow for one rule fits all.

If I recall, you are a coach and/or referee of some sort? If you are in the system, then perhaps this topic can come up in conversation with others. In the States here, I am just a tiny little fish in the tiny little USA Snooker pond so all I can do is ramble on incoherently on an internet forum...

Re: Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby acesinc

Tim Dunkley wrote:Yes, I am a World Snooker coach who has a great interest in the rules. This is certainly the best solution that I've ever heard of.

I am very happy to have you on board with this Tim. I don't know if you are a little guy looking up a very tall ladder or if you have made your way up quite a few rungs already, but any conversations you may have can only help.

The brilliance of this solution is in removing as much of the subjectivity of the referee as possible, all is left to players' decisions other than the actual reset positions. And since the governing body REFUSES to update technology to the point of resetting positions accurately, then that fact will also factor into the players' decisions on how to proceed. Of course, in the Amateur scenario, there is no technology involved so both players acknowledge that they reset as close as they can and they must both agree on position before proceeding. I must keep going back to that video to 4:37 when Kyren Wilson is probably saying something like, "Hey, wait a minute. He also had a path out before going this way. He should have to try that at least. Uh, hold on. Where did it go?" Amateurs resetting their own table will make sure they truly accept table position before saying, "Good."

By the Rules, after resetting the first time and Terry asks, "Alright, Mike? Alright, Kyren?" And they condoned this current position. After the second time, the third time, the fourth time, the nth time, they will concur every time so that the next reset position will be based not on the original position, but on the current position, as it has now been condoned. And since the controlling body refuses to develop the technology properly, in theory, one could make a stop frame animation of the multiple ball reset positions moving around the table like the clouds moving in the sky throughout the day. It really is rather insane when you think about the details.

For anyone who believes that the current method works fine, we should just leave it alone, let me present two similar hypothetical situations:

1) The PERFECT snooker. Player A is lagging by 34 points after potting the penultimate Red but not a straightforward Colour to pot. Important ball positions as follows. Final Red is sitting on or very near Pink spot with Pink and Black very close by but Pink and Black are both a bit closer to Black cushion (making Free Ball a danger in the event of a foul). Green is at the Baulk line about a half ball diameter away from the Green side cushion. White is just below the Green a few inches away from the same cushion and the Yellow is six inches away exactly perpendicular in line with White to the Green side cushion.

What shot will be played? With no straight forward pot, Player A decides a snooker is in order to maximize his potential with the final Red. Strike Yellow and screw perfectly so White ends touching the side cushion AND the Green on the Baulk side of it for a full ball snooker. The Yellow rebounds off the Yellow side cushion, comes back toward Green and White and Yellow finishes touching the White. IMPOSSIBLE snooker! So Player B WILL foul but he is simply obligated to play in the direction of the Red. He will play the foul stroke to the standards of the Rules but surely he will be cautious not to actually disturb Red/Pink/Black since their positions are difficult. No Foul and a Miss, net gain for Player A four points for a perfectly laid snooker. The balls are in haphazard position, no real benefit to Player A as Player B was cautious to not leave a Free Ball.

2) The NEAR Perfect snooker. No need to be wordy here...exactly the same as above except that Yellow pulls up, say, a half inch short of touching White. This leaves a very narrow, blind channel with hampered cueing especially for a right handed player. Simply a one cushion escape off the Baulk cushion. In theory, anyone should be able to do this, maybe it will take a few attempts to adjust the angle. So first attempt, don't want to disturb Red/Pink/Black too much because they are all blocking each other from potting, and the White pulls up short of contact a few inches. Or it hits Pink. Or it hits Black. FAAM, FAAM, FAAM. This is quite a difficult snooker, but not at all an impossible one. Foul and a Miss should rightfully be called in these cases according to the Rules. In my hypothetical situation (since it is my imagination we are using here), FAAM is called every time and Player B ends up striking Black nine times and Pink one time, and Player B can no longer win without penalties so FAAM is not called on the final attempt. Net gain for Player A....69 points. For, I might add, a less-than-perfectly-laid snooker.

Can anyone justify that this Rule makes sense as it is currently written if it allows for the above scenario?

Take the above scenarios with the BiskitBoy rule.

