Thursday, September 24, 2009

Introduction to the Game of Carrom

The game of Carrom is also called as Carroms which is known as a family game played on tabletop. This game has a similarity between the games, table shuffleboard and billiards. Carrom game has many kinds of names across the globe, such as carum, carrum, karam, karom, karum or simply called Indian finger billiards. The origin of this game is unsure; according to some sources this game of Carrom has an Indian origin, while some say that it has a Chinese origin. Countries like Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and North Africa seem to play a role for the origin of the Carrom game. However in the West this game is somewhat similar to billiards.

The game of Carrom is played on plain plywood which is about 74 centimeters or 29 inches. The border of the playing board in bounded with wood bumpers. Here instead of balls like in billiards, here wooden disks are used. It is also called as Carrom coins or pucks. Generally there only four types of coins, black, white, red and a striker. The aim of the game is to strike the coins with the help of the striker and move them into the corner pockets. The red colored coin/puck is called the 'queen'. Carrom can be played with two to four players. The Carrom board has variations; it is available in smaller size for children and boards with larger corner pockets for beginners to learn the tricks and practice the game.

A carrom-man is a usually wooden or sometimes plastic, uniform small disk. The Carrom-men have a smooth movement in a flat position on the surface of the carrom board when hit by a striker of standard specification. The carrom-men traditionally come in two colors – black and white - denoting the two players or in doubles play, the opposing teams. The opener always plays white. An additional, special carrom-man is colored red and called the "queen". The accepted specifications for Carrom Men are - diameter of not more than 3.18 cm and no less than 3.02 cm, and thickness must be between 7 mm and 9 mm, with a weight of 5 to 5.5 g.

The dimensions of the queen must be the same as those of the other carrom-men.The queen is the most powerful carrom piece and usually red in color. It is placed at the center of the circle. If a player wins the board with the queen, this adds five queen points to the player's total score. A player pockets the queen and to cover it provided a carrom-man of the player's own has already been pocketed.

The striker is a larger and relatively heavier disk, flicked with the finger to hit the carrom-men and knock them into the corner pockets. The striker has to be smooth and round, with a diameter not more than 4.13 cm. Its weight should not be more than 15 grams.

High quality powder, most commonly boric acid powder is used on the board to enable the pieces to slide easily. In the UK and other European countries, many players use a version of spray powder from the printing industry which is made from pure, food-grade vegetable starch.

The American version of the game is quite different as the game is played with cue sticks with checkers or chess like patters in the middle of the board. You can note that, the corner pockets of the board are much larger than the traditional/original Carrom board. The American Carrom was played in 1950s and 1970s in South California, using larger square board and with cue sticks and wooden rings. The Filipino Carrom is played in Philippines which is called 'pool table' or 'Karombola'. The Australian Carrom is similar to the Indian Carrom which is know by the trade mark 'Puckpool' which is played using hands without cue sticks. However the Australian Carrom is played only with eight coins, black and white coins plus with a queen or crown puck. The International Carrom Federation (ICF) is the international governing body for the game of Carrom, which has delegates from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Germany, Maldives and Switzerland. The ICF sets the Laws for the Carrom game.

The playing surface of an ICF, regulation board is extremely smooth, making it a touch game demanding a high degree of finesse. The frame is thick and hard, giving a strong rebound that provides additional fast action. And, the striker, which is always brought back to the "baseline" for the next shot, is about three times heavier than the object pieces. This greater mass permits a wide variety of "board management" techniques (the strategy of setting up future shots while disrupting your opponent's) and extremely complex plays.

Carrom Techniques

· BBody Position


Sitting position is very important in carrom. If you sit properly on your chair or stool only then you can play a perfect game.

Some players are placing their chair or stool far away from the carrom board and play from the edge of the chair/stool. In this position a player finds it very difficult to balance himself/herself on the chair/stool and is afraid of falling down from the chair/stool. Another disadvantage in this position is that the player’ legs may cross the imaginary line which is a foul. I have seen even some national champion crossing their legs beyond imaginary lines and if foul is declared then blaming the umpires. If you keep too much distance between your seat and carrom board then you have to stretch your hand for playing, which can develop tension in the playing hand. Correct position to sit is to take comfortable distance between your seat and the carrom board and occupy more than half portion of your seat.


Upper body movement- In this type of movement you can move your only upper body bringing in the intended direction. Locking your legs to the chair/stool can allow you to move your upper body easily. This prevents your legs crossing the imaginary lines.

Full body movement- In this type of movement you can move your full body in the intended direction. For this type of movement it becomes necessary to move on the seat. Before moving on your seat hold your chair firmly and take a comfortable position by moving on the seat, then release your hands from the chair and play. Taking support of the chair is a foul. This is to be done because there is a possibility of moving your chair on the floor, which is a foul.


Trial Board also Called Warm-up board. We know there are two trial boards before starting the game.
A player must take the trial board seriously as these two boards are very helpful in game of carrom. These two boards give you strength and power to play the game ->

♣ A Player must set his/her sitting position i.e. body position, Height etc.

♣ A Player must detect the carrom board's setting i.e. any kind of irregularity in board.

