Defending US Snooker champion Aly wins first-ever, live-streamed snooker match

As with most billiard games, it's often the long-table shots that can frustrate players. Short shots fall with the application of practiced skills, but on a 12-foot long snooker table, the distance between cue and target ball alone can be further than the length of most bar tables. Add to this, the further distance between target ball and intended pocket, and it tends to dictate the necessity for careful aim, and a healthy respect for the physics of speeding balls. In the shorter-distance sports of 8-ball, 9-ball and straight pool, you're taught, generally, to apply just enough speed to a shot to allow the target ball to reach its intended pocket, because excessive speed has a way of altering the path of that target ball. And the harder you hit the cue ball, the more likely it is that at point of contact, you'll have miscalculated.

You wouldn't know this from watching three-time defending US Snooker champion Ahmed Aly Al-Sayed. Aly snaps off long shots as though the laws of physics don't apply to him. He used this skill to great effect in defeating Raymond Fung 3-1 in a Round of 16 match at the US Snooker Championships, currently underway at the Embassy Billiards Club in San Gabriel, CA. Their match on Saturday afternoon became the first-ever snooker match streamed live on the Internet, thanks to the services of P.O.V. Pool.

Five of the remaining eight players in the tournament hail from California. Aly is from New York, Ernst Bezemer is from Texas and Romil Azemat (who'll face Aly in the best-of-5-frame quarterfinals) is from Arizona. The remaining field of eight includes three former champions - Aly, Ajeya Prabhakar (current president of the US Snooker Association, who won in 2000) and Jack Kung (2007). Azemat was the runner-up in 2006.

The remaining three quarterfinal matches will pit Kung against Bezemer, Kwan Wai Kon against Sargon Isaac, and Prabhakar versus Jeff Szafransky. Play and the live stream were scheduled to commence at noon, PST (3 p.m., EDT) today (Sunday) and will continue through the crowning of a champion, sometime in the wee morning hours of Memorial Day (EDT).

The live stream at is accompanied by commentary that caters, in part, to folks who understand the game well, but thus far, has included a 'chat room' filled with knowledgeable people willing to answer questions that arise about the game and a variety of its more intricate rules (fouls, penalties, etc.). 

The winner and runner-up of the 2012 US Snooker Championships will represent the United States in the IBSF World Snooker Championships, scheduled for November 4-16 in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt. Sponsors of this year's US event include Tweeten Fibre, Inc. (snooker cue tips and chalk brands), and Saluc, manufacturer of Aramith Tournament Champion Snooker Balls.