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Caudron wins the biggest prize in billiards.

New York - August 11, 2018.

The first ever McCreery champion of champions tournament ended in a classic Belgian clash: Frédéric Caudron against Eddy Merckx. The world number one proved to be a bit stronger than the world number two: Caudron beat his long-time rival 50-35 in 23 innings, and cashed an unprecedented 150.000 dollars. Dick Jaspers took third place in the event, and Semih Sayginer ended fourth.

The final day saw action on just one table, with two semifinals being played separately. Dick Jaspers had the lead after the round robin matches, and he had been impressive on the penultimate day when he beat both Merckx and Caudron. But in Saturday’s semifinal, he could not get anything going. Merckx also had a slow start, but he started to score heavily after the poor first six innings. A run of 12 took the deficit for the Dutchman from 23-11 to 35-11, and there was no way for him to recover: 50-28 in 22, and Merckx could look back on a terrific match.

Semih Sayginer had beaten Caudron on Friday, but on Saturday the tables were turned. Fred used only 19 innings and barely an hour for a 50-24 victory. A few runs at breakneck speed, one of those a 10, were too much for Sayginer who did not do a lot wrong but had few positions to work with. Caudron’s game these days is a lethal mix of attack and defense, he is extremely hard to beat. 

The final between the Belgians had some nervy moments in the early innings, but who could blame these players? The stakes were high. Caudron was the first to find some rhythm, and he took a ten point lead. Merckx fought back well but a run of eight by the world number one (Caudron breaking through the Merckx defense with a splendid cross-table) made all the difference. From 48-35 Caudron finished with two “singles” and celebrated the win.

The McCreery event not only had a prize fund of 600.000 dollars, it also showcased a number of technical innovations, with camera angles, replays, automated lag-measuring and score-keeping never before seen in billiards. Former Sang Lee protégé and billiard visionary Ira Lee was mostly responsible for the new technology, which Ira lee sees as an instrument to further the sport.

A very capable team of referees from six countries was in charge all through the week. Willem Hofman (Netherlands), Stefan Andres (Germany), Martin Spoormans (Belgium), Hervé Lacombe (France), Jiwon Riu (South Korea) and Bilo Salama could look back on a week without a single questionable decision or complaint. Charles Brown was the seasoned tournament director.

Final ranking of the McCreery:

  1. Frédéric Caudron 1.980
  2. Eddy Merckx 1.721
  3. Dick Jaspers 1.868      
  4. Semih Sayginer 1.717
  5. Marco Zanetti 1.526
  6. Haeng Jik Kim 1.671
  7. Sung Won Choi 1.759
  8. Dani Sánchez 1.732
  9. Pedro Piedrabuena 1.546
  10. Torbjörn Blomdahl 1.504
  11. Hugo Patino 1.376
  12. Raymond Ceulemans 1.076

 

 

The high run

 (5.000 dollar extra prize) was made by Eddy Merckx.

The best match (5.000 dollars) was played by Haeng Jik Kim.

The best general average (5.000 dollars) was played by Frédéric Caudron.

 

                                                               

 

 

New York - August 11, 2018.

An emotional sixth day at the McCreery finally brought the answer to the question on everybody’s mind: who will be the four semifinalists? When Marco Zanetti made the final point against Haeng Jik Kim, all the numbers added up and Jaspers, Sayginer, Caudron and Merckx could take a deep breath. Haeng Jik Kim was the last player with a chance to shake up the order on the leaderboard, but he had a tough task: beat Zanetti and do it in 23 innings or less.

 

 

Eddy Merckx was on top of the leaderboard briefly, after Caudron had lost to Jaspers. But then he himself lost for the second time this Friday: first to Jaspers, then to Sánchez. And suddenly his “certain” place in the semi’s was under threat. He was on seven wins, four losses, a score also in reach for Marco Zanetti and Haeng Jik Kim. In that case, average would be the deciding factor. Zanetti was way behind and not even a match in 1 inning could save him. But Haeng Jik had closed the average gap with his brilliant 10-inning win over Ceulemans, and he was now at 1.678 against Merckx’s 1.680. 

