In snooker, a break is the total point score achieved by a player in a single visit to the table. A player's proficiency at building big breaks, particularly century breaks (scores over 100), is widely used as a measure of their overall skill.
The maximum break possible under normal circumstances is 147. This is often known as a maximum, or a 147 (or orally a one-four-seven). The 147 is amassed by potting all 15 reds with 15 blacks for 120 points then all six colours for a further 27 points. Scores above 147 are possible in the case of free balls due to fouling by the opponent.
In six-red snooker, the maximum break is 75 points (83 with free ball), as there are fewer reds and thus fewer black-scoring opportunities. In snooker plus, the maximum is 210 (221 with free ball) due to the additional, high point-value colours.
Highest break following a foulEdit
The highest break possible is 155. This can occur when an opponent fouls but leaves the player snookered on all 15 reds. The player can nominate one of the other colours as a red, known as a "free ball", which carries the same value as a red for just that shot. By potting the free ball followed by a colour, then all the reds with colours, and then the colours up to the pink or black, the player can compile a break of more than 147. If the free ball is followed by a black, and the player goes on to clear the table taking all blacks with the reds and then all six colours, the total score for the break is 155.
Breaks exceeding 147 Edit
At least eight breaks in excess of 147 have been recorded.
- A 151 is reported to have been compiled by Wally West against Butch Rogers in West London's Hounslow Luciana snooker club during a club match in 1976. After Rogers fouled, Wally took the green as his free ball followed by the brown. He then took 14 red and blacks and a pink off the last red. He then cleared up to make the 151.
- In April 1988 Steve Duggan made a 148 in a practice frame against Mark Rowing in Doncaster.
- In 1993 Stephen Hendry made a 148 in a practice match against Alfie Burden.
- In 1995 Tony Drago made a 149 in practice against Nick Manning in West Norwood, London in 1995, that was recorded by the Guinness Book of Records as the highest in this category. In that match Drago nominated the brown as the free ball, to score one point. He then potted the brown again, for four more points, before potting 13 reds and 13 blacks, a red and a pink, a red and a blue, then all the colours.
- In 1997 Eddie Manning achieved a 149 in a practice match against Kam Pandya at Willie Thorne's in Leicester. Like Drago he took brown, brown, 13 blacks, pink and blue.
- In April 2003 Jamie Cope made a 151 break at The Reardon Snooker Club during a practice game with David Fomm-Ward. After a foul by his opponent, Cope was snookered behind the brown ball. He took the brown as the free ball and then potted blue, 13 reds with blacks and two with pinks, then the six colours.
- In October 2004, during qualifying for the UK Championship, Jamie Burnett achieved a 148 against Leo Fernandez, becoming the first player to achieve a break of more than 147 in professional competition. He took the brown as the free ball and then potted the brown again, followed by the 15 reds with 12 blacks, two pinks and a blue, then the six colours.
In professional tournaments, there is usually a substantial prize awarded to any player achieving a 147 break, typically was an amount containing "147", e.g. £147, £1,470, £14,700 or £147,000 depending on the prestige of the tournament. As an extreme case, Ronnie O'Sullivan's 1997 maximum earned him £165,000 (£147,000 of this was for making the 147 break and another £18,000 was for achieving the highest break of the tournament).
In six-red snooker only the fastest maximum earns a prize money.
List of official maximum 147s in professional competitionEdit
List of most official 147sEdit
|No||Player||Number||Most recent 147|
List of 147 by nationalityEdit
- The first maximum break was made by E.J. Murt O'Donoghue at Griffith, New South Wales, Australia on 26 September 1934.
- Joe Davis compiled the first officially recognised 147 against Willie Smith on 22 January 1955 at Leicester Square Hall, London.
- The first maximum compiled in professional competition was made by John Spencer in 1979, but it was not officially ratified due to oversized pockets.
- In 1983, Cliff Thorburn became the first player to make a maximum break at the World Championships, a feat that has since been repeated by Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry (twice), Ronnie O'Sullivan (three times), Mark Williams and Ali Carter.
- Hendry and O'Sullivan are the only players to have made a maximum break during the World Championships and then go on to win the title – Hendry in 1995 and O'Sullivan in 2008
- O'Sullivan compiled each of the five fastest 147 breaks ever recorded, the fastest of which took 5 minutes and 20 seconds recorded in the 1st round of the 1997 World Championship. Michael White compiled the fastest 75 break, it took 2 minutes and 28 seconds in the group stage of the 2009 Six-red World Championship.
- Hendry, O'Sullivan and Mark Williams are the only players who have made maximums to win matches. Hendry compiled a maximum in the final at the 1997 Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge winning him the title, Williams at the 2005 World Championship, and O'Sullivan at the 2007 UK Championship and 2008 World Championship. Two of these were made in the deciding frame of the match: Hendry's in the 1997 Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge final and O'Sullivan's maximum at the 2007 UK Championship in the semi-final.
- Only Hendry and John Higgins have made maximums in finals of tournaments. Hendry has made three, the first in the final of the 1997 Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge, the second at the 1999 British Open and the third at the 2001 Malta Grand Prix. Higgins made a maximum in the final of the 2003 LG Cup.
- Higgins became the first and only player to record a 147 in successive ranking events and matches; he made one in his 9–5 defeat by Mark Williams in the LG Cup final at Preston, and then one in his first match at the British Open, both in 2003.
- Higgins' maximum breaks at the 2003 LG Cup and 2004 Grand Prix made him the first and only player to record maximums in the same tournament in successive years (the LG Cup being the sponsor's name for that year's Grand Prix). Since Higgins made the maximums in the 2003 final and the 2004 first round, he made maximums in successive rounds of the same tournament but not at the same event.
- The youngest player to make an official 147 in professional competition is Stephen Maguire at the 2000 Scottish Open qualifiers just a week after his 19th birthday. The youngest player to have made a televised 147 is Ding Junhui, who was 19 years and 7 months at the time, in the 2007 Masters. The youngest player to make a 147 in the televised stages of a ranking event was Jamie Cope at 21 years and 1 month old at the 2006 Grand Prix.
- The oldest player to make a maximum in professional competition is Cliff Thorburn, who was 41 during the 1989 Matchroom League. The oldest player to have made a 147 in a world ranking event is Stephen Hendry, who made his maximum break at the 2009 World Championship at the age of 40.
- On April 29, 2008 Ali Carter made his first 147 break against Peter Ebdon in their quarter-final match of the 2008 World Championships. This was the first time a 147 break had been made twice in the same professional tournament at the same venue, following O'Sullivan's maximum during the previous day's play. Two maximum breaks were previously compiled by Stephen Hendry and John Parrott during the 1992 Matchroom League but at different venues.
- Cliff Thorburn is the first player to have made more than one competitive maximum break and Stephen Hendry is the first player to have made more than one televised maximum break.
- Joe Swail compiled the first competitive maximum break to be made on the Continent, during a Belgian tournament in Brussels in December 1993. He was playing R. Melkenbeek, a local amateur.
List of matches where more than one 147 was compiledEdit
- Peter Ebdon compiled two maximum breaks during an 11-frame exhibition match at Eastbourne Police Club on April 15, 1996. In 2003 he also compiled two consecutive maximum breaks against Steve Davis in an exhibition match.
- Jimmy White compiled two maximum breaks during a 6–1 victory over John Virgo in an exhibition at the de Montfort Hall, Leicester, on November 7, 1995. Some 12 years earlier, White recorded two 147s in a 27-frame challenge match against Jim Peck at Peterborough.
- Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan compiled consecutive maximum breaks at an exhibition match in Ireland.