“Safety First” is certainly an excellent motto in many respects, but I question it in the billiard sense and rarely advise it when giving a billiards instruction. The game of safety in billiards is a paradox. It looks easy and it is easy within strict limitations.
But when taken beyond the obvious enough, the game of safety is the most difficult and problematic part of the game of billiards. Suppose, for example, that you are facing the following position: the cue ball is in your hand, the white ball is so close to the edge of the middle pocket that it is impossible to play it without putting it in, the red ball is glued to the side cushion. What is the correct game to play?
A single baulk
Before answering my question, I will deviate to comment that if the red was somewhere near the back cushion, then it has a typical “facilitated safety game” illustration. He sets the target smart enough to get his ball back to where he can dominate the red very comfortably, and he sets up a double baulk that he should benefit from.
But, with red pressed against the side cushion, you are faced with a tricky problem. If you put white in a pot and leave a single baulk, your opponent, if he is a good hitting player, has a clear chance to smash through red into the top pocket and break your safety move.
If his stroke play is too weak for him to risk the execution, he can take a pocket stroke, give him three points, and force him to play misplaced red according to the rule limiting consecutive misses. , which gives him the best of the argument, because he gave the first failure to leave his single-baulk.
Obviously, therefore, you risk losing by hitting white and failing on the kick, unless you can miss so intelligently that your ball is exactly where the red pass can play. This is a very, very difficult thing to do, and when you’ve done it, you still have to do a refresher in response to a hit.
You may not have to do this if your opponent misses covering red, or cleverly misses the baulk that hinders you when you attempt the run-through. The latter is a risky shot for you to try, but the possibility is there if you care to accept it; what he can do in the unlikely event that he misses a mistake smart enough to order execution should he strike.
A double baulk
After receiving some billiard instruction, if your stroke play is the same, the best you can in this situation is to run through the red into your upper pocket. It is impossible to say where the red will stop after this shot. You can drop an easy red hazard, you can run backwards, you can stop safe for yourself, but in a better position for a safety shot.
In any case, it is very likely that if you do the run-through you will be in a position to put white in the pot and leave a double fall, which is not very feasible given that the balls are at rest. You could do it if you put the target with a lot of screw and the right side on your ball, and shot the red on the top cushion. So if you were lucky enough to move red up front, you could leave a double rejection and make the best of the deal.
A complex problem
From the above, you will see that the stroke is by no means the simple “hit the mark and miss the baulk” proposition that it seems at first glance. It is more like a minor chess problem, and its correct solution really depends on the human element. It is primarily a question of whether or not you can confidently face the loser and, to a lesser extent, whether your opponent can do something with him if you leave him to him.
After having received excellent billiard instruction, you should be in a position to enjoy the game!