Dick Jaspers had the toughest program of all, but he did very well by beating the number one and two players in the world, Merckx and Caudron, in 21 and 20 innings. It put him safely in the semi’s, above all doubt. Sayginer had a plan A (beat Caudron), and a plan B (beat Piedrabuena) to fall back on. He didn’t need it, by winning his match against Caudron (40-26 in 20), he was also safe. Caudron went from seven wins, two losses, to seven wins, four losses. But his average was high enough to stay above others on that same win/loss result.

The two players in the hunt for the fourth spot were Merckx and Kim, and ultimately it was Zanetti who forced the decision: Merckx made it.

Raymond Ceulemans was never happy with his own game this week, and he will end 12th. One spot higher it is Hugo Patino, who gave a good account of himself. The struggling Torbjörn Blomdahl could so easily have won three more matches than he did, he will be 10th. Pedro Piedrabuena (9th) was in the top four on the first days, he faded a bit later. Still, his 1.546 showed that he is a great player. Dani Sánchez was hot and cold this week, he had good days and bad days. He’ll be mostly disappointed to end 8th.  Sung Won Choi played a very good tournament with one horrible match, and it cost him. He ends 7th. Haeng Jik Kim was very close to the last four, and he is a thread to everyone. Marco Zanetti ends 5th, after a poor start with four losses and a great recovery with seven wins.

The final four? Watch it tomorrow, at 10.00, 12.30 and 16.30 local time, that GMT minus 4.

 

 

New York - August 10, 2018.

Another four rounds have been completed in the McCreery champion of champions, and unless true miracles happen, the two best players in the world have booked their place in Saturday’s showdown. Frédéric Caudron and Eddy Merckx have now won seven, lost two and even if they lose both their matches tomorrow, they will be in the semifinals on average. 

Caudron first fought off a stubborn Pedro Piedrabuena (40-31 in 21), then dominated Dani Sánchez (40-19 in 17). The Spaniard, who had done so well yesterday, was not the same player today. Dani lost twice and can’t make the final four anymore. Merckx beat Sayginer in a match with many highlights (40-34 in 21), including a run of 19, the highest of the tournament so far, and an insane cross-table shot that had everybody gasping for air. If the 19 holds up, it will earn Merckx an additional 5.000 dollars. In his second match, Eddy got past Piedrabuena in just 14 innings: 40-31. 

 

Life got a little bit more difficult for Jaspers and Sayginer on Thursday. They would have both loved to be on 7 wins, 2 losses, but they are on 6 and 3. The Turk beat Jaspers in a thriller, his amazing 39th point will be in every highlight reel. But he lost to Merckx, and is now no longer certain to be in the final four. Same goes for Jaspers, who did beat Sánchez by a margin, but lost to Sayginer.

Waiting in the wings are Haeng Jik Kim (wins over Blomdahl and Patino), and, believe it or not, Zanetti. The Italian had a disastrous start to the McCreery with four losses, but he has recovered with five wins and has a chance if he beats both Koreans tomorrow. So there is enormous pressure on the match between Kim and Zanetti.

Blomdahl had his second win, in a trench war with Sung Won Choi (40-31 in 38). Choi, the 2014 world champion lost both his fine average and his chance at the semi’s in this match. Ceulemans had a chance at a second win: he went toe to toe with Zanetti for most of the match but two avoidable kisses were effectively punished by the Italian. 

 Caudron: will play Sayginer and Jaspers 

 Merckx: will play Jaspers and Sánchez

 Jaspers: will play Merckx and Caudron

 Sayginer: will play Caudron and Piedrabuena

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York - August 9, 2018.

Ten of the twelve still in with a chance.

The field in the McCreery champion of champions is so strong, no player can stay undefeated. Semih Sayginer had a string of five wins, then he lost twice. Dick Jaspers is on two losses, and so are the favorite Belgians, Eddy Merckx and Frédéric Caudron. After four days of high drama and competition in New York, this quartet of players share the lead. 

