Breaking down the shooting cue is a foul when a match is in progress (loss of game/match). Is it also illegal to disassemble the break cue or any other cue during the match?
that's a good question. Logically a player could break down his break cue once it's clear he no longer needs it (i.e. the final break of the match has been done, or it's alternate break and the upcoming final break is definitely the other player's).
But - the main reason for this rule is it's a brutal shark technique. Someone who is at the table shooting won't necessarily be able to tell that it's just your -break- cue, if he sees it out of the corner of his eye. Or he might know it's the break cue but it sharks the shooter anyway.
Without knowing what the rulebooks say, if I truly don't intend to shark anyone I won't unscrew anything until the match is over. Do I REALLY need to save that 20 seconds by unscrewing earlier? At the worst, I will wait until it's my inning and cannot shark my opponent.
And if someone does unscrew anything at all while his opponent is shooting, he better be ready for an argument.
1. Situation: Players A and B are both on the hill. Player A, having broken the final game of the match with a break cue and not pocketing a ball, retires to the chair. While Player B is at the table, Player A, having their playing cue standing by, unscrews their break cue to put it away.
Ruling: No concession. The cue Player A unscrewed was not their playing cue.
While it is impossible to conceive every potential example, the situation from the above discussion of Rule 1.44, Concession of Match, will serve to demonstrate the principle. Despite the specific wording of Rule 1.44 and the Applied Ruling that goes with it, if a referee judged that the timing, body language, relative positions of the players, or any other pertinent information relative to the unscrewing of the break cue gave the clear overall effect of an unsportsmanlike act, the player would still be subject to penalties under Rule 1.45.