In 1), Player B obviously will not accept putting the balls back as he would obviously foul in every single attempt. Since the Red is currently in a "bad" position blocked from potting by the Pink and Black, he will simply play toward the Red obviously disturbing Yellow and/or Green. (No doubt he will make certain at least one of them stays near the cushion if he is smart.) Four away, Player A wishes to reset, Player B refuses and concedes Ball in Hand. The frame proceeds. Net gain to Player A, 4 points leaving 30 points in the frame with possible 35 remaining. This is exactly the same as current rules.

In 2), this snookered position is rather difficult but Player B may believe that he can make contact with little risk though it may take several attempts. If Player B fails to escape, Player A may or may not wish to reset depending on the result, and Player B may or may not accept the reset depending on ball positions. (Remember, the Red was unpottable being trapped between Pink and Black so conceding Ball in Hand may be a lesser penalty than multiple Miss fouls.) Net gain to Player A....remains to be seen depending on the Players' decisions and executions (could be zero with a first attempt escape, may be a maximum of 75 points if Player B is really stubborn and unlucky).

To me, the concept of the BiskitBoy Rule would be much more in line with the general Spirit of the Rules of Snooker than the current FAAM Rule.
Last edited by acesinc on 04 Dec 2018, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby acesinc

Badsnookerplayer wrote:Totally agree and it would add to the game.

The nuclear option as you named it (I think) would add a great new dimension.

I used "thermonuclear" as if it would be the ultimate penalty. I think you're right, "nuclear option" is a more apt nomenclature as it is bad as far as a penalty goes, but it is not the absolute worst penalty (loss of frame, loss of match, banishment from the tour for fourteen years come to mind). Another nomenclature is to call it Ball in Hand with the capitals rather than the simple ball in hand within the "D".

The thing is that professionals would nearly never resort to the nuclear option since at their level, it may well be the equivalent of conceding the frame. But at MY level, with my own standard and that of the opponents I play, I rarely have concern that my opponent will pick up more than a Red and a Colour. And often that Colour will be a Baulk colour that happens to be perched over a pocket from a previous poor stroke. So currently, if my opponent flukes a really good snooker against me and he is the type that will call FAAM no matter how close or genuine is my attempt to contact, then I may well take 4, 5, maybe even more attempts before I finally manage a fair stroke. If there are a bunch of open Reds on the table, damn right I will be smart to just call the nuclear option, concede him Ball in Hand, and have at it. Chances are it will cost me the initial foul and a break of maybe 4 or 6. That is a much cheaper punitive option for a fluke snooker than 10 FAAM penalties in a row (and yes, I have had that many FAAM's called on me...a couple times. (You would think it should be upsetting but I have learned to laugh it off and shake my head.....most players simply don't understand FAAM and its intent and probably never will so anger is certainly pointless. Now, if something were actually riding on the frame, say, a wager or a tournament match, I would be smart enough beforehand to specify, "No Foul and a Miss; either play as is or pass the shot." See how we are going in a circle here? When something is important, amateurs would be foolish to try to follow the Rules.)

Of course, BSP, you play at a higher standard and I imagine your opponents are higher standard also. So you would not so casually give away the Ball in Hand; your opponent is likely to punish you. So just like the flood waters seeking their own level, each player will find his own level as to what is the correct decision for any particular situation. And therein lies the beauty of the BiskitBoy Rule.

Re: Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby Badsnookerplayer

I don't think I play to a great standard, but I would consider the nuclear option if there were two or more reds on the cushion or otherwise obstructed. As you say though, it would be used less at the highest levels.

I just think it would add a lot to the game

Re: Another piece on the Foul and a Miss Rule...

Postby acesinc

Badsnookerplayer wrote:I don't think I play to a great standard, but I would consider the nuclear option if there were two or more reds on the cushion or otherwise obstructed. As you say though, it would be used less at the highest levels.

I just think it would add a lot to the game

I think you are a humble guy, Bad. I play to a 20's-30's standard with the occasional 50 while I gather you likely play to a 40's-50's standard with the occasional 70. Suffice to say that given the nuclear option, you would likely pot more than a couple colours. I would call for Ball in Hand with some caution if you are my opponent. I would certainly reset at least several times trying to make a fair (and smart) stroke before I consider giving you that nuclear advantage.

My major motivation is that this rule change would allow ALL players...professional, amateur, play to the same simple, understandable Rule set. Currently, that is truly an impossible dream if one is honest about it.

I await Tim's response in anticipation in case he may actually be able to take this ball and run with it.