 

 

 

The first to break Sayginer’s streak was Dani Sánchez, who dominated the Turk from start to finish: 40-15 in 15. Semih was realistic about it: “This does not change anything for me. Some matches, you can’t win. I will keep playing the way I have done.” Dani had an excellent day, because he followed the win over Sayginer with a good performance against Raymond Ceulemans: 40-18 in 16 innings. It took his record to four wins, three losses.

Also on “four and three” is Pedro Piedrabuena, who booked two 40-39 victories earlier but now lost by that same score. Haeng Jik Kim took full advantage of a mistake by Pedro late in the match, and Kim is now on three wins, four losses. He shares 7th – 10th place with Sung Won Choi, Hugo Patino and Marco Zanetti. The Italian had started the McCreery with four losses and a poor average, but he has recovered well, with wins over Blomdahl, Jaspers and Sánchez.

Sung Won Choi has a very fine tournament in terms of average (1.784) but he had to concede another match, this time to Dick Jaspers who beat him 40-29 in 14. Choi then played a see-saw match against Sayginer, where he had to come from far behind twice. A little good fortune helped him make the last two points: 40-38 in 22. The match of the day, Caudron – Merckx, took more innings than expected: in a nervous encounter with some unforced errors by both players, Merckx was the one who made the final point: 40-37 in 27. 

The two players who are certain not to be in the semifinals are arguably the two greatest 3-cushion champions of all time: Torbjörn Blomdahl and Raymond Ceulemans. Tomorrow, Thursday, will have four rounds of play and we may get a better idea of who the candidates for the top prizes will be. 

 

New York - August 8, 2018.

Fred  and Semih pull away from the field.

On the third day of the McCreery champion of champions tournament, two players have made their bid for a place in Saturday’s semifinals. They still have a bit of work to do on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but they are in a good position: Semih Sayginer is still undefeated, he has played five, won five, and Frédéric Caudron is not far behind: he has played six, won five. 

Behind these two, Dick Jaspers and Pedro Piedrabuena share third place with four wins and two losses. Eddy Merckx is the only player with three wins. Behind Eddy, Sung Won Choi, Haeng Jik Kim, Dani Sánchez, Marco Zanetti and Hugo Patino are on two wins. Raymond Ceulemans and Torbjörn Blomdahl have just one win.  

Sayginer won a nailbiter against Haeng Jik Kim: 40 – 37, and he realized that it could have gone either way. Merckx had a fairly easy victory over Raymond Ceulemans, who (at 81) was sharply critical of his own play. What a great sportsman he still is! Dani Sánchez showed much of his class in a 19-inning win over Sung Won Choi, who has already lost a few despite playing to a high standard. Piedrabuena booked his second 40-39 win of the tournament, after Hugo Patino failed to capitalize on a big lead and missed an easy match point.

The Blomdahl story continued: he built up a lead against Caudron, played well over 2 average but could not win: 40 – 38 (in 17) to the Belgian. Marco Zanetti showed up with a more positive outlook on life, and he produced his first quality match of the week, defeating Dick Jaspers 40 – 33 in 21 innings. 

Caudron had the chance to improve on Sayginer’s best match of 40 in 11, but a few minor mistakes kept him on 13 innings for his 40 – 23 win over Haeng Jik Kim. Jaspers beat Ceulemans in a match that will mostly be remembered for three magnificent bank shots, two by the Dutchman, one by the Belgian.

Sung Won Choi finally got some reward for his good play when he beat Pedro Piedrabuena 40 – 36 in 30. Patino made a good comeback against Sayginer but it was not enough for him to win: 40 – 32 in 17 to the Turk who added a few amazing shots to the McCreery’s highlight reel. Zanetti recorded his second win when he got past Sánchez: 40 – 28 in 18. Blomdahl put his first points on the board against Eddy Merckx: 40 – 29 in 18. The Swede is still in 12th place, but his average is the sixth of the field, which underlines how horribly unlucky his week has been so far.

New York - August 7, 2018.

