Advani is the world billiards champion for the 11th time

Both Advani and Gilchrist were not at their fluent best, and the fate of the match was decided on who made fewer errors. On this count, it was Advani who came out on top.

India's Pankaj Advani poses with the trophy after winning the IBSF World Billiards Championship (Points Up Format), at the Karnataka State Billiards Association in Bengaluru.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Pankaj Advani and Peter Gilchrist, the biggest names in the field, took centrestage in front of an excited audience at the KSBA hall here on Monday. This World billiards (points format) championship final was billed as the clash between two flamboyant titans, but it turned out to be a battle of endurance.

Both players were not at their fluent best, and the fate of the match was decided on who made fewer errors. On this count, it was Advani who came out on top. The home cueist registered a 6-3 victory, and wore the world billiards champion crown for the 11th time.

Things started well for Advani, as he eased his way to a 98 in the first frame. His stay ended when he was confronted by the baulk-line regulation. This rule, which states that a player must bring his cue ball to cross the baulk-line when a break is between 80 and 100 points, requires precision planning and exception ball control.

In this summit clash, however, Advani and Gilchrist frequently tripped over when trying to cross this hump. As a result, only two centuries were recorded — an unusually low number for an encounter of this magnitude. Several simple pots were missed too, leading to more groans than applause from the enthusiastic crowd.

Advani, while admitting that the quality on offer could have been better, stated that the conditions did not favour free-flowing action. “The table was tricky. Both of us struggled. I had trouble as the balls did not split correctly, and Gilchrist told me that he could not figure out the throw off the cushions,” he said.

The 31-year-old, who lost in the quarterfinal of the preceding long-up event, was pleased with his triumphant return to this discipline of cue sports. Advani last competed in a billiards tournament nearly six months ago, and had arrived here just a few days after taking the bronze medal at the IBSF World snooker championship. “People will understand how tough it is (to juggle billiards and snooker). I had to use my mind, brain and the knowledge I have gained through my career to come out on top today. Gilchrist had won the long-up title just a few days ago, so it was not easy at all,” Advani said.

The results:

Final: Pankaj Advani (Ind) bt Peter Gilchrist (Sing) 6-3 (151 (98) -33, 150 (97) -95, 124 (65) -151 (112), 101 (98) -150 (89), 150 (87, 61) -50, 152 (79) -37, 86 (86) -150 (86, 53), 151 (110) -104 (79), 150 (62, 88 unf) -15).

Semifinals: Gilchrist bt Dhvaj Haria (Ind) 151-5, 87-151, 151-118, 151-33, 150-11, 150-28; Advani bt Aung Htay (Myn) 150-55, 150-8, 152-129, 150-18, 150-79.