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Billiards (fr. Billard, from fr. Bille - ball) is a collective name for games, the essence of which is the movement of balls on a billiard table using a cue.

For a long time it was believed that the homeland of this very ancient game is England, and that it was to this country that Asian merchants brought the uncomplicated game of balls, which the British successfully improved. In addition, according to some scholars, the word billiards comes from a combination of two English words: ball - "ball" and yard - "yard", "courtyard". Later it was suggested that billiards first appeared in China. However, archaeologists have proven that as early as 1500 BC, a game resembling billiards was known in Ancient Egypt, from where it spread throughout the world.

At first, only a select few played billiards - crowned persons, noble nobles. Queen of Scots Mary Stuart adored this game, Charles IX was able to play billiards day and night, and only extreme fatigue could force the monarch to complete the game. And Henry III made a lot of efforts to make the "noble billiard game" known to noble gentlemen in England, Germany, Spain, Italy. However, only during the reign of the French kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV, billiard tables began to be installed in public places, which, by the way, brought considerable income to the state.

There are several types of billiards:

Carom (French billiards) - the game is played at a table without pockets, the length of which is 2.84 m, width - 1.42 m (± 5 mm). The playing surface, bounded by rubber boards, is a slate board (the thickness of which is at least 45 mm), covered with 100% green wool cloth. The carom set includes three balls (diameter from 61 to 61.5 mm and weight from 205 to 220 g): a white cue ball, a red aiming ball and a white cue ball with red or black dots (or a solid yellow ball) ... There are single-breasted, three-breasted, artistic cannon, frame 47/1, frame 74/2, open party.

Russian billiards is a type of pocket billiards, which requires compliance with special requirements for the equipment for the game (large balls, the diameter of which (68-68.5 mm) is slightly inferior to the size of the pocket (angular - 72-73 mm, average - 82-83 mm)) ... All balls are ivory, cue ball yellow or red. The tables are covered in green cloth with markings. Varieties of Russian billiards:
"American" - the game is played with 16 balls, and any of them can be either a cue ball or an aiming ball;
The "Moscow pyramid" ("Siberian" or "combined"), which appeared in Russia during the time of Peter I, differs from other pocket billiards in its comparatively strict pockets and playing on "own" balls. There are also combined, dynamic, classical, large and small Russian, Neva pyramids, a rolling pyramid, the Arctic, etc.

Snooker (from the English snooker - "first-year student of the British troops", an analogue of the Russian "salaga") is a type of billiard game widespread in Great Britain. It is believed that this type of billiards was invented in 1875 by Colonel of the British colonial forces, Neville Chamberlain. On the game table there is a pyramid of 15 red balls, a white cue ball and 6 colored balls at certain marks. Snooker differs from other types of billiards in its significant table size, a certain geometry of the pocket lips and rather complex rules. For example, just getting a ball into the pocket is not enough - after the next hit, the cue-ball should be in such a position from which it will be convenient to pocket the next ball.

Pool (from the French poule, "bank, bullet, bet") or American billiards - a kind of pocket billiards that appeared in 1857, when an Irish American Michael Phelan invented a new type of pocket. The pool game is played on standard tables with correspondingly shaped pockets; a set of balls consists of a white cue ball and 15 numbered colored balls. There are several types of pool: pool-7, pool-8, pool-9, pool-10, straight, rotation, in one pocket.

Billiards myths

England was the first to start playing billiards in Europe. Indeed, for a long time it was believed that billiards originated in England, or at least was first introduced to this country. But recent finds by archaeologists refute this fact, proving irrefutably that the homeland of the above game is Ancient Egypt. Billiards was brought to Europe by knights who participated in the Crusades (X-XI centuries). Since most of the knights were French, it was France that was the first in Europe to get acquainted with a new and very interesting foreign game.

Billiards has nothing to do with science. Attempts to investigate the mathematical basis of a billiard game have been made several times. For example, in 1835 Gaspard Gustav Coriolis wrote the book "Theorie mathematique du jeu de billard" ("Mathematical theory of the phenomena of a billiard game"). However, the work of Coriolis, in which the author used elements of probability theory, the theory of limits and general analysis, did not interest neither the players nor the mathematicians. Only 150 years later, the theory of billiards became an integral part of ergodynamic theory and the theory of dynamical systems, combining differential equations, geometry, and probability theory. The mathematician Gelperin created a way to define a number using billiards, and Alhazen, Gardner, and Steinhaus were also involved in research in this area. In addition, billiard theory is related to gas dynamics, analytical mechanics, etc.

You cannot improve your health by playing billiards - after all, this game does not imply great mobility. Indeed, the billiard player is not required to be hyper-mobile, but, for example, the correct posture of billiards will help to develop, while avoiding excessive stress on the heart and lungs. It is estimated that a player, without noticing it, walks about 2-3 km during the game, while not feeling either tired or stressed. In addition, this game contributes to the development of eyes, coordination and clarity of movements, resourcefulness, reaction speed.

