A Bisque In Time

Posted 18 November 2007 to Handicap Play, Tactics by Jeff Soo

by Jeff Soo

In the previous article, Bisque Basics, I described the “windshield wiper” phenomenon. This is where a player uses bisque after bisque attempting to roquet a ball, missing and going several yards past each time (back and forth, hence “windshield wiper”). I recently had the pleasure of watching an opponent use four bisques in this way, before finally making the roquet.

There is a nearly foolproof way to avoid this: shoot gently at the ball, so that if you miss you only go a yard or two past it. Then if you need to take a bisque you will have a very easy roquet. Of course you don’t have to treat every roquet this way. But once the distance gets longer than a few yards, this is a prudent approach if you have bisques.

The same idea applies in other situations. Consider a ball near the boundary that you are trying to roquet. If you miss and go out of bounds, or hit but knock the roqueted ball out of bounds, your only recourse is to take a replay bisque. You could easily take bisque after bisque trying to make the roquet and keep the ball in bounds.

Or you could use the first bisque—a replay bisque—to shoot more gently, perhaps not even trying to hit. Then, if necessary, take a continuation bisque to make the roquet. Total cost: two bisques. If you had done this in the first place, it would only have cost you one bisque.

If you miss a shot at a wicket, sometimes you will end up in position to run it with a single continuation bisque. But other times you will end up out of position, needing either a replay bisque or two continuation bisques to get through. If the shot was a difficult one to begin with, a replay bisque is hardly attractive.

In all of these situations you are faced with the same choice. You have a moderatly difficult shot (or worse), which you can shoot in your usual way. If you miss, you may well need two bisques to continue. Or you can shoot more gently, perhaps only to set up, then take a continuation bisque. In the first case, you may get away without having to use any bisques, or you may end up having to use two bisques. In the second case, you are likely or certain to use one bisque, but one bisque only.

Which is the better approach? It depends on the difficulty of the shot. If the shot is very easy then of course you should just shoot it in the normal way, as though you had no bisques. If the shot is very difficult then usually you will be better off taking the cautious approach and planning to use the bisque.

In between is a gray area, where you will have to use judgment. It is an axiom that you should always be confident when taking a shot. But you have to be realistic when planning what shot to take—to do otherwise is foolhardy. A bisque in time may not save nine, but it will often save one or two.


To see all articles in this series, browse the Reference: Handicap Play topic

Last modified on 3 March 2017