Black and White Snooker
Black and white snooker is a hit-balls-around-a-table-with-a-wooden-stick based pocket billiards game. Although the 'colour' version of the game currently enjoys greater media attention, black and white snooker still enjoys a cult following amongst the colour blind, people who are living before 1970 and art-house cinema aficionados.
- 1 Basic rules
- 2 BWS vs 'Colour' Snooker
- 3 'Colour Purging' regulations
- 4 Origins of BWS
- 5 Coal Mining Village Snooker
- 6 Controversy
- 7 What do you mean BWS doesn't exist?!
- 8 Famous Players
- 9 World Champions
The rules of black and white snooker (commonly known as BWS) are similar to those of 'colour' snooker. The balls are named and carry as many points as in the colour game, however the balls are coloured as if they are viewed through television coverage on your grandmother's ropey black and white television set. Indeed, everything around a game of black and white snooker must not have the faintest hint of colour.
The aim is to score more points than your opponent. Points are scored by somehow getting the white cue ball, which the player strikes with a cue stick, to pocket a 'red' ball. In the next shot the player must then pocket a 'colour' ball in this way. The ball is replaced and placed on it's allocated 'spot' on the table. Another 'red' is then potted and so on until the player either misses, all balls are cleared off table, one player attains an unassailable lead or a nutter in the crowd fires highly caustic acid with a super soaker at the table, causing it to dissolve. Whilst the latter results in the abandonment of the game, the others result in the winning of a 'frame'.
Winning a series of frames leads to a gallery of frames with no pictures in them. The player with the largest such gallery when the allotted maximum number of frames have been played out, then hung up in the winner's gallery, wins the match. A match will be forfeited upon breaking of the strict colour purging regulations, that strictly forbid anything of any colour to be used or produced during a BWS match.
BWS vs 'Colour' Snooker
BWS is generally understood to be the game which requires the greater amount of skill to play. Not only must one master the technique required to play snooker to a world-class standard, as well as win complicated and hard fought tactical battles with your opponent, the BWS player must be able to track all the balls' positions on the table and know which is which. Faliure to do this can result in confusing one colour ball for another, costing the offending player many penalty points.
The top BWS professionals all began as children who mastered the colour game before moving onto something more challenging.
Colour snooker is a game that is most commonly played by adults with severe learning difficulties who need something piss easy to humour them.
'Colour Purging' regulations
The complete absence of colour from the venue of a BWS game is absolutely crucial and strictly regulated down to the smallest detail. All players must wear white, black or grey clothing, have white, black or grey hair, have their skin bleached and even wear contact lenses that remove any trace of colour from the iris. With snooker being the racially inclusive sport it is, no one has ever had to have their dark skin blackened in order to satisfy colour purging regulations.
To uphold this tradition, the finest cinematographers from the world of film noir, some pretentious poncy branch of art-house cinema, spend months preparing venues for championships and selecting the clothes that the crowd may wear so as to maintain total colour sterility at all times.
Origins of BWS
There are many conflicting arguments as to what the origins of BWS are.
BWS is commonly thought to have only existed on television screens before the invention of colour television. This is however an urban myth. Another theory that abounds many snooker day care centres is that colour was only invented at the end of the 1960s when the colour television came into common usage. Before then everything really was 'in black and white'.
The version of history that the governing body of BWS, The World Black and White Snooker Association, accepts as gospel truth is that BWS actually originates from colour snooker. As the coloured game was deemed to have become too easy, with household pets and Scotsmen winning world championships being a common occurence in the 1930s. To make the game more challenging, players would now have to play in 'black and white', weeding out the dilletantes that had threatened to ruin the 'sport' as a spectacle. In 1987 a dispute between John Parrott's father and the President of the BWSA, Kris Akabusi, resulted in a breakaway tour being created by rebel players including Tony Knowles, Jim Wych and Top Cat. The breakaway tour was unsuccessful as the only sponsor to back them, UK Coal, pulled out to concentrate on Land Fishing.
As of 2010 the sport has yet to be recognised by the Olympics but along with Beaver Polishing and Naked Archery will attempt to be included in 2018.
Coal Mining Village Snooker
A particularly popular variant on BWS was Coal Mining Village Snooker. This was characterised by the coal dust in the filthy atmosphere in many mining villages that clung to the balls (which generated a lot of static electricity due to the friction with the table cloth), making all the balls as black as the inside of your average coal miner's lungs. The players in these games only knew which ball they hit after the dust was shaken off by the balls being struck with the cue ball or colliding with each other balls, the cushions and falling into pockets. This made the game even harder than BWS as at least in BWS the balls have differing shades of grey.
