Barring a hiccup or two, fancied players, including the top two seeds, National champions Alok Kumar (snooker) and Pankaj Advani (billiards), comfortably survived the first day in the Reliance Industries Indian Cue Masters League 2005 that began at the Gujarat Sports Club, in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
The five-day tournament, co-sponsored by Specific Ceramics, and organised by the Billiards and Snooker Players Association (BSPA), is being played on a unique format with competition in billiards, snooker and nine-ball pool, for the first time in India. The one-frame (snooker), 50 points-up (billiards) and race-for-three (Pool) shootout did put most players under pressure, but the results were to expectations.
Advani, the former World snooker champion and reigning Asian and World billiards title holder, won both his league matches as did other established players Alok Kumar, Ashok Shandilya and Yasin Merchant, all of whom exercised considerable caution in view of the shortness of the contests and getting used to table conditions.
The three-in-one tournament received good reviews from the players.
"It gives every player an even chance to win and once you get used to it, it's good fun," said Advani, echoing the views of fellow-players.
The tournament was inaugurated by Parimal Nathwani, Group president - Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries Ltd., while Bhavin Patel, vice-chairman, Specific Ceramics Ltd., presided.
Results (preliminary league):
Group A: Alok Kumar bt Brijesh Damani 2-0 (billiards 50-45; snooker 84-1); Anuj Uppal bt Sumit Talwar 2-1 (b 16-52; s 55-20; pool 3-1).
Group B: Manan Chandra bt P V Patel 2-0 (s 89-8; p 3-2); Yasin Merchant bt Prabhat 2-0 (s 67-8; p 3-0); Aditya Mehta bt Harish Gandhi 2-0 (b 51-11; s 39-19).
Group C: Geet Sethi bt Sainey Jain 2-0 (b 52-11; s 61-50); Pankaj Advani bt Dhruv Sitwala 2-1 (b 39-50; s 59-45; p 3-1).
Group D: Sandeep Gulati bt Gunjan Patel 2-0 (b 50-19; p 3-0); Rafat Habib bt Devendra Joshi 2-0 (s 55-35; p 3-2).
Group A: Alok Kumar bt Anuj Uppal 2-0 (b 50-0; p 3-0); Shandilya bt Balaji 2-1 (p 1-3, b 50-23; s 74-7); Balaji bt Uppal 2-0 (b 51-34; s 57-15).
Group B: Merchant bt Gandhi 2-1 (s 68-22, p 2-3, b 51-33); Chandra bt Gandhi 2-0 (b 51-12; s 90-1).
Group C: Saurav Kothari bt Rupesh Shah 2-0 (b 51-5; s 46-37); Advani bt Jain 2-0 (s 114-19; p 3-1); Shah bt Jain 2-0 (b 51-12; s 94-6).Group D: Joshi bt Patel 2-0 (b 51-9; p 3-2); Md Asim bt Niraj Kumar 2-0 (b 51-28; s 52-38); Niraj Kumar bt Gunjan Patel 2-0 (b 51-14; s 51-23).