In the traditional Blankenberge week, earlier this year, Caudron won the Belgian title in 3-cushion for the ninth time. We are now quite used to Frédéric averaging over 2.000 consistently, but he took it up a notch in this event. Making 280 points in 108 innings, he scored a general average of 2.592, a new Belgian record. Was he close to a world record? We’ll look at that from all angles, in this column.
First, let’s tip our hats to the runner-up in Blankenberge. Eddy Merckx also played a fantastic week and he ended up with 267 in 110, for a general average of 2.427 (and a best match of 40 in 7!). What do they eat for breakfast, these two guys? If I find out, I might have it for lunch and dinner as well.
There is a UMB standard since 2016, that a tournament average can only be recognized as a record if a minimum of five matches were played. That requirement makes total sense, as we will soon see. Here are a few spectacular tournament averages that will always remain UN-official.
2.666. Dick Jaspers in a Dutch Grand Prix in Veldhoven, in 2005. Unfortunately for Dick, he had a bye in an early round and played only four matches to 50 points, using 75 innings.
2.942. The 2015 World Cup in Guri was a feast of high scoring. Dani Sánchez won the event and equaled the world record, then held by Blomdahl. The player who was eliminated in the semi’s and recorded that unbelievable 2.942? Dick Jaspers.
3.000. This was an invitational event in Tokyo. Torbjörn Blomdahl beat Umeda, Funaki, Cho and Sánchez in short matches to 30, using 40 innings for 120 points.
3.076. If you make 40 in 13 in the first round of a World Cup, but your opponent does the same and you lose the shootout, you’ll record a “general” average of 3.076 for that event. It is an insane scenario, but believe it or not, it did happen once (Ho Chi Minh City, 2015). The unlucky player? Dick Jaspers.
On to the serious business of official records then: some outdated, some still in the books.
2.324. Blomdahl set this record in the Crystal Kelly tournament of 1995. At that time, it was a mighty jump forward. TB even a lost a match in this event (to Sang Lee), won the other six and made 344 in 148, beating Gieskens, Bitalis, Dielis, Zanetti, Ceulemans and Jaspers.
2.384. In an invitational event in Emblem, Belgium, Caudron made 360 points in 151 innings. This is the world record tournament average with matches to 60 points. Try getting THAT out of the books!
2.420. Here’s another official world record, because it is the highest ever general average in an event with sets to 15. Caudron won the Vienna World Cup of 2011, making 242 in 100. He beat Legazpi, S.W. Choi, Sánchez, Cenet and Blomdahl. This record could also have a long life.
2.500. Marco Zanetti won the European title in 2013, making 200 in 80, beating Novak, Horn, Jaspers, Caudron and Rudolph. Who does NOT remember that semifinal against Frédéric? I’m still catching my breath, six years later. Not a world record, still a European record.
2.592. Caudron’s 2019 Belgian title in Blankenberge.
2.622. Jaspers made 299 points in 114 innings, in the 2011 Crystal Kelly event, losing only one match (49-50 to Kasidokostas). This is the current world record for tournament average in a 50-point format.
2.739. Torbjörn Blomdahl was the first to make 200 in 73 in a World Cup. He did it in the Peloponnese event of 2013, beating Forthomme, J.H. Heo, Q.C. Tran, Kasidokostas and Legazpi.
2.739. Dani Sánchez also made 200 in 73, in Guri 2015. He needed to get past Coklu, D.K. Kang, Merckx, Jaspers and Tasdemir to win that event. Naturally, I could not resist teasing Dani a little, saying: “TB’s 2.739 was better than yours”. The Spaniard, as we all know, is a very good sport, but he still wanted to know why. “Because Torbjörn won one match in a shootout, 3-2, so he actually made 203 in 74, for 2.743.”
2.777. The current World Cup average record, held by Dani Sánchez. He did this in Luxor in 2017, making 200 in 72, beating Nady, Coklu, Polychronopoulos, Tasdemir and Jaspers.
2.790. Once again, it’s Fred. This is the highest ever tournament average with matches to 40 points, which makes it comparable to the World Cups. FC made 240 in 86 in Dampremy, Belgium in a Grand Prix in 2016.
Will we live long enough to see a tournament average of 3.000 or better? I am quite hopeful that will happen in the upcoming years, if the 5-match, 40-point format is kept in place. Seems to me, that record is “easier” to break than the 50 in 6 by Merckx or the 40 in 4 by Jaspers. The barrier of 3.000 will come down, and an official run of 30 will be made soon. I can almost smell it. It’s around the corner, folks.