# Unsolvable 14.1 racks

#### Coos Cues

##### Coos Cues
No accountant #2 is the one to hire.
Me: You owe taxes
Accountant: Impossible, I don't pay taxes
Me: You're hired!

#### measureman

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Me: You owe taxes
Accountant: Impossible, I don't pay taxes
Me: You're hired!
Accountant #2 demonstrates the ability to be creative with math.

#### justnum

##### Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
Accountant #2 demonstrates the ability to be creative with math.

Keyball and breakball is language used to indicate existence.

Precision can be added by saying once a line on the breakball is decided, then a near parallel line must exists for the cue ball to travel along.

The construction of the "keyball" requires talent and knowledge. Keyball patterns are easy to find recordings of.

In terms of adding a more mathy measure, it feels like a sorting tree problem.

It's hard to be creative when we only talk about pool in terms of point geometry.

I will have to rewatch 14.1 matches and determine which patterns are more popular with specific players.

At that point things will be called the Sigel shuffle, Strickland supershot, Thorsten break line, Mika break line.

The WPA won't spend the time to remember professional pool players properly outside of rankings or championship titles. The WPA doesn't even list Mosconi.

Last edited:

#### sparkle84

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Who are those guys?

I think they're friends with Hairyman and Herman.

#### justnum

##### Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
The Euros found a new way to break 14.1.

The European Federation produces champions and it ended American 14.1 reign at the peak pro level.

The names of the players don't matter, its more important everyone knows what the Euro federation does.

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Keyball and breakball is language used to indicate existence.

Precision can be added by saying once a line on the breakball is decided, then a near parallel line must exists for the cue ball to travel along.

The construction of the "keyball" requires talent and knowledge. Keyball patterns are easy to find recordings of.

In terms of adding a more mathy measure, it feels like a sorting tree problem.

It's hard to be creative when we only talk about pool in terms of point geometry.

I will have to rewatch 14.1 matches and determine which patterns are more popular with specific players.

At that point things will be called the Sigel shuffle, Strickland supershot, Thorsten break line, Mika break line.

The WPA won't spend the time to remember professional pool players properly outside of rankings or championship titles. The WPA doesn't even list Mosconi.
you know Mosconi retired in 1966

#### justnum

##### Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
you know Mosconi retired in 1966

Post humous awards are a growing trend.
WPA has Mosconi Cup on its calendar. Why dont they dedicate something to Mosconi directly?

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Post humous awards are a growing trend.
WPA has Mosconi Cup on its calendar. Why dont they dedicate something to Mosconi directly?
Did you ask them? Tell them you are a computer scientist doing scientific research.

#### justnum

##### Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
Did you ask them? Tell them you are a computer scientist doing scientific research.

Ask the WPA? Are you familiar with my other posts?

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Ask the WPA? Are you familiar with my other posts?
Honestly I usually avoid them.

#### justnum

##### Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
You usually get nothing when you expect others to do your research work for you, for nothing.
You know, nothing ventured nothing gained.
Research usually starts with a viable process, such as a beginning, middle and end.
You started in the late stages and spent your 8 years trying to formulate an AI computerized version of 14.1 Continuous Billiards, to little or no avail.
Perhaps you should start again at the source about 1910 or so.
Or you could purchase the book “Willie’s Game” and use your computer AI to analyze that book and make it simple enough that your grandma could understand the ai version and try it on all new beginners for luck.
You can ask him in person when the time comes for y’all to connect later.

The presentations you read in my posts are carefully curated problems.

In every subject there are the people that make discoveries. Its better is when different people make the same discovery.

#### Pin

##### Registered
You could design an algorithm (as video games have), but if you generated one via machine learning it would probably be more effective. Then you could try to unravel or approximate its decisions.

I don't think you can have a strictly unsolvable position unless somebody's got no shot (or really has no prospect for a second shot) because you always have a chance to move something and get lucky.

#### KeithK

##### New member
When does using 1 rail work best for getting straight on a break? Can you discuss short rail versus long rail options?
Some of the questions you're asking are influenced by the individual player preferences. George Fels who wrote Mastering Pool and the Derby City Straight Pool Challenge was named after almost always recommended the simplest approach to any pool problem. i.e. don't use 2 rails when it can be done with one, don't use 3 rails if it can be done with 2, etc. But not all players would agree. If your key ball is below the break ball near the short rail, George usually recommends going 1 rail and out, BUT depending on the distance of the break ball from the side rail that might be harder to control and get good shape then using a 2 rail path around the break ball which can give a larger margin for error. Which way does a particular player practice it? No 2 players approach a runout to the break ball the same way. Once you get down to the last 4-5 shots you'll see more a higher probability that the players will use the same sequence, but before that it's almost impossible. If you doubt that, just watch any of the top straight pool players on any YouTube video and the announcers who are players themselves constantly guess wrong on what shots the players are choosing. I don't see exactly how you are going to mathematically determine sequences when the options are almost infinite. As an example...totally my preference. If I end up with a potential break ball on the right side of the rack, I prefer to have a key ball along the right rail BELOW the side pocket that I would shoot into the bottom corner because although I might end up further from the break shot, I still have more options in getting in position for it as opposed to a ball above the side pocket which is going to require better speed control coming off the rail to get perfect shape. (I'll use either but below the side pocket has a larger margin for error of getting an appropriate angle). Better players than me don't sweat getting that position and think I'm a little nuts...lol

BTW...there's no such thing as an unsolvable rack unless you're left with no shot.

