Former champion Pankaj Advani and veteran Alok Kumar led the charge as nine Indian cueists entered the pre-quarter-finals in the Points-format IBSF World Billiards Championship, in Carlow, Ireland, on Friday.
Indians ruled the green baize, as Advani, Alok and Rupesh Shah streamrolled their opponents to top their respective groups in the tournament, which started on August 24 and continues till September 1.
Advani topped Group C, winning all four matches, while Alok and Rupesh too secured top positions from Group D and G respectively.
Nine-time World champion Geet Sethi finished second in Group E, behind Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar, to join other Indians in the last-16 stage.
In his last match in the round of 24, Sethi defeated Thanh Binh Nguyen of Vietnam 3-1 to make the grade.
Other Indians who advanced to the pre-quarters include B Bhaskar, Devendra Joshi, Sourav Kothari, Dhruv Sitwala and Ashok Shandilya.
In the last edition of the IBSF World Championship, in Pune, Advani failed to defend both his titles, losing to English cueist Mike Russell in both, the points and time formats.
In 2008, Advani won both the titles, defeating compatriots Geet Sethi and Devendra Joshi respectively.
Meanwhile, for the first time in the history of the World billiards championship, Indian cueists decided not to take part in the traditional 'Time' format of the game. The reason being most of the Indian players, including seven-time World champion Advani and veteran Sethi felt that the Time format will not survive long and it's better to popularise the points format among the participating nations.
The shorter version of the game was introduced in the World championship in 2005, and, since then, the meet has had both formats.
In the traditional format, a match lasts for four to eight hours. In the shorter format, the player who gets to 150 points first wins the frame and matches are best-of-five or seven frames.