Semih Sayginer is in the lead

The second day of the McCreery champion of champions tournament had the same theme as the first: some players were struggling, some players walked on air. Turkish superstar Semih Sayginer is on top of the leaderboard. He may have only played three matches, but he is undefeated. That makes his record slightly better than the three wins and one loss behind the names of Frédéric Caudron, Dick Jaspers and Pedro Piedrabuena.  Sayginer played a flawless match against Raymond Ceulemans, needing only 11 innings for his 40 points. His 3.636 average is the best in the event so far, improving on Piedrabuena’s 3.333.

Hugo Patino had a smile on his face as wide as Semih’s after his 20-inning win over world champion Frédéric Caudron. A run of 15 made all the difference, and Hugo is now on two wins, two losses. Eddy Merckx lost his undefeated status at the hands of Sung Won Choi, who recovered from two losses and averages an excellent 1.964 after three matches.

Dani Sánchez was beaten by Haeng Jik Kim, which puts him next to Choi on the leaderboard, on one win and two losses. He had maybe hoped for a better start, but he is still in much better shape than the very surprising numbers 11 & 12 on the list: Torbjörn Blomdahl and Marco Zanetti. The Swede would have been on four wins with a very good average, if all matches had been to 30 instead of 40. He lost to Piedrabuena (40-39) after another terrific start (32 in 10). Italy’s hope Marco Zanetti is not doing any better: four played, four lost. He is on a general average of 1.223, which is far below his usual standard. 

Dick Jaspers had his disappointing loss in the first round (against Piedrabuena) but he has dusted himself off and is playing well now: one loss, three wins. Piedrabuena, the room owner from San Diego, is having a dream week so far. He only lost to Mr. 100, Raymond Ceulemans, and defeated Jaspers, Blomdahl and Zanetti. Pedro is on 1.697 and a happy man. 

All results and schedule: http://www.mccreerychampionofchampions.com

 

 

New York - August 6, 2018.

First day of McCreery full of surprises.

Caudron , Merckx and Sayginer on top of the leaderboard: perhaps some people would have predicted that correctly. But the other standings after the first day of the McCreery champion of champions event in New York could not have been foreseen by anybody. It was just minutes after UMB president Farouk Barki had opened the tournament, that Pedro Piedrabuena decided to make a mockery of all predictions. He played an almost fault-free match and defeated Dick Jaspers in only 12 innings, creating the first upset.

In the next round however, Piedrabuena was beaten by none other than 81 year-old Sir Raymond Ceulemans. Mr. 100 apparently felt he had not won enough matches in the past six decades, so he added a McCreery win to his miles-long resume. Torbjörn Blomdahl built up an enormous lead against Semih Sayginer but was unable to make the last handful of points and the Turk made a strong comeback. Even more bizarre was the scoresheet of the match between Dani Sánchez and Hugo Patino. 10 – 1 to the Spaniard turned into 24 – 36 to the NewYorker, then came a run of 10 by Sánchez. A relieved Patino was the one who made the 40th point and the second big upset was born.

Haeng Jik Kim won the Korean battle with Sung Won Choi, and Caudron booked two solid wins (v. Ceulemans and Choi) with a 2.000 average. Merckx had to work hard for his wins (against Patino and Zanetti) in matches with plenty of defense. Sánchez dodged a bullet in his match against Blomdahl, the Swede again in the lead for most of the match but he could not get across the line. Jaspers recovered with a win over Haeng Jik Kim, to put him in the group with a win and a loss. 

For full results and standings, check the tournament website:

http://www.mccreerychampionofchampions.com

 

New YorkJuly 30, 2018

McCreery 3-Cushion Champion of Champions Groundbreaking Event to Shake the World of Billiards.

UMB launches most prestigious tournament in three-cushion history and introduces innovative technological developments.

The inaugural “McCreery 3-Cushion Champion of Champions” event, an exciting and innovative 3-cushion billiards tournament, will begin on Sunday, August 5, 2018, and run through Saturday, August 11, 2018.  Over the course of these seven days, twelve of the most accomplished billiard champions in the world will compete in a round robin event.