#### KeithK

##### New member
The Euros found a new way to break 14.1.

The European Federation produces champions and it ended American 14.1 reign at the peak pro level.

The names of the players don't matter, its more important everyone knows what the Euro federation does.
What they do is simple....they play the game. The European juniors play the game. The European Championships play 4 disciplines...8 ball, 9 ball 10 ball and straight pool with divisions for men, women and juniors. Straight pool is not promoted in the US anymore.

#### Bob Jewett

##### AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... George Fels who wrote Mastering Pool ....
George wrote a couple of books later that also cover straight pool ideas, including "How Would You Play This", and "A Smarter Way to Learn Pool." The latter has 70 pages on straight pool.

#### Bob Jewett

##### AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... Straight pool is not promoted in the US anymore.
It is not widely promoted. I heard that at the recent US Juniors Championships, 14.1 was one of the disciplines. I also heard that some of the players had never played it before.

There is also the long-running American Straight Pool Championships which will be at Q-Master again at the end of October. I agree, though, that the game is down in the 1% region of games played in the US. The final Derby City 14.1 was in 2017 and Charlie Williams seems to have stopped his events at about the same time.

#### KeithK

##### New member
It is not widely promoted. I heard that at the recent US Juniors Championships, 14.1 was one of the disciplines. I also heard that some of the players had never played it before.

There is also the long-running American Straight Pool Championships which will be at Q-Master again at the end of October. I agree, though, that the game is down in the 1% region of games played in the US. The final Derby City 14.1 was in 2017 and Charlie Williams seems to have stopped his events at about the same time.
George wrote a couple of books later that also cover straight pool ideas, including "How Would You Play This", and "A Smarter Way to Learn Pool." The latter has 70 pages on straight pool.
Thank you Bob. I was unaware of these other books. I will look for them. I am very aware of the the tournament at Q-masters. At this point it's really the only one left...which is a shame. To think that snooker can be so popular on TV in the UK and we can't promote straight pool is truly a shame.

#### justnum

##### Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
What they do is simple....they play the game. The European juniors play the game. The European Championships play 4 disciplines...8 ball, 9 ball 10 ball and straight pool with divisions for men, women and juniors. Straight pool is not promoted in the US anymore.

I am the exception because my area has multiple 14.1 leagues. Its a good gambling game.

Silver Member

#### Straightpool_99

Silver Member
Advanced computing makes 14.1 a computationally interesting problem.

The history of 14.1 shows players making decisions in robotic ways. However the best computer hardware and software has not been professionally applied to the game.

The risk margins per shot make the problem challenging to simplify.

Instead of modeling the entire game, lets focus on the final five with ball in hand. Imagine the opponent missed and its your chance. What program leads to ideal conditions?

If there are five balls on the table with a clear break ball for the top side of the rack. What conditions must exist for the remaining 4 balls and cue ball in hand?

A classic math problem is buffoons needle which suggests all random distributions converge despite the random placement in a finite rectangular plane. The convergence is for distance between needles.

In straight pool all racks can be different but some racks can be lead to a breakshot. Of those breakshots some will lead to a second consecutive runout with a possible breakshot.

Is there a general description of all racks that can lead to a high run?

Top pros can demonstrate its possible, I challenge myself and others to develop a mathematical solution. I am on year 8 of my investigations.
Let me save you another 8 years of toiling:
There is no universal solution on how to run racks. Different players will have different specialities when it comes to shots. Some may prefer outside english, some play mostly plain ball, some play all shots. General principles, which are time tested, are as follows:

1. Shots should, whenever possible be shot in a way to minimize the risk of skids, but at the same time not so hard as to make pocketing more difficult.
2. Movement of the cueball should be minimized.
3. Movement of the cueball should take place in a manner which decreases risk of accidental contact with other balls, and scratching.
4. Reach should be considered for all positions.
5. In general, key balls should be positioned near a pocket or near a rail, but usually not frozen to a rail. Key balls in the middle of the table should be avoided, unless you have a key ball to the key ball which is close to a rail or pocket and leads directly to the key ball in the middle of the table.
6. The cueball should be kept near center table for most shots, in order to maximize opportunities.
7. The cueball should be kept above the rack for most shots, in order to maximize opportunities and to enlarge the position zones.
8. The cue balll should be kept away from the rail at all times.

For breakshots, I think the Mosconi style has been the one method that seems more condusive to high runs. High angle, high ball into center or slightly above center pack. Object ball close, but not too close to the pack, so as to enlarge the pocket.