I have seen many games of billiards and of any modality. Snooker, American pool, carom ... Some of them sensational, spectacular, really awesome. But it had been a long time since I saw an 8-ball game as incredible as the one Chris Melling scored a few days ago in the World Pool Series. If you have not seen it, here you have goes!
It has everything: strategy, creativity, risk, a dash of luck and authentic plays available to very few players. That's why I consider it one of the best games in history, if not the best. Keep in mind that Chris Melling, the protagonist, is no novice: This English player has a long career in major tournaments, has participated in the Mosconi Cup and therefore should not be surprised that he is able to do this kind of genius plays.
I do not want to make you spoilers so before reading continue make sure you've seen this video until the end, yes? That said, let's analyze this amazing match:
The first shot, it is the key step
Maybe the first shot is not the most spectacular, but it is the one that opens the way, where everything starts. That first throw by band was the key, what makes the difference. Because instead of defending (which is what the whole world would have done in that case), Melling went to the attack with the 4-ball. And he did it with an intelligent play that very few would have thought of. The level of risk was high, yes, but at that point of the game (just beginning), he could afford it.
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The stratospheric massé
After saving the first shot brilliantly, it stays covered. Very typical after a good play. Solution? Make a massé. But not an easy spin, but a long and controlled curved shot to enter the 2. One of those that forces you to lift the cue until it is almost vertical. A stratospheric massé, that's it!
A pinch of luck
Both in the first shot (because there are a couple of tricks that allow the 4 ball to end up falling into the pocket) and in the placement of the white after the massé, Melling has a bit of luck. It is always necessary. Here the luck is that after entering the ball 2, is perfectly facing for the next, which makes it easier to continue with the sequence. Even so, he is forced to study very well how to play each ball to reach the last, the most conflictive.
The 4 glorious bands
The placement for the 7 is defective and that forces him to execute a conformist shot. That is, push the ball to the pocket without hardly moving the white, leaving it just at the precise point to embark on the most spectacular shot of the game. Before throwing the 7, Melling knows he will play the ball 1 to four bands. And he knows that, if he enters, the white one stays stuck right there, a hand's breadth from the black one, and one step away from the glory. Visualizing that shot before executing it is often the key to achieving the goal. And so it was fulfilled. A blow, the 1 travels around the table dodging traffic, plays four bands and enters right through the center.
Just what I said, it will be difficult to find a billiard game more complete and spectacular than this one, do not you think?
PS: Melling ended up winning that game to Mika Immonen by 9-3 and lost in the round of 16.
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