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Dani Sánchez wins his 15th World Cup

Seoul, August 28th, 2022.

The 2022 UMB Seoul World Cup will mostly be remembered for the two majestic semifinals on Sunday. The final was, unfortunately for the talented Korean Myeong Jong Cha, a one-sided affair with Sánchez in control from start to finish: 50-19 in 16 innings. The Spaniard is turning into the main “angstgegner” for world champion Dick Jaspers, who has now lost five in a row to Sánchez. The Dutchman, however, remains solidly in first place on the world ranking. 


Gwendal Maréchal from France had the dream tournament and the dream start to his semifinal: he made 28 in 10 and had a big lead over Cha at the halfway point. But the Korean 3-cushion instructor fought back with a run of 15 and was the coolest in the closing innings: 50-48 in 24.

Sánchez also needed to come from behind: a run of 13 brought him back into his match with Jaspers who had a much better start. The Dutchman ran away again with a six and a four to get to 49 but failed to make the last point. Dani took full advantage and closed out the match: 50-49 in 22 (21). 

You would have to search long and hard in World Cup history to find two semifinals this close and this exciting, with four players over 2.000 average.  

UMB president Farouk Barki closed the event, reminding everyone that the World Cup calendar for 2022 still has Veghel (October) and Sharm el Sheik (December) to look forward to and that the top players will return to South Korea later this year for the UMB World Championship.

Full results and the final ranking can be found on the UMB website:









Seoul, August 27th, 2022.

Day 6

SEOUL WORLD CUP- Cha and Maréchal have a magic week.

Nobody will be seriously surprised to see Dick Jaspers and Dani Sánchez in the semifinals of a World Cup. But it’s a first for the two other players in the last four: Gwendal Maréchal from France and Myeong Jong Cha from South Korea. 

Last 16:

Jaspers, as so often, had a miraculous escape against Jeremy Bury (50-48 in 29), thanks to a well-timed run of 11. Dani Sánchez was rock-solid against Jung Han Heo (50-37 in 28). Eddy Merckx ended the dream of tournament revelation Phuong Vinh Bao (50-34 in 30). Gwendal Maréchal, who had slipped into the last 16 through the back door, eliminated none other than Marco Zanetti: 50-44 in 28. 

Myeong Jong Cha was the underdog in his match against Haeng Jik Kim, but he came out on top: 50-37 in 36. Sayginer never hit his peak but still got past Nikos Polychronopoulos: 50-31 in 33. Jun Tae Kim, now one of the best Koreans, struggled in a poor match but eventually beat Wan Young Choi: 50-47 in 47. And the multiple world champion Torbjörn Blomdahl narrowly overcame Egypt’s best, Sameh Sidhom: 50-46 in 33. 


The tournament just kept getting better for Cha, who could hardly believe he had survived yet another round by beating the most legendary of all the Turks, Semih Sayginer (50-43 in 38). Maréchal and Jun Tae Kim fought the battle of the twenty-somethings, the young Frenchman coming out on top: 50-44 in 33. Dani Sánchez never put a foot wrong in his match against Torbjörn Blomdahl (50-30 in 21). Merckx was not on his usual level, and Jaspers took full advantage: 50-28 in 27. 

Semifinals on Sunday:

Myeong Jong Cha – Gwendal Maréchal

Dick Jaspers – Dani Sánchez.  


Seoul, August 26th, 2022.

Day 5.

The elite books their place in the K.O. stage.

The three highest ranked players in the world put in flawless performances in the group stage of the 2022 UMB Seoul World Cup. Dick Jaspers, Dani Sánchez, and Marco Zanetti were all undefeated.

Jaspers got past Maréchal, C.B. Lee and Martinez, Sánchez disposed of Hwang, J.T. Kim and Seo, and Zanetti dealt with Truong, Heo and D.R. Kim. Maréchal, Jun Tae Kim, and Jung Han Heo were the successful seconds in these groups.

Group D, the “group of death”, had four formidable players, and the survivors were Haeng Jik Kim and Nikos Polychronopoulos. Sidhom and M.J. Cha won group E, Sayginer (also three wins) and Merckx qualified from Group F.

Bao Vinh Phuong, a new rising star from Vietnam, was the surprise winner of Group G, Blomdahl coming in second. Disappointment for Tasdemir in that group: he didn’t win a match. Wan Young Choi and Jeremy Bury finally, were the two advancing from Group H, with Martin Horn dramatically missing his ticket in the final minute of his third match.

