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Shaw Breaks 14.1 World Record With 714 Ball Run

Jayson Shaw Photo: Pete Marovich/American Reportage

In March of 1954, Willie Mosconi ran 526 balls during an exhibition match in Springfield, Ohio. After pocketing that 526th ball, the great Mosconi unscrewed his cue and called it a day. Sixty-five years later, that record was broken by US Open 9-Ball Champion John Schmidt when he ran 626 balls during an attempt to break the longstanding record. Less than three years later, the bar has been set even higher after “Eagle Eye” Jayson Shaw ran 714 on January 18th as part of the Legends of Pocket Billiards 14.1 High Run challenge at the Street Lights Billiards Academy in Alexandria, Virginia.

Legends of Pocket Billiards founder Bobby Chamberlain was the man to make all of this happen, as he combined his love for 14.1 Straight Pool with an assist from Street Lights owner Deon Chapman. “I love pool itself. I’ve been wanting to put something together special for 20 years” said Chamberlain. “I’ve played a lot of straight pool. What would happen if we let top players finish their runs and really see what they can do. Other events always got stopped because of time constraints. So let’s see what happens if these runs had the chance to continue. Mosconi used to run 100 or 150 in an exhibition and then quit. What could he have ran if he had a chance to continue all of those runs” he continued.

The final part of the challenge came together with local player Deon Chapman opened up his private academy, The Street Lights Billiards Academy. “I finally had a facility to get it done” said Chamberlain. With Chapman on board for “whatever you want to do”, Chamberlain started reaching out to players.

Shaw was not the first top pro to visit Street Lights Billiards Academy to take a swing at breaking Schmidt’s record. Shane van Boening was the first when he spent a week in Virginia shooting for the record back in November. The best that the South Dakota Kid could do though, was a run of 308.

Russian World Champion Ruslan Chinahov was next and he also came up short, not able to score a run higher than 300 in November.

Earl Strickland combined exhibitions with attempts to break the record over five days, but could only manage a run of 238 balls.

Jayson Shaw was scheduled to give it a try back in December but taking his place as Most Valuable Player at the Mosconi Cup again was a higher priority. “I saw Shane and Earl try it, and Bobby was asking me to go. I didn’t have time after Mosconi Cup so I canceled the trip” said Shaw. After seeing Chamberlain in January at the Turning Stone Classic, Jayson re-scheduled a five-day attempt to break the record.

“I wanted to play for 10 days, but I only had 5 days with Derby coming up” Shaw explained. “I was
trying to play 12-13 hours a day to get it done. On the first day, I had over five 200 ball runs. Lots of big runs, but I kept getting stuck in weird situations. I’d get jammed in the stack or stuck on a ball” he said.

Shaw said he started seeing things more clearly on day two and he started running balls like he knew he was capable of, but he still kept coming up short. The longest run that Shaw could muster over his five days was 407 balls and Shaw had to get back home. “He was done trying,” said Chamberlain. “We went to eat and Jayson said he thought he was close but he didn’t want to miss getting his daughter to school.”

“I couldn’t keep going. My body was sore. I thought maybe I just need to come back another time” said Shaw. Stopping for dinner on the way home, Shaw had what would be an important conversation with his wife Ara. “I felt like I was right there. I thought when I get to 30, it will all change” he reached out to Chamberlain to try one more day. “Jayson texted and said he wanted to try it for one more night. I couldn’t stand it. He wanted to run 500”

Shaw ran eleven racks in his first attempt (154 balls) but missed his break ball. Then it happened. “I didn’t know he was keeping track, but when he made 527 he stopped and celebrated, “ said Chamberlain. “I was just worried that I might have kept the wrong score. I hoped he would just keep running. Jayson knew it and he was the one who celebrated”. “I was always keeping track of the score. Even if I don’t want to see it, it’s right there at my feet. I saw it every time I walked back to the chair,” said Shaw.

As the balls kept falling, the records were toppled. “626 was not his only target,” Chamberlain said.

“At 680 or 690, the way the balls were opening up, I thought I could run 1,000,” said Shaw. “I had already beat all the numbers that were out there. There was no pressure and I was free stroking. I broke the balls open at 714 and the cue ball went through the stack, bottom rail, and the length of the table to scratch. If that doesn’t go, who knows what I could run”.

Shaw commented after he got back home and got his daughter to school, “I don’t think it has really sunk in what I did. I felt drunk after I finished. It feels like it was five days of torture. I have blisters on my fingers and my feet, and I slept for twelve hours when I got home”.

Chamberlain has made a public statement regarding the video of this amazing run: “We have a perfect unedited original high-definition recording that is secure and ready for the BCA to validate and certify, this is our first objective. Once that task is complete, we will look at the best options to showcase this world record-breaking run to the world.”

Chamberlain says that Shaw’s record-breaking run is not the end of his 14.1 challenge. He has Fedor Gorst scheduled for March and says he has interest from Darren Appleton and Corey Deuel. “Filler wants to play for 2-3 weeks,” he says. “And I have put out feelers to Niels and Thorsten” Until then though. Chamberlain says he is “Happy for Jayson and for the pros getting interested in straight pool again”.