The skills acquired while playing billiards are not applicable in life. Completely erroneous opinion. Indeed, in addition to the aforementioned positive impact on the physical body (the result of which is excellent well-being in everyday life), billiards contributes to the development of the player's calmness, composure, poise, the ability to concentrate their efforts on achieving the goal. Here, a person can learn to play correctly - without panic and without losing faith in himself in case of failure. In addition, billiards is a great way to relieve the accumulated nervous tension.

The pool is so named because the balls move across the table at the speed of a bullet. In fact, the word "pool", which is derived from the French "poule", has several meanings: "bank", "bullet", "bet". However, this term initially had nothing to do with pocket billiards. The thing is that billiard tables were often installed in the "pool room", that is, in those places where bets were accepted (for example, at racetracks), apparently with the aim of allowing visitors to pass the time between arrivals. Nowadays, only its name reminds of this page in the history of American billiards, which has long gained popularity.

Balls for playing billiards can only be painted white, yellow or red, and the number of them for different types of billiards is approximately the same. This is not true. If three balls are enough for the cannon, then pocket billiards assume the presence of 15-16 balls on the table. Balls are colored differently for each type of billiards. The widest range of colors can be seen when playing pool: only the cue-ball is painted white, and the numbered aiming balls are painted in different colors. The first eight of them are solid color, namely: 1-yellow, 2-blue, 3-red, 4-violet (purple), 5-orange, 6-green, 7-maroon, 8-black. The other seven balls are white, with a central stripe of a certain color, in accordance with the ball number: 9-yellow, 10-blue, 11-red, 12-violet (purple), 13-orange, 14-green, 15-maroon.

Only nowadays billiard balls are made of artificial materials. This is not entirely true. For a long time, balls made from the tusks of Indian elephants were used to play billiards. The reason is simple - Indian elephants have more tusks than African ones, therefore, more balls from one such tusk are obtained - 4-5. The choice of female tusks is also not accidental. The fact is that in the tusks of elephants, the channels in which the capillaries and nerves are located pass exactly in the center, which means that the ball carved from such a tusk is ideally balanced. In males, the aforementioned canal turns to the end of the bone, so their tusks were used to make second-grade balls. While billiards was the privilege of the nobility, neither the high cost, nor the shortage of ivory did not interest anyone, but already in the middle of the 19th century, the search for an alternative material for billiard balls began. From natural substitutes (walrus tusks, sperm whale teeth, hippos, wild boar tusks), only second-class balls were obtained, which did not differ in sufficient strength and balance. The first synthetic material for billiard balls (collodion - cellulose nitrate, with the addition of camphor) was proposed by the inventor from Illinois Isaiah Hayats. Collodion balls were quite durable, easily stained, but cracked under strong blows. In 1907, balls were made of light, cheap and non-combustible bakelite, later - from plastic. Since the 30s of the last century, billiard balls are made from phenol-formaldehyde resin.

At all times, the billiard table had a rectangular shape and certain proportions. The ball game (which, for example, in England was called Pall-Mall), was initially played on a tamped earthen area. However, the bad weather was an insurmountable obstacle for this kind of games, so after a while the players moved under the roof, so a table was required to continue the fun.
The first mention of a billiard table, found in the inventory of King Louis XI, dates back to 1470. In those days, a billiard table was simply a stone slab mounted on a wooden platform of a certain height. But after all, the surface of the stone cannot be made perfectly flat - barely noticeable bumps and depressions served as a serious obstacle to the movement of the balls.
A way out was found - billiard tables began to be covered with fabric (by trial and error, it was determined that the best option is cloth, best of all woolen, with a certain inclination of the pile), and quite durable in order to withstand the constant mechanical impact of the cue and rolling balls. An interesting historical fact: after a day of playing, one of the billiard owners had to mend more than a hundred holes on the cloth that covered the game table.
At the same time, the shape of billiard tables was improved. In the beginning, billiard tables were round, square, hexagonal, octagonal, and in a variety of sizes. However, most of the above options were rejected due to the inconvenience for the players, and, in the end, the most convenient shape of the billiard table was chosen - rectangular, and the optimal proportions - the length of the table is twice its width. It is these proportions, for example, in pocket billiards that make it possible to evenly arrange 6 pockets, it is easy to get the ball from the center of the table, etc.

The cloth for billiard tables should only be green. Indeed, this very color of the cloth was originally chosen. The researchers explain this choice for several reasons. Firstly, the color of the cloth resembled a green lawn, and secondly, it made billiards akin to other gambling games that were widespread in those days and most often held at green tables. Nowadays, the color of the billiard table covering can be not only green, but also black, brown, blue, red, golden yellow, aqua, etc.

