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An Introduction to Carrom

A combination of pool, marbles and air hockey, "international standard" carrom is to it's American derivative as snooker is to bumper pool. It still uses a square, wooden game board (29 inches X 29 inches) with four, corner pockets and is played by flicking a "striker" at the object pieces, resembling black and white checkers. The goal is to sink your nine pieces, plus the red, "queen", in the pockets first, thereby collecting points. Though the geometry may be the same as pool and "American carrom", the physics and strategy are fascinatingly different.

The playing surface of an ICF, regulation board is extremely smooth, making it a touch game demanding a high degree of finesse. The frame is thick and hard, giving a strong rebound that provides additional fast action. And, the striker, which is always brought back to the "baseline" for the next shot, is about three times heavier than the object pieces. This greater mass permits a wide variety of "board management" techniques (the strategy of setting up future shots while disrupting your opponent's) and extremely complex plays.

The fledgling U.S. Carrom Association (U.S.C.A.) is trying to introduce competitive carrom to America. Through television, the U.S.C.A. hopes to attract sponsors, by creating sports-cast coverage and video documentation of an international competition. To that end, the USCA organizes and participates in events at the national and international level. Back in 1996, the USCA put together the first U.S. Open International Carrom Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina. Teams from eleven countries in South Asia, Europe, and North America participated, with men and women competing equally for the first time in an ICF sanctioned event.

Anyone interested in joining the World of Carrom, helping to organize local chapters, or networking to promote the upcoming tournament, should contact the U.S.C.A., PO Box 411, Wanaque, NJ 07465, ph/FAX: (601) 236-5739 or email to

Author: Billy Stevens
Last updated: 2001-12-13 22:10:24
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