In my last post, I presented a game situation and asked for ideas on how to handle the situation. I really liked Gary’s first suggestion which was to take an intentional foul and just roll my last stripe up against my opponent’s solid to tie it up. I never even thought about this option – in fact I rarely think about intentional foul options, but they come up quite often and can make a big difference in the outcome of a match. Thanks Gary for opening my eyes to another strategic possibility! 😉
How did I play it? My very first thought was to play a safe. The only safe I could think of is depicted in the diagram below. I could try to contact the stripe and draw the cue ball up against the rail and kiss his solid. There were a couple problems with this thought…it’s a very difficult touch shot and I didn’t think I could see enough of the strip to pull off the draw. I knew if I didn’t pull off a perfect safe my opponent would run out. No doubt. I immediately discarded the safety idea. If I was going down, I wanted to go down swinging.
I then considered the three offensive options depicted in the diagrams below: (1) Maybe I could “throw” the stripe into the corner pocket by leveling my cue and softly applying hard right English. If I could hit enough of the solid, the right spin from the cue ball would transfer into left spin on the stripe and spin it into the pocket. (2) After much consideration, I didn’t think I could pull of #1 because I couldn’t see enough of the stripe, but MAYBE if I elevated my cue I could masse the cue ball around the solid and make contact with the stripe and cut it cleanly into the pocket. (3) After elevating my cue and looking at the angle, I didn’t think I could masse precisely enough over such a short distance, so I then considered a jump shot. I only needed to jump a sliver of the solid, but for some reason I just didn’t feel comfortable with the shot…and I didn’t want to risk the foul, ball in hand, and a certain loss.
Suddenly I realized the cross corner bank path was open. If I was going down, I didn’t want to lose on a ‘gimmick’ shot, much less on a miscue. The cross corner shot was difficult but it was a ‘normal’ shot requiring proper aiming and a good stroke. My only concern (besides simply missing the shot) was the potential cue ball kiss coming off the short rail. At bit of good news: the natural path of the cue ball off the short rail would take it down table for position on the eight…if I made the bank, and if I avoided the kiss. Also, if I missed the bank shot, my opponent would probably have a long first shot. At that point the decision was pretty easy. The diagram below shows how the shot played out. The angle of hit from the cue ball to the stripe was very slight, so I had to hit the cue ball pretty hard to impart enough energy to the stripe to allow it to make it to the cross corner. The cue ball hit the stripe, rebounded off the short rail, and made it back to the potential kiss point just before the stripe arrived, missing the kiss. The stripe miraculously went directly into the cross corner, and the cue ball ended up about 1 diamond from the eight for an easy win. Congrats Gary on identifying the shot, and giving it a name!