By Ted Lerner
WPA Press Officer
(Beijing, China)–Professional pool holds much of its interest for fans around the globe from the very fact that it is a solitary pursuit in a dead-ball game. With plenty of time to think about that difficult shot just sitting there, nobody to pass the cue to or to offer advice, and with often everything riding on the smallest turn of the balls, the drama and pressure can be downright scary for players. Which translates, of course, to plenty of edge of your seat excitement for fans.
All of pool’s best traits will surely be on offer this coming week in China’s sultry capital, Beijing, but there’s an added twist sure to pile on even more pressure and drama; rather than playing for themselves, over 100 top pros from around the world will be playing for the pride of their nations.
The 2014 Liando U Valley World Pool Team Championship will kick off on Monday evening at the Tongzhou Luhe High School, in the Tongzhou district of China’s capital, with 25 pool teams from 24 nations(two teams from China). Each team consists of a minimum of three male players and one woman player all doing battle in various pool disciplines over five days; 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball.
This is the third time the World Pool Team Championship has been held. In 2010 in Hannover, Germany, when the tournament consisted of only male players, Great Britain defeated the Philippines in a thriller. Two years ago, the World Pool Team Championship debuted in the Tongzhou district of Beijing. While the hometown fans expected one of the two stacked Chinese teams to take the crown, it was the foursome from Taiwan that outclassed the field. Taiwan shutout Japan in the final to take the title.
Besides national pride, the teams will be competing for a fair amount of prize money. The winning team will receive $80,000. The runner up team will take home $40,000. The total prize fund is $300,000.
The format of the tournament can be a bit daunting to grasp so it’s important to be informed early, in order to understand what is going on.
First, the teams will be divided up into 6 groups of four playing round robin.(One group having 5 teams.) In each match between two countries, the two teams play each other in a set of six matches, all alternate break; two races in 8 ball, two in 9-ball and two in 10-ball. One 8-ball match is men’s scotch doubles, race to 6. The other 8-ball match is a men’s singles, race to 6. In 9-ball, the teams compete in a women’s singles, race to 8, and a men’s singles race to 8. In 10-ball, the teams play one mixed doubles match(scotch doubles), race to 7, and one men’s singles match race to 7. The female player must play in the 10-ball mixed doubles match, and a 9-ball match. No player is permitted to play more than two matches per session.
The team that wins the set gets 3 points, while the losing team gets nil. If the two teams split their six matches and end up tied at 3-3, then each team gets 1 point. The top 2 teams with the highest total points in each group qualify for the single elimination stage. In addition to the top two teams in each group, the best 4 teams ranking third place in each group will also advance. A total of 16 teams will advance to the knockout stage.
This is where things will get very interesting. If a match ends up 3-3 in the knockout stage, the winner will be decided by a shootout. In a shootout the 8 ball is placed in the middle of the table down near the short rail, level with the first diamond, while the cue ball is placed way down at the head string. The three men and one woman on each team take turns trying to pot the 8-ball in either far corner. All players play in sequence and the team to score six hits first with a margin of two or more(6-4, 7-5, etc.) wins the match and advances to the next round.
Hometown fans here in Beijing will surely turn out in force for their two squads and nothing short of a spot in the winner’s circle is expected. And why not as a look at both China sides presents any foe with a formidable opponent straight down the list.
China 1 could be the best team ever assembled in this event. Li He Wen is no stranger to success in team pool as he has twice won the scotch doubles World Cup of Pool. He’ll be joined by two time former world champion, Wu Jiaqing, young rising star Chu Bing Chia, China’s number one female player and current world 9-ball champion, Han Yu, and the always tough Chen Siming.
China 2 is also loaded with Liu Haitao, Dang Ching Hu, Wang Can, as well as women stars Fu Xiaofang and Liu Shasha. One interesting caveat for China 2 will be team chemistry. Fu and Liu used to be inseparable friends but have recently had a falling out.
Team pool, of course, is more than just a bunch of great talent. Success as a team requires certain intangibles, such as friendship and familiarity with each other. And this is where Team Taiwan(Chinese-Taipei) seems to have the edge as favorites. The Taipei fearsome foursome of Chang Jun Lin, Ko Pin Yi, Fu Che Wei and female player Chieh Yu Chou, which combined to win the World Team Championship in 2012, is back together this year. And this year they’ve added the very talented Hsu Kai Lun to their roster.
In 2012 Taiwan was barely touched the entire week, and they showed the pool world how great individual talents can come together and perform as a well-oiled machine with all parts working in harmony.
Said Ko Pin Yi after the final two years ago:
“I think the reason we played so well all week is because we are all good friends,” Ko said through an interpreter afterward. “Each one of us knows exactly how the other plays on the table, how they shoot. Pool is usually a game you play alone and there’s a lot of pressure in singles. But here you have your teammates to pick you up, to give you advice and courage.”