Zanetti had the high general average of the day: 2.181. Sánchez produced an 18, the high run of the event so far.

Tomorrow’s last 16 matches:

Marco Zanetti – Gwendal Maréchal

Wan Young Choi – Jun Tae Kim

Haeng Jik Kim – Myeong Jong Cha

Semih Sayginer – Nikos Polychronopoulos

Dick Jaspers – Jeremy Bury

Phuong Vinh Bao – Eddy Merckx

Sameh Sidhom – Torbjörn Blomdahl

Dani Sánchez – Jung Han Heo


Seoul, August 25th, 2022.

Day 4.

The final day of qualifications in South Korea was full of emotion. Happiness and heartbreak, close finishes and comebacks: it is sometimes not easy to be a billiard player.  

Quite a few players with big names missed out on the main draw: Forthomme, Sung Won Choi, and Ceulemans, to name just a few. Others, like Jorissen, had one toe over the line already but still couldn’t qualify. Maréchal joined the last 32 as third-best runner-up, with the same average and the same high run, and the same second high run as D.A.C. Nguyen. Former multiple junior world champion Myung Woo Cho struggled but made it. Jun Tae Kim and Polychronopoulos looked strong.  

The group winners on Thursday:

Jun Tae Kim 2.051

Choong Bok Lee 1.860

Nikos Polychronopoulos 1.860

Ji Un Ahn 1.777

Jun Hyuk Son 1.509

Duc Anh Chien Nguyen 1.500

Phuong Vinh Bao 1.454

Wan Young Choi 1.403

Lütfi Cenet 1.358  

Myeong Jong Cha 1.326

Myung Woo Cho 1.305

Min Suk Kim 1.066.

The three runner-up spots:

Quang Hao Truong 1.833

Bong Joo Kwang 1.710

Gwendal Maréchal 1.500


It all resulted in these main draw groups:  

A)  Jaspers, Maréchal, C.B. Lee, Martinez

B)  Sánchez, J.T. Kim, C.H. Seo, B.J. Hwang

C)   Zanetti, J.H. Heo, D.R. Kim, Q.H. Truong

D)  Q.C. Tran, Polychronopoulos, H.J. Kim, M.W. Cho

E)   Sidhom, Coklu, J.H. Ahn, M.J. Cha

F)   Merckx, J.H. Son, Sayginer, Cenet

G)  Tasdemir, Blomdahl, P.V. Bao, D.A.C. Nguyen

H)  Bury, Horn, W.Y. Choi, M.S. Kim 


Seoul, August 24th, 2022.

Day 3.

The golden generation of European 3-cushion giants still holds most of the spots in the top-10 of the world ranking, but the Asians are preparing to take over. On the second level, Europe’s younger players simply can’t keep up. 

On day 3 of the UMB World Cup in Seoul, the PQ matches again had 16 groups, and 12 of those were won by a player from South Korea, Vietnam, or Japan. Gwendal Maréchal from France, Arley Castrillon from Colombia and two Turks, Turgay Orak and Berkay Karakurt, prevented a clean sweep. Veteran Tatsuo Arai from Japan should be mentioned with honor: he will be 70 years old soon.

Phuong Vinh Bao from Vietnam had the day’s high average: 2.000. Ji Un Ahn from Korea was not far behind with 1.875. Xuan Cuong Ma from Vietnam produced the high run with 11.


Today’s qualifiers:

Phuong Vinh Bao 2.000

Ji Un Ahn 1.875

Turgay Orak 1.666  

Min Suk Kim 1.621

Quang Hao Truong 1.578

Jun Hyuk Son 1.538

Meyong Jong Cha 1.463

Bong Joo Hwang 1.333

Berkay Karakurt 1.276

Tatsuo Arai 1.276

Ja In Kang 1.224

Arley Castrillon 1.200

Gwendal Maréchal 1.153

Hong Chiem Thai 1.111  

Xuan Cuong Ma 1.094

Kyung Baeg Kim 0.895  


Seoul, August 23rd, 2022.

Day 2.

Jin Youl Kim shines in PPQ-round: 2.222

Another round, another rise in the level of play. Today’s PPQ in the UMB Seoul World Cup had sixteen group winners with only two of them averaging under 1.000. That’s a good indication of the high level of play, even this early in the tournament.

