Monday, September 7, 2009

Mike Shamos: The History of Combos

The diagram at left is brought to us by Mike Shamos (at right), curator of the Billiard Archive. Writing in the September 2009 edition of Billiards Digest, Mike tells us about the history of combination shots -- running all the way back to 1807. One of the shots illustrated here shows a "combination kiss-bank scratch," which would have been worth 8 points in an early cue game known as "English Billiards." The game rewarded players for caroms, pocketing balls and scratches. It required three balls and a table with six pockets. The shot pictured here was taken from a diagram in E. White's A Practical Treatise on the Game of Billiards, from 1807. As Shamos points out, the shot is "a tall order at a time when cues didn't have tips and most players still used a mace."

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