 

Organized and sanctioned by the Union Mondiale de Billiard (UMB), the “McCreery 3-Cushion Champion of Champions” will showcase 69 matches introducing never-before-seen technology from ESB Labs that will allow for in-depth, real-time insights into the game. Technological innovations include billiard tables equipped with sensors on the surface and in the rails, powerful officiating tools that enable complex and detailed review, new sports data monitoring systems, and high frame rate cameras. The players will compete for over $600,000 in prize money in this most prestigious three-cushion tournament in history. 

The live broadcast of the tournament will feature commentary by Kurt Ceulemans, son of the legendary Raymond Ceulemans, and Jeanette Lee, an American professional pool player known throughout the world as the legendary “Black Widow.”

Through the official tournament website: www.mccreerychampionofchampions.com and the UMB’s official media partner’s website, Kozoom, at: http://www.kozoom.com/en/billiard-carom/ the action will be live streamed to fans of the sport around the world with updated tournament results, live scores, and information about the players.

 

The Field of Players

Torbjörn Blomdahl (Sweden)                5 time World Three-Cushion Champion

Frédéric Caudron (Belgium)                 3 time World Three-Cushion Champion

Raymond Ceulemans (Belgium)        21 time World Three-Cushion Champion

Sung-Won Choi (South Korea)             1 time World Three-Cushion Champion

Dick Jaspers (The Netherlands)           3 time World Three-Cushion Champion

Haeng-Jik Kim (South Korea)               4 time World Three-Cushion Junior Champion

Eddy Merckx (Belgium)                         2 time World Three-Cushion Champion

Hugo Patiño (USA)                                2 time Panamerican Three-Cushion Champion

Pedro Piedrabuena (USA)                     3 time Panamerican Three-Cushion Champion

Daniel Sánchez (Spain)                         4 time World Three-Cushion Champion

Semih Sayginer (Turkey)                       1 time World Three-Cushion Champion                           

Marco Zanetti (Italy)                               2 time World Three-Cushion Champion

                             

Tournament Format

The McCreery 3-Cushion Champion of Champions Tournament will feature a round robin format in which all 12 competitors will have the opportunity to face each other. At the conclusion of the round robin, the top four players will advance to the semifinals with the winner of each semifinal match playing in the championship match on August 11, 2018.

The tournament is named in honor of Wayman C. McCreery (1851 – 1901), highly regarded as one of the most accomplished amateurs in the late 1800’s. He developed three-cushion billiards as a separate and distinct discipline for tournament match-play.

UMB (Union Mondiale de Billiard) is the world governing body for carom billiards and a member of the WCBS (World Conference of Billiard Sports).  http://www.umb-carom.org/

 

Lausanne, August 2nd, 2018

The most highly anticipated billiards championship of the year is about to kick off. On Sunday 5 August the balls will roll for the first time, and the final will be played a week later, on Saturday 11 August. Players and fans are excited, and that has a lot to do with the prize money, never before seen in the 3-cushion sport. The winner of the McCreery tournament of champions will take home 150.000 dollars, and the total prize fund is 600.000 dollars. 

For those who may have missed the earlier reports: the McCreery is a UMB sanctioned invitational event, with twelve players. The six that were invited based on their world ranking are Frédéric Caudron, Eddy Merckx, Marco Zanetti, Haeng Jik Kim, Dick Jaspers and Torbjörn Blomdahl. The second half dozen are former world champions Dani Sánchez, Sung Won Choi, Semih Sayginer and Raymond Ceulemans, and the two best players from the U.S.A: Pedro Piedrabuena and Hugo Patino.  

There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that this event will produce 3-cushion of the very highest quality. The conditions are superb and so is the field. An international selection of experienced referees will make sure the rules are followed, and cameras will register every point from several angles. We may even learn a thing or two about our game, from the high resolution slow motion replays we are going to be treated to. 

The format is round robin first, semifinals and final on the last day. Three tables will be used during the round robin matches, with four rounds of play on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, three rounds will be played. All round robin matches will be to 40 points, no equalizing inning. The semifinals and final will be to 50 points.

The tables for the event have been supplied by ROK billiards, the cloth is Iwan Simonis and the balls are Super Aramith Pro-cup. Kozoom will stream all the matches.

                                                 

(c) 2018 Union Mondiale de Billard