To learn how to play billiards, it is enough just to drive balls on the table for a while - if you have talent, the skill will come by itself. Of course, the ability for a particular type of activity is extremely important, but regular, and most importantly, correctly structured workouts are no less important. For example, practicing shots will be, especially at first, much more useful than a regular game. At the same time, you need to remember that you should work out not only those strikes that are already good enough, but also those that do not work at all - only in this case you can find a way out of any situation created in the game. However, it is also not worth constantly paying attention only to those strikes that you fail - this way you can develop a stable dislike for the game in general. The best option is to alternate blows of various kinds. In addition, you should try to determine where the cue ball is hit, and also pay attention to the hits due to which the game was lost, the calculation of the angle that causes difficulty during the game, etc. You can also use the "progressive training" method, the essence of which is to start with the simplest strikes, gradually moving on to the complex ones.

To play billiards, you can dress as you like. Indeed, there are no strict requirements for the appearance of the players in this game. However, among billiard players, playing in outerwear is considered bad form. Therefore, before the game, you should take off your coat (jacket, fur coat, raincoat), scarf and hat. It is also advisable that the items of clothing (for example, a tie or jacket) do not hinder the player's movements.

Going to a billiard club, it is enough to know the rules of the game well in order to become "your own" among billiard players. Of course, knowledge of the rules, like playing skills, are necessary, but, in addition to all of the above, you should know and follow the unwritten rules of conduct in a billiard club. Only in this case the rest of the players will treat you with respect.
The rules of etiquette in billiards are simple: you should show respect both to your playing partner, to the players at the next table, and to the playing surface (not only should you not put anything on the billiard table, but you shouldn't also smoke or drink above its surface).
Do not distract the player preparing for the strike with questions or remarks, or be next to him, stand in front of the pocket at which he is aiming, lean on the table in the place where the blow will be directed.
If you need to go past the player, wait until the kick is executed. It is unacceptable to perform any actions on the table until the ball stops, even if the player made a mistake. By the way, the person who made a mistake or violated the rules must declare it himself.
Remember that close attention to the game at the next table can distract the pool players. If you want to watch, you should definitely ask the players' permission. In addition, conversations on extraneous topics are not encouraged during the game.

It is quite difficult to choose a billiard table on your own. Of course, when choosing a table for playing billiards, it is best to use the advice of a specialist, but since such an opportunity is not always available, before making a purchase, you should consider that:
1. A billiard table can only be installed in a room of a certain size. Therefore, if you do not have the opportunity to allocate at least 4x5m free space for billiards, it is better to refuse to buy at all;
2. Different types of billiards imply different sizes of the table and, accordingly, the room set aside for its installation. But if you can allocate a free area of ​​5x7 m in the room - feel free to install a table for any kind of billiards;
3.If you have purchased a small table, it is better to master the appropriate type of billiards (for example, pool) than to try to play Russian billiards at a table that is too small, as this is fraught with a loss of interest in billiards in general;
4. Be sure to pay attention to what kind of wood the supporting parts of the table are made of - frames, legs, supports. It is best to opt for a hardwood product: ash, mahogany, oak, walnut. It is in this case that the structure will not warp under the influence of humidity or temperature changes. Bearing parts made of soft wood (alder, linden, pine) are cheaper, but do not differ in durability;
5. Be sure to check the table for stability - it should not stagger and deform;
6. The table plate can consist of three or five parts, the seams between which are putty during assembly, then the surface is leveled. Swipe the tabletop with your palm - the joints should not be felt;
7. Be sure to ask what material the table top is made of. Remember that a perfectly flat surface, and easily amenable to restoration, can only be obtained from the Ardesia slate. Cheaper options have a lot of disadvantages. For example, marble slabs are difficult to grind and are susceptible to damage; from sintegran (synthetic granite) they crumble easily. Chipboard (laminated chipboard), chipboard (chipboard), MDF (fiberboard) are very cheap, but wear out quickly, easily deformed, unstable to temperature changes and moisture. In addition, balls on such plates create an increased background noise, often jumping up due to the lower density of chipboard;
8. When purchasing cloth for tables (especially for those that will be installed in billiard clubs), it is best to give preference to universal material, suitable for both the pool and the pyramid. But to play snooker, you will have to purchase a special cloth (for example, Hainsworth Snooker);
9. To clean the fleecy cloth of the billiard table along the grain, dust collected at the sides should be swept away towards the pockets through which it is removed from the table. You can also vacuum the felt with a vacuum cleaner, preferably low-powered and without rotating brushes. You can try to remove the stain from the surface of the table with a brush dipped in vodka. It should be borne in mind that one stain should not be cleaned more than five times.

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