♣ A Player must detect carrom board's speed.

♣ A Player must detect his striker speed and if roughing needed then use roughing paper.

♣ A Player must prepare him/her and should pocket a coin as you are playing a Real game.

♣ A Player must detect the opponent sensibility of playing his strength and weakness.

♣ A Player have to adjust in the environment, like crowd etc. so these two boards are best to adjust.

♣ A player can make good control and concentration in game.

♣ The Trial boards are the chance of preparation.

I have seen some good players don’t take trial board seriously and because of that they loss first two to three boards because those board work trial for them and because of that they can loose their confidence. These are like warming up boards and every player should take up the profit for it.

· Carrom Shots

The Strike or Break is main part while playing game. Break or Strike is taken after taking permission from umpire. Break or strike is your first turn in which you spread the coin bunch. When you are playing single game you must take reverse strike or circular strike. The said strike make your coin more easy and make opponent coins difficult as they are o your base frames. The strike should taken by hitting appropriate force and angle so that your coin will not become difficult and you can pocket each coin easily. In good strike, you can pocket 4 carromen easily if stroke is proper.


In 'REVERSE STRIKE' striker first hits on opposite frame and then on bunch of coins. The striker must hit on the red marks alloted below to pocket coins and to make your coins easily + opponent coins difficult. This is mostly used by champions and non champions in singles event. But also can used in doubles if u know that your partener is weak. See below


In Double, You should hit directly on coin i.e. 'STRAIGHT STRIKE', so that your partner can pocket coin with ease in next chance. if proper hit then you can pocket up to six carromen in a strike(Record of srilankan). You should know your opponent weak points and strike according to it.


Other two shots in which we have to pocket the coin which are under our base lines that shots are called Back Shots. The above are straight back shots played.

The coins which are placed under base lines are pocketed through striker with your thumb. This technique is called Thumbing. You can also play this shot with your middle finger and index finger too. It is misinterpretated that thumbing is not or back shots can’t be pocketed directly. Well this comes under rules of carrom that it can be pocketed through Thumbing.


The most useful shots you have to play to pocket coins above your base lines. The cutting of the Carromen which are above your base lines that type of cut is known as straight cut. This stroke needs great deal of practice. The cuts are used to pocket a carromen and take out your another difficult carromen. These shots also used to make your opponent carromen difficult.

You can see Cuts strokes in above figure see on left side of centre circle. The coin pocketed on side frame through cut, in centre it is pocketed through cut and see that coin on opposite lines on left side of centre circle which is pocketed through cut.. Similarly shots on right side of center circle cut is implied to pocket couns.

How to Play

Two, three or four people can play. In singles, your opponent sits across from you; in doubles, you play opposite your partner. With three, you can play for points (blacks count one, whites count two, the queen counts five.)

How to arrange the pieces on the board

Line up the double whites to aim 'dead-on' into a corner pocket.

Whoever plays first, or breaks, is always white. The object of the game is to sink all of your pieces, using the heavier 'striker', in any of the pockets before your opponent. Your turn continues as long as you keep sinking your pieces - luck shots count and all combinations are permitted.

When placing the striker on the board to shoot, the striker must touch both 'base lines' (see left diagram), either covering the red circle completely, or not touching it at all. The striker may not touch the diagonal arrow line.

Shooting styles are very personal - whichever 'grip' works for you is fine as long as you 'flick' the striker and don't push it. Generally, it's best to orient your body in order to see the line of your aim while shooting comfortably; you may not move or leave your chair.

For forward shots, you can use your index finger, middle finger, or even the 'scissors' shot (right).

The red piece, or 'queen,' can be pocketed at any time after sinking your first piece but must be sunk before your last one. After pocketing the queen, you must sink one of your pieces, thereby 'covering' it, into any pocket in the next shot, or she is returned to the center spot.

Once the queen is covered, whoever clears their pieces first wins the 'board'.

The winner of a board collects one point for each of the opponent's pieces left at the finish and three points for the queen if covered by the winner (if covered by the loser, no-one gets those points). No more points are collected for the queen after your score reaches 22.

A game consists of 25 points or eight boards, whichever comes first.


* Sinking the striker costs you one piece and your turn. But, if you sink a piece in the same shot, then two come up and you shoot again.
* After sinking the striker, your opponent places the due piece(s) within the center circle. If you haven't sunk one yet, you owe one.
* If while shooting for the queen you also sink one of your pieces, the queen is automatically covered, no matter which went first.
* If a piece jumps off the board, it is placed on the center spot. If pieces land on end or are overlapping, they are left that way.
* If the center spot is partially covered when replacing the queen or a jumped piece, the piece should cover as much red as possible. If totally covered, the piece is placed opposite the next player behind the red spot.
* If you sink your opponent's piece, you lose your turn. If you sink their last piece, you lose the board and three points.
* If you sink your last piece before the queen, you lose the board, three points and one point for each of your opponent's pieces left.
* If the striker does not leave both lines, go again. You get three tries to break before losing your turn.

There are about 140 rules in Carrom.. if you are playing good Carrom, you must get to know all the rules..