Snookered

Snooker is an interesting game. I watched the semi-finals and then the final of the UK Championship the past weekend, which was won by Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-3 (best of 19) against Steven Maguire. This was an excellent match, although unexpectedly one-sided, and was a demonstration of the incredible accuracy that experts can get by hitting a white ball (the cue ball) with a stick (cue) to down (pot) a colored ball (red and other colors) into a hole (pocket).
Of course, snooker is a different game and far more sophisticated than billiards, as understood in the US. Billiards requires the downing of several different patterned/colored balls into the pockets, each ball with a different numerical value. Snooker by contrast requires the alternate sinking of red and other colored balls, the colored ones get put back in their spots until all red balls are removed and then the colored ones are sunk in sequence (yellow, green, brown, etc…down to black). One object of the game is that if one player can’t sink a red ball into a pocket, he can “snooker” his rival by hitting the white ball so that it goes to the other end of the table and all reds are blocked by the other colored balls.
It occured to me that snooker/billiards with balls that are not completely hard would be more difficult to play since you could not predict (by intuition) where the second ball hit by the cue ball would go exactly. If one could vary the degree of hardness/elasticity of the balls by varying a factor in the computer, this would make for an interesting game of flexibilliards. This might be like the collisions that fundamental nuclear particles have in physics. So one could predict the paths of the colliding balls using physical equations that might not be predictable by common-sense. On the other hand, its probably been invented already and anyway its way too complex, when snooker/billiards are already too difficult for most of us.

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