The Philippines is surely a heavy favorite to win or at least go far. Dennis Orcollo and Lee Vann Corteza are the current World Cup of Pool defending champions so they certainly know the pressures of team pool. They are joined by the always strong Carlo Biado and two time Women’s World 10-ball champ Rubilen Amit.
Great Britain will be missing both Darren Appleton and Kelly Fisher(Appleton had a prior commitment and Fisher is recovery from heart surgery), but they still have the goods to take the title. Former 9-ball world champion Daryl Peach is joined by former 8-ball champion Karl Boyes, Chris Melling and Hall of Famer Allison Fisher.
Germany is looking solid with Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet, Sebastian Staab, and Ina Kaplan. With the likes of World 9-ball champion runner up Albin Ouschan and his sister Jasmine Ouschan pairing up, Austria could see a medal. Korea and Japan could definitely challenge for a place on the victory stand.
One big thing for fans to look for is the quality of the female player on each team. As proven two years ago here, those teams with high level female players performed exceptionally well.
*The WPA is on hand in Beijing to bring fans around the world full updated coverage of the 2014 World Pool Team Championship.
You can follow the World Pool Team Championship on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/worldpoolteamchampionship.
The WPA is also on Twitter @poolwpa.
Or visit our website at www.wpapool.com
*The World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA) is the governing body of the sport of pocket billiards.
The Liado U Valley World Pool Team Championship is sanctioned by the WPA, The Multi-Ball Games Administrative Center of General Administration of Sport, Chinese Billiard and Snooker Federation, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sport, Beijing Sports Federation.
Philippines–Dennis Orcollo, Lee Vann Corteza, Carlo Biado, Rubilen Amit
Poland–Karol Skowerski, Tomasz Kaplan, Mateusz Sniegocki, Katazyna Weslowska
USA- Oscar Dominguez, Hunter Lombardo, Corey Deuel, Jennifer Barretta
Bulgaria- Stanimir Dimitrov, Radostin Dimov, Lyudmil Georgiev, Kristina
Zlateva Group B
China 1- Li He Wen, Wu Jiaqing, Chu Bign Chia, Han Yu, Chen Siming
Sweden- Anreas Gerven, Marcus Chamat, Tomas Larsson, Caroline Roos
Hong Kong- Kwok Chi Ho, Eric Lee, Lo Ho Sum, Robbie James Capito, Lee Tricia Gar Yun.
Croatia- Josip Susnjara, Ivica Putnik, Marko Lisnic, Antonijevic Zrinka
Mongolia- L. Delgerdalai, D. Damdinjamts, A. Yeruult, , A. Delgerkhuu, Z. Zoljargal,
Great Britain- Daryl Peach, Karl Boyes, Chris Melling, Allison Fisher
Germany- Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet, Sebastian Staab, Ina Kaplan
Austria- Albin Ouschan, Tong He Yi, Jurgen Jenisy, Thomas Knittel, Jasmin Ouschan, Sandra Baumgartner
South Africa- Rajandran Nair, Charles R. Kuppusamy, Kumersen Reddy, Thilomi Govender
China 2- Liu Haitao, Dang Ching Hu, Wang Can, Fu Xiaofang, Liu Shasha
Australia- Robby Foldvari, David Rothall, Michael Cassiola, Lyndall Hulley
Vietnam- Trung Le Quang, Tuan Nguyen Anh, Quan Do Hoang, Le Doan Thi Ngoc
Singapore- Chan Keng Kwang, Aloyisus Yapp, Koh Seng Ann Aaron, Charlene Chai Zeet Huey, Toh Lian Han, Hoe Shu Wah
Chinese-Tapei- Chang Jun Lin, Ko Pin Yi, Hsu Kai Lun, Fu Che Wei, Chou Cheih Yu
Korea- Ryu Seung Woo, Jeong Young Hwa, Ha Min Ug, Kim Ga Young
Russia- Konstantin Stepanov, Ruslan Chinakhov, Andrey Seroshtan, Ann Mazhirina
New Zealand- Matthew Edwards, Phillip Nickpera, Johnathan M. Pakieto, Molradee K. Yanan
Japan- Naoyuki Oi, Sasaaki Tanaka, Hayato Hijikata, Chichiro Kawahara
Indonesia- Bewi Simanjuntak M. Bewi, Rudy Susanto, Muhammad Fadly, Silvana
India- Sumit Talwar, Sundeep Gulati, Lalrina Tenthlei, Suniti Damani
Malaysia- Ibrahim Bin Amir, Tan Kah Thiam, Jason Ng Keat Siang, Suhana Dewi Sabtu, Klaudia Djajalie
Group Matches, Day 1
6:30 PM(GMT +8)
China 2 vs. Singapore
China 1 vs. Mongolia
Philippines vs. Bulgaria
Great Britain vs. South Africa
Sweden vs. Hong Kong
Chinese Taipei vs. New Zealand
Japan vs Malaysia
Poland vs. USA