Snooker – The Small Town Game Now Rules The world
Snooker, for most, would seem like a game having its roots in the west and came to our country along with its colonizers.
But what if you come to know that the game of Snooker was born in the small city of Jabalpur in Central India?
Truth is often stranger than fiction, and the truth is that Snooker was born in a small Club in Jabalpur. The club was named Narmada Club after the legendary river which flows beside the city and the banks of which the famous Jabali Rishi did penance. Incidentally, Jabalpur owes its name to Jabali Rishi.
Snooker-Birth of a new sport
When the British opened a Cantonment in the city, it became the Administrative hub for India’s central provinces. It also included Nagpur, which was the regional capital of the Marathwada province. The British also set up the Narmada Club for extracurricular and other social activities. Snooker gained identity in 1875 when army officer Sir Neville Chamberlain, stationed in Jubbulpore, devised a set of rules that combined black pools and pyramids.
Snooker-More Exciting Pool Game
It was the officer’s mess of the British Army’s 11th Devonshire Regiment stationed in the Indian town of Jabalpur (Jubbulpore as it was then known) in 1875 that Lieutenant Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain created the game. The word Snooker was a well-established derogatory term used to describe inexperienced or first-year military personnel.
The actual game of billiards was monotonous and slow, and Chamberlain fine-tuned the game into the present form of Snooker. While experimenting with the then-existing form of billiards, consisting of 15 red balls and one black ball, Chamberlain added additional colored balls and a new game was born.
John Roberts, who was the reigning British Billiards Champion, visited India in 1885. He met Chamberlain during a dinner with the Maharajah of Cooch Behar. He asked about the rules and impressed, decided to introduce the game when he went back to England.
The first official snooker competition took place in 1916 and was known as the English Amateur Championships. The first truly professional event took place in 1927 and was won by Joe Davis, the first superstar. By the 1930s, the game had overtaken billiards as the most popular cue sport in the UK.