Szafransky Clips Prabhakar for 2009 USSA National Snooker Tour Stop #1 Win at California Billiard Club

Jeff Szafransky

The United States Snooker Association (USSA) is pro-actively rejuvenating snooker in the United States in 2009 with its inaugural USSA National Snooker Tour, and the first stop on the Tour – the California Billiard Club Classic Snooker Tournament directed by USSA Treasurer Bob Jewett - in Mountain View, CA, January 3-4, met all expectations in turn-out and drama.   A full field of sixteen players attacked the 6 x 12s, with four round-robin preliminary flights determining the eight players for the final rounds.  The preliminary flights featured 2-frame matches among each opponent within a flight for a total of six frames played per player.  The preliminary favorites of pro pool player Tony Annigoni, USSA President Ajeya Prabhakar and Jeff Szafransky fulfilled their expectations by posting 5-1 records, qualifying them for the final playoffs.  Prabhakar claimed high run honors in the prelims with a break of 45.

[Numbers indicate win/loss record in frames in prelims]

Group A:
Tony Annigoni (San Francisco,CA): 5-1
Amit Karki (San Jose, CA): 4-2
Ming Ruan Zhi (Sacramento, CA): 3-3
D.J. (Santa Clara, CA): 0-6
Group B:
Ajeya Prabhakar (San Jose, CA): 5-1 [High Break – 45]
Alan Kam (Pacifica, CA): 4-2
Guoshen Pan (Fremont, CA): 2-4
Taimoor Husain (Santa Clara, CA): 1-5
Group C:
Fan Ru Zeng (Oakland, CA): 5-1
Patrick Tsang (Fremont, CA): 3-3
Steve Lucas (Oakland, CA): 2-4
Chris Zhou (Oakland, CA): 2-4
Group D:
Jeff Szafransky (Mountain View, CA): 5-1
Eric Ng (San Francisco, CA): 3-3
Asad Rizvi (San Ramon, CA): 1-5
Jeremy Templeman (San Rafael, CA) – withdrew
In the Final Rounds, the quarterfinals featured no upsets, as Group A winner Tony Annigoni dispatched Eric Ng 2-1, Group B winner Ajeya Prabhakar eliminated Patrick Tsang 2-0 (Ajeya producing the tourney high run of 59 in the process), Group C winner Fan Ru Zeng dominated Alan Kam 2-0 and Jeff Szafransky ended Amit Karki's run by a 2-1 margin.
The semifinals produced the two 2008 representatives from the USA to the IBSF World Snooker Championships in Austria, as Prabhakar and Szafransky each recorded 3-1 wins over Tony Annigoni and Fan Ru Zeng respectively to qualify them for the finals (Prabhakar again recording the high run for the round at 49).   Jeff Szafransky is a steady, controlled player with a pool background whose snooker game has improved substantially in recent years, while Ajeya Prabhakar is a former Junior National Champion of India and the 2000 USSA Nationals Champion.  The similar experience and seasoning on green felt for both resulted in an even match which went down to the final black in the deciding frame, favoring Szafransky on this day for a 3-2 score to award Jeff the first title of the 2009 USSA National Snooker Tour!
Final Results:
1st        Jeff Szafransky (Mountain View, CA) - $315
2nd        Ajeya Prabhakar (San Jose, CA) - $175
3-4th     Tony Annigoni (San Francisco, CA) - $70
            Fan Ru Zeng (Oakland, CA) - $70
High Run – Ajeya Prabhakar (59) - $70
The USAA National Snooker Tour is sanctioned and produced by the United States Snooker Association (USSA) [established in 1991], which is recognized as the USA governing body for snooker by the world-governing body – the International Billiard & Snooker Federation (IBSF) – and which produces the annual USA National Snooker Championships to determine the representatives from the USA to the annual IBSF World Snooker Championships.  The 2009 USSA National Championships will be conducted at the Prince Snooker Club in New York City, NY, May 21-24, and is open to the first 32 entries who are permanent residents or citizens of the USA.  Info and entry details will be posted on the USSA website – – soon.
The USSA National Snooker Tour is sponsored by Aramith Billiard Balls and Strachan West Of  England snooker cloth, and the 2009 Tour will feature its second stop (of the six-stop Tour) at On Cue Billiards in Grayslake, Illinois (outside Chicago) on the weekend of January 17-18 (contact USSA rep. Tom Kollins at tel. 847-548-1736).