This variant of the game also spawned the famous commontator, the late great Ted Lowe. His smooth as baise husky growl was actually due to a throat infection caused by all the soot and particulates he had to breath in as a child in his mining village. A little known fact is Lowe had his vocal chords removed at the age of 12 and had them replaced with a labotomised badger who spoke for him.
However, with the decline of the coal mining industry in Britain, the game all but sunk without trace as the improved air quality was not conducive to the coal dust and soot accumulations on the balls required for the game to be playable.
The game has, in recent times, enjoyed a certain renaissance in heavily industrialised Chinese cities. This is owing to the heavily polluted air containing enough particulates and soot to cling onto the balls. In some areas, the smog is so thick players cannot see the end of the table.
Like all sports, BWS has been dogged by controversy through out its history.
Unlike most sports (except cycling), BWS is tolerant of drugs. This is largely because venues that comply with the strict colour purging regulations are so sterile and sober it is impossible to get high. Match officials can often be observed taking a cocktail of various Class A stimulants just to stay awake. The common perception of the crowd also being liberal with drugs is generally a false one. Although half way through a match the crowd are generally all in a deep catatonic slumber, only a small number are like this owing to injecting themselves with heroin.
In the 70s, the sport was thrown into turmoil by the shock revelation that some of the top players were taking a strain of LSD that allowed players to 'hallucinate' the actual colours of the balls on the table. This was combatted by officials holding up cards which had secret messages (usually containing something very offensive about the player's wife, mother or pet cockroach) which are only visible if you are on LSD in an official colour purged venue. If the player does not react, it is probable that they are not on LSD.
The first case of computers being used to cheat at sports was the secret introduction of so called "technicolorspex". These looked just like all the other hideously large framed glasses that were de rigueur in the twisted world of 80s fashion, though they contained a computer chip that could scan a BWS table during a game, and project a computer generated image of the table with all the balls in colour to the wearer.
The first such cheat was Dennis Taylor, whose famous "huuu-oooowge" glasses concealed the computer chip. Although he aroused suspicion by being the first Irishman to win the title, at first rumours abounded that his incredible performance winning the 1985 World Championship was due to the Guinness he drank being laced with the aforementioned strain of LSD. Seven times runner up Alan Alda refused to ever touch Taylor again after hearing the news. However, as the next 3 winners of the title wore "huuu-oooowge" glasses, it was suspected something more than a simple twisted fashion statement was going on. Indeed, it was when Terry Twuntington won the title wearing the glasses that suspicion was aroused. Just as he was about to lift the trophy, someone in the crowd from Twuntington's home town shouted out that Terry was in fact blind, so he had no need for the glasses.
Upon inspection the secret of the technicolorspex was revealed. Now all glasses are banned from BWS, so tough shit for all you four eyed bastards out there.
Acts of Gratuitous Violence
As officials are often falling asleep, many players take advantage and do their best to comprimise their opponent's chances in the match.
The most infamous incident was when the normally mild-mannered Willie Thorne headbutted Peter Ebdon in a World Championship match, then proceeded to shove his cue through Ebdon, resplendent in a fetching garish monochrome waistcoat and still sporting a ponytail. Thorne then proceed to climb onto the table with Ebdon skewered on his cue in one hand, proclaiming his glory and staking his claim as master of the universe. All in Latin.
Upon this, the match officials were woken from their slumber by the loud cheering and declared that Ebdon had forfeited the match, as the bright red blood haemorrhaging out of the massive wound caused by Thorne's cue had violated the colour purging regulations, as well as him having to cry off due to a minor case of bleeding to death. Peter Ebdon however recovered in time to sing a rendition of Wannabe at his press conference.
What do you mean BWS doesn't exist?!
People who think BWS is just a figment of the sad imagination of the author of this article are generally work shy lowlives who spend way too much of their giros on buying The Guardian everyday, so they can't afford Sky satelite television, which is the only way you can get the Belgian Independant Film channel that have exclusive rights to BWS in the world. FACT. More recently though BBC Nepal have won the rights to show uninterrupted coverage of the BWS World Championships. Weber Superior Charcoal Briquettes will sponsor the championship until 2056 when the tournament is moved to space.
- Alex "Hurricane" Higgins
- Jimmy "Whirlwind" White
- John "Force 3 South west westerly" Parrott
- Steve "wouldn't blow a dry leaf over" Davis
- Rory "The Minstrel" McCleod
- Bjorn "Stiff Breeze" Haneveer
- Ryan "A Very Dry Offshore Wind" Day
- Ali "Turbulence" Carter
- Tony "The strong wind mainly associated with the cool season in the south and central Mediterranean, blowing from the northeast" Drago
- Joe "The dry and hot southerly wind in south-east Spain heralding an advancing depression" Perry
- Fergal "The short-lived wind in the Arabic deserts, hot and oppressive, often causing the body to overheat because one cannot perspire quickly enough" O'Brien