BEFORE THE SHANGHAI MASTERS next week comes the Sangsom Six Reds World Championship in Bangkok, with an international field of well known professionals, invited Thai locals and leading amateurs.
Mark Davis (pictured) has won this title twice in Thailand and once in Ireland. There’s no obvious reason why Davis has become The Man under this format but he will clearly go into this year’s staging of the tournament full of confidence.
For the uninitiated, six reds snooker is basically snooker with nine fewer reds, designed to be quicker than the traditional form of the game. There are some rule changes, including not being allowed to roll up to a colour after potting a red, but it is still recognisable as snooker.
There tend to be two types of six red frames: very close or a runaway. The frames often revolve around the last red below the pink. If a player on a break can play the cannon successfully they usually go on to win the frame. If not, a safety battle – and chance for their opponent to edge the frame – ensues.
Of course, if the two players are struggling for form then the frames can last a long time, regardless of how many balls are on the table. But some frames are done and dusted in no time.
This is perhaps not to taste of those who enjoy slow burning drama but some prefer their sport a little quicker. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
Speaking for myself, I can enjoy them both because it’s pretty much the same people trying to do the same thing, just in a different form: a bit like a Christmas edition of a sitcom where they all go on holiday.
Six reds, like other variants of snooker, has been played in clubs for years but it was six or seven years ago when it started to register on the radar in terms of the professional game. As is so often the case when something new comes along, all manner of grand statements were made by those lacking common sense or perspective about how it would ‘be snooker’s version of Twenty/20’ and start replacing the traditional game. The same claims were made about Power Snooker and the Shootout.
The reason it didn’t happen in any of these cases is very simple: people like 15 red snooker too much. It’s proved its worth over the course of more than a century. It’s the best form of the game because it has so many variables and so much skill required in different areas.
But you need skill to excel at six reds as well and you’d have to be pretty sour to object to one international event a year showcasing this version of snooker.
Indeed, it does have a particular fanbase in Asia and Bangkok has traditionally been a popular destination on the snooker calendar.
World champion Mark Selby has withdrawn citing illness but there are a number of other big names taking part, including Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins, Stuart Bingham, Stephen Maguire, Ricky Walden, Joe Perry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Graeme Dott, Ken Doherty, Jimmy White and Thailand’s greatest ever player, James Wattana.
British Eurosport will have daily coverage, starting at 9am on Monday, and there is also live streaming through liveworldsnooker.tv, although this is blocked in a number of areas.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.