Snooker is a
strategy game with two courses to be performed within a predetermined time.
During the snooker opening, the handler may make their own course
accumulating points for obstacles successfully completed. During the
snooker closing, the handler must direct their dog through a predetermined short
sequence set by the judge. To qualify, a team must earn a total of 37 or
Let’s look at a
recent Starters/P1 Snooker course.
The first thing
you need to know is where you can start. Sometimes the judge will set one
or more lines that the dog must be set up behind. Other times the start may
be a particular obstacle. If there is more than one line, doublecheck whether you can start behind any of the
lines or only one of the lines. For example, on this course, there are two
lines near the bottom of the coursemap. One of
them has circled “S” symbols, indicating it is a start line. The other has
circled “F” symbols, indicating it is a finish line. (If the same line has
both an “S” symbol and an “F” symbol, then it is both a start and a finish
line.) You can start with your dog positioned anywhere behind an “S” line.
The next thing
that is good to know is where you must finish. Again, sometimes the judge
will set one or more finish lines. Other times the judge may set a
particular obstacle as the finish. In this example, you can tell from the
map that one of the lines, the line with “F” symbols, is a finish line.
In snooker classes,
your dog may generally cross start and finish lines during the run without
penalty. However, if the start or finish lines involve specific obstacles, it
is a good idea to doublecheck whether taking
those obstacles during your run might end your run prematurely.
On the course,
the obstacles will be marked with numbers. There will be several obstacles
marked with #1’s. And there will be obstacles marked with the #2, the #3,
the #4, the #5, the #6, and the #7. These markings indicate how many points
the obstacles are worth.
opening sequence works much like the billiards game of snooker. Your dog
must successfully complete a “red”, a 1-point obstacle, in order to then
earn the opportunity to attempt a higher pointed obstacle. Once you’ve completed
a particular red, that red is done and is no longer available to you. In
contrast, you may use the same higher pointed obstacles repeatedly
throughout your opening.
In starters level snooker, there are always three reds. So
the ideal snooker opening would proceed from one red (worth 1 point), directly
to a higher pointed obstacle (worth between 2 and 7 points), then directly to
a different red (worth 1 point), then directly to a higher pointed obstacle
(worth between 2 and 7 points), then directly to the last remaining different
red (worth 1 point), then directly to a higher pointed obstacle (worth
between 2 and 7 points). For example, on this course, you could plan on
taking the red (#1) on the bottom right hand corner heading up into the
course, then the #2, then the red (#1) on the bottom left hand corner, then
the #6 (which would include both jump #6a and jump #6b), then the red (#1)
near the top of the course, then the #5 aframe.
That would give you 1+2+1+6+1+7 or 18 points from the opening, leaving you
needing 21 points from the closing in order to qualify.
red (#1) jumps themselves may be taken in any order. Your first red (#1)
jump does not have to be the jump in the bottom right corner near the start
line. You just have to make sure your plan includes each different red
(#1). The individual red (#1) jumps can be taken in either direction. You
can take each red (#1) jump from the bottom heading up toward the top of
the course or from the top of the course heading back down toward the
bottom of the course.
As you can see,
often in snooker, higher pointed obstacles may actually be “combinations”
consisting of more than one obstacle. On this course, the #4 and the #6 are
both combinations consisting of two obstacles. The #4 consists of a jump
and a tunnel. The #6 consists of two different jumps. The judge will set
rules regarding how these kinds of combinations must be taken. During the
opening, often (but not always) the judge may allow you to complete the
combination in any order, using each obstacle in either direction. During
the closing, usually (but not always) the judge will require that you take
the elements of the combination in the order and direction indicated by the
numbers (for example, proceeding from #4a to #4b, approaching #4a and #4b from
the side of the obstacle where the number on the map is placed).
In starters level snooker, the reds (#1’s) are always
jumps. In attempting to complete a red, if you knock the bar, that red is
no longer available to you AND you have not earned the opportunity to
proceed directly to a higher pointed obstacle within your opening. It’s a
bit like you failed to sink the red ball in the billiards game of snooker.
So, if you knocked your first red, you must instead proceed directly to
your second red. If you knock your second red, you must instead proceed
directly to your third red. If you knock your third red, your opening is
opening is done, you must proceed directly to the closing. The closing
sequence starts with the #2 obstacle and proceeds in order through #3, #4,
#5, #6, and #7. Often (but not always) the judge will allow you to take the
#2 obstacle from either direction as you commence your closing. Unlike
gamblers, you may NOT take any additional obstacles transitioning from the
opening to the closing. Also, unlike gamblers, in snooker, there are not
separate times and horns for the opening and closing. In snooker there is
simply one time and one horn. If the horn sounds, you are out of time and
should proceed directly to the finish. The judge sets the time based on the
arrangement and type of obstacles and the jump height of the dog. In this
example, the 12” jumping championship dogs have 54 seconds, the 16” jumping
championship dogs have 52 seconds, the 22” & 26” jumping championship
dogs have 51 seconds. If you are running in the performance program, the
judge is adding 1 additional second to each of those times for similarly
sized dogs. So, since the performance 8” dogs are similarly sized to the
championship 12” dogs, the performance 8” dogs would get one more second
than the championship 12” dogs. The performance 12” dogs would get one more
second than the similarly sized championship 16” dogs. The performance
16" & 22” dogs would get one more second than the similarly sized
championship 22” & 26” dogs.
As you proceed
through the closing, you earn the points associated with each obstacle or
combination. In this example, if you make it successfully through #4 in
your closing, you would get 2+3+4 or 9 points. If you make it through #6 in
your closing, you would get 2+3+4+5+6 or 20 points. So, going back to our
example, if your plan earned you 1+2+1+6+1+5 or 16 points in the opening,
you would need to make it all the way through the #7 in the closing in
order to earn 37 or more total points and qualify. Can you see why you
might want to change your opening plan to try to get one more point from
your opening? In this example, perhaps you could use the same opening up
through the third red (bottom left corner red, jump #2, bottom right corner
red, combination #6, top red), but then try the #6 combination again, this
time in the opposite direction, heading back down toward the bottom of the
field (earning 1+2+1+6+1+6 or 17 points in the opening).
Whether in the
opening or the closing, if you hear the whistle or the horn, you can no
longer earn points and should proceed directly to the finish to stop the
clock. The points you have earned, you get to keep, whether you stop the
clock or not. But if you end up with the same number of points as someone
else, the tie is broken in favor of the team with the faster time.