The game of carrom is one of those indoor games which are more popular in Asian countries than anywhere else. Probably because of the fact it is Indian origin, the game is popular in different Asian countries India and Pakistan where it is equal to Billiards and Pool in European pubs. It’s a casual sport which can be played with little modifications in rules, whatever feels easier and more fun to you.
This game became very popular among the masses after World War 1 and since then state-level competitions are being held now in different states of india. In its neighbourhood, Srilanka also enjoys domestic level tournaments solely dedicated to Carrom.
The steady growth and popularity of this game could be because of its cheapness. Very little and inexpensive equipment are required while the fun is guaranteed. It is very simple to play so people of different ages can compete against each other.
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Object of Playing Carrom
The object of carrom is to win more points than all your opponents and win the game. Players score points by pocketing their chosen carrom pieces. At the end of the game, the player who finishes his pieces first and has the most number of points is declared winner.
General Rules of Carrom
- Carrom is played on carrom board with plastic or wood pieces commonly known as carromen.
- There are a total of 19 pieces of three different colours. 18 of them are of 2 colours (9 pieces of one colour each) and the 19th one is known as queen. A queen is normally of red colour.
- 2 players/teams have to choose the pieces of any colour which they are going to hit throughout the game.
- Hitting these pieces will win a certain number of points.
- These pieces are hit by carrom strikers. And the player can only hit the striker with his thumb, otherwise it’d be considered as a foul.
- Players can only strike from the baseline, moving the striker ahead of it while striking results in a foul.
- The player taking the first break if fails to break the counter in 3 attempts, this is also considered a foul.
- Every foul results in loss of turn, and sometimes, a point can also be subtracted from your tally.
- At the start of the game, all pieces are set up in circular shape in the middle of the ring, while the queen sits in the very middle surrounded by all other pieces.
- Players take alternative turns and at the end of the game, the team/player with the most number of points wins the match.
- A player only has 10 seconds to strike the striker in his turn. Failing to do so results in a loss of turn.
- Any piece flying off the table is replaced back at the center.
- If teams of 2 are competing against each other, then opponents sit in such a way that they face their partner on the other side.
- In the end, the player/team with the most number of points is declared winner.
A coin toss or by any other mean teams decide which player/team will take the first break.
Time Duration of Carrom
There are no time limits, when two players of same skill levels compete against each other, the game of Carrom can go on for hours.
Equipment & Playing Field
As per the ICF, the size of a carrom piece must not be less than 3.02cm and shouldn’t exceed 3.5cm. Moreover, their weight of these pieces sticks between 5.0-5.5g. These pieces are normally 7-9mm thick.
The size of the carrom board can vary, depending on the level of players. The dimensions of the standardized Carrom board is 29 inches (74 cm) square playing surface on a board of lacquered plywood. At each corner of the board is a pocket in which the pieces are to be sent to earn points.
- As per the international rules, a carrom game can be won by making 25 points.
- Queen has three points while the other two pieces worth 1 point each.
- If you want to pot the queen, you have to play a cover to it. By cover, I mean once you have pocketed the queen, you must pocket one of your colour pieces in the same turn in order to retain it. Otherwise it will be respotted.
- In non-official games, where the score limit is more than 25, this queen can worth more than 3 points. Some times 10, some times 50 or even more.
- Similarly, when only one of your pieces are left on the board along with the queen, you must pocket the queen first before pocketing your last piece.
- If a player A has pocketed all his pieces and his opponent still has some left on the carrom board, then player A will get bonus points equal to the carromen left of his opponent’s on the table.
In professional games, a referee is responsible for detecting fouls and maintaining order in the game.
Famous Carrom Events
The International Carrom World Cup is the pinnacle of this sport in which teams from Sri lanka, India, Pakistan, USA and a few other countries participate and compete against each other. Considering the popularity of the game in Asia, it won’t come as a surprise to you that this event is highly dominated by Asian teams.
The International Carrom Federation (ICF) is the governing body of the sport at international level. The ICF was formed in 1988 when delegates from India, Srilanka, Maldives, Switzerland met in Madras, India. All the current rules of the game are formed by ICF.