Seeding error delays knockout

Seeding error delays knockout

A gaffe in seeding by the officials at the ongoing Senior National Billiards Championships resulted in some round-of-32 matches being stopped midway while a few completed matches had to be replayed to rectify the error.

As a clutch of matches in the round-of-32 - the first knockout round - was underway in the afternoon, Rishabh Thakkar and Siddharth Parikh noticed they had been seeded incorrectly. Thakkar, who was due to play his match at 6 pm, brought it to the notice of chief referee Kishore Khurana.

After realising a blunder had been committed, Khurana ordered the ongoing matches to be stopped while he retreated to his office to do the seeding again. After a delay of around 30 minutes, Khurana came up with a fresh draw that forced all but one of the matches to be replayed. The only match that didn't get affected was the encounter between Pankaj Advani and D Bhuvaneswaran where the former won 3-0.

"It's a human error," rued Khurana. "We take the frame averages and ensure the players from the same group are not in the same half of the draw while doing the reseeding. That's the IBSF rule which we follow. Rishabh pointed out an error and immediately we stopped the matches. It's unfortunate."

While the reseeding ensured a fair draw, a few matches had been completed while in the others a few players were leading by a healthy margin. Making them play again seemed unfair. Asked if any cueist raised any objection, Khurana said all of them were happy to get on with the business. "No one has objected. They said do whatever is right."

Senior cueist Devendra Joshi, who was leading Sasha Sambi 2-0 when the issue was noticed, felt officials could have been a bit careful. "Cross-checks should have been done. The draw should be fair to all. The other point that has been made is once the draw has been made and accepted and players have turned up to play, then you should stick to the draw and not change it. But to be fair to all those who haven't yet played - players playing in the second session - they'll be playing with the correct draw. So I'm okay with the decision to play the matches again."

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