Jin Youl Kim (S. Korea) was the best of all the winners: he needed only 27 innings for 60 points, resulting in a 2.222 average. Quite a few seeded players would not be ashamed of that. Phuong Vinh Bao (Vietnam) also made a strong impression with a 1.666 average. He recorded the best match of the day (30 in 9).

Two great talents should be mentioned: young Burak Hashas from Turkey played two excellent matches but he couldn’t stop Chi Yeon Cho from winning the group. Ji Eun Han, the young lady who won the Ladies’ event in New York a few years ago, did manage to win her group so she will advance to the PQ. 


The winners of the day:

Jin Youl Kim 2.222

Phuong Vinh Bao 1.666

Kyung Baeg Kim 1.617

Sung Ho Park 1.538

Chi Yeon Cho 1.363

Jun Hyuk Son 1.224

Min Suk Kim 1.224

Seong Hun Kim 1.132

Muammer Rahmet 1.132

Tae Hee Lee 1.111

Volkan Goksu 1.090

Tae Hyeong Na 1.034

Jae Moon Kim 1.018

Arley Castrillon 1.018

Hannuri Kim 0.909

Ji Eun Han 0.876 


Lausanne, August 22nd, 2022

Day 1,

South Korea welcomes its 18th World Cup.  Home country dominates the opening day.

On the first day of qualifications (pppq) in the UMB Seoul World Cup, the South Korean players won no fewer than fifteen of the sixteen groups. Astonishingly, eight players with “Kim” as their last name advanced to the next round.

Min Suk Kim was the best, in terms of average. He ended on 1.764 after his two matches. Ju Yeong Kim finished with less than half that: 0.769, but it was good enough to qualify.

Volkan Goksu from Turkey was the only non-Korean group winner. He averaged 0.948. 

 The best finishers of the day will advance to the ppq:


Min Suk Kim 1.764

Jin Youl Kim 1.428

Jae Moon Kim 1.304  

Hannuri Kim 1.136

Jung Sub Kim 1.132

Kwang Hyun Kim 1.090

Sung Ho Park 1.052

Tae Hyeong Na 1.034

Volkan Goksu 0.948

Dae Woong Lee 0.937

Chi Yeon Cho 0.935

Han U Lee 0.895

Yeon Cheol Yeong 0.823

Kyung Baeg Kim 0.821

Yong Pyo Lee 0.810  

Ju Yeong Kim 0.769

From 22 – 28 August, the fourth World Cup tournament of 2022 will be played in Seoul, South Korea. The first three editions took place in Ankara (Turkey), where Jaspers won, Las Vegas (USA), again Jaspers, and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Merckx the winner. Following Seoul, the remaining World Cups of 2022 will be played in Veghel (Netherlands) and Sharm El Sheik (Egypt).

Experience teaches us that major 3-cushion events played in South Korea tend to be high-quality. Not just the main tournament: the qualification stages of Korean World Cups have a reputation of being tough to survive. Short matches, many talented players, anything can happen. This will be the 18th time a World Cup is hosted in South Korea, the first having been played in 1991 (Raymond Ceulemans won), the 17th  played in 2019 (Eddy Merckx won). Only twice has a Korean World Cup been won by a Korean player. 

As usual, the qualification event is fully signed up. No fewer than 30 players from “neighboring” Vietnam have inscribed, as well as 23 from Turkey and 16 from the home country, not counting the reserve list. There are 10 players from Japan taking part, which is a good and hopeful sign for this nation with its wonderful 3-cushion history. Therese Klompenhouwer from the Netherlands and Gülsen Degener from Turkey will defend the ladies’ colors.   

The event will be played on Hollywood tables, Class-one TP5 Blue cloth, and with Dynaspheres balls. Prize money is 16.000 – 10.000 – 6.000 – 3.500 – 2.500 – 1.500 – 500, ranking points are 80 – 54 – 36 – 26 – 18 – 10 – 8.  

The seeded players are Jaspers, Sánchez, Zanetti, Q.C.Tran, Sidhom, Merckx, Tasdemir, Bury, Horn, Sayginer, Blomdahl, Coklu, H.J. Kim, J.H. Heo. The UMB/CPB wildcard was given to Luis Martinez, the two organizer wildcards went to Chang Hoon Seo and Dong Ryong Kim.

All matches can be viewed on YouTube with English commentary; just go to the Five & Six channel.