Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow
  1. sk says:

    O yes, can still remember in the early 70′s. Can say I am good but they are better players which can simply knock you out at 2 strikes. Quite a good game and you can apply the same principle on billiards & Snooker.

  2. S.Y. says:

    When I first entered the University of Singapore, I learnt of this game when I stayed in Raffles Hall. The game is reputed to originate in India. I learnt how to play the hard way – a senior law student invited me to play, at a price – loser pay for a piece of papaya or a piece of pineapple from the canteen of the hostel. I lost so much to this guy that he called me the papaya tree. Slowly and with practice, I learnt until he became the papaya tree. This was from 1964 to 1968.

    Basically, there is a board as shown in the photo. The board has to be smooth. Sometimes powder (Johnson powder?) is used and sprinkled on the board. Not too much as you will lose control. If the board is seasoned through constant use, it will be very smooth. In each corner of the board is a hole with a net at the bottom. There are nine black “seeds” and nine white ones. The seeds are the ones you use to play drafts. there is a “queen” which is red in colour. The object is to see who will pocket all his seed first. However, you have to pocket the queen to be followed with the pocket of your seed. You can do this at any time – if it is not opportune for you then you do not pocket the queen as your opponent may benefit from your pocketing the queen since the game cannot be ended before the queen is pocketed. If the queen is pocketed but not followed by your seed, then the queen has to come out and be placed in the centre. The player who pocketed all his seeds first wins the game (only after the queen has been pocketed irrespective of who pockets the queen).

    Easy? Not quite. First, only one hand (normally the right, unless you are a left hander) can be placed on the board. We use the index and third finger (or is it the second?) of the hand to move the striker to pot the seed though some use the thumb and the index finger. Two player sit facing each other. Notice the lines on each side? You cannot touch the seed if it touches the line the line. What you have to do is strike your striker on the opposing side and to hit your seed out. You can also use the angles to strike out your seed from behind the line. Any yes, you can play it as a double with your partner sitting opposite you and your opponents on your left and right. To start a game, one player hides a seed in the hand and the other will guess in which hand is the seed. If you guess correctly, you start the game. If not, you opponent starts the game.

    It is challenging and interesting to see how you can put your opponent’s seed (one will do as otherwise he can bring them out) behind his line. A good player can pocket the seed just by one strike. He may be able to pocket it sideways or across the board. Another good player may push your seed behind your line with the right power and precision. You cannot afford to make mistakes. A good player will be able to place his opponent’s seed exactly where he wants it to be placed so that the opponent cannot pocket the seed.

    It brings back pleasant memories since I was a reasonably good player but lost because my opponent “fluked”. Oh yes, fluking is very common. You hit a seed and unexpectedly the seed stood up and rolled to the hole. With the computer games nowadays, no one plays this game. It is similar to billiards, though the rules may be different.

      • S.Y. says:

        The last time I played was in the mid 1970s. Now a terrible player, worse than a beginner – aim is poor and lost touch in placing seeds where I want them to go, which are very important factors. I still have my striker for remembrance.

  3. Ngai C O says:


    Interesting as the game may seem, it does not appear to have caught on in popularity.

    This is the first time I came to know about the game.

    I suppose marketing has a lot to play with regards to the popularity of many games. Both Monopoly and Scrabble were at one time heavily promoted as Christmas presents with their neat presentation boxes. I do not know what has become of them.

  4. NCK says:

    A good carrom player needs strong fingers so that he can give powerful flicks and play for an extended period without tiring his fingers. This is why I wasn’t taken to this game. When I was in primary school, I only watched my friends play finger flicks as a way the winner of a game punished the loser. Flicks were executed with the receiver’s hand on a desk, fingers straight and closed and the third knuckles raised. The executer would then flick his finger, striking between the second and third knuckles of the receiver’s fingers to inflict pain.

    • S.Y. says:

      Not true that you need strong fingers NCK. It does not depend on strength. More on accuracy and control. There are times when you just want to move the seed to the spot where you want it.

    • NCK says:

      Well, I know control and accuracy are essential in the game. Sometimes I saw my friends did powerful flicks, for fun I suppose. I still think strong fingers are needed so that a player can endure long play times without compromising on his finger control.

  5. Mano says:

    Sorry, SY, but I agree with NCK. I used to play like everyday with my workmates a long time ago. One of them, a national rugby player, with his extra thick striker used to blast opponent seeds that were even teetering on the brink of the pocket off the board. This meant that the opposing player had only that one chance to pocket his seed. Leaving it in the vicinity of the pocket for a second attempt was only to see it blasted out and placed in the centre of the board again!

    • S.Y. says:

      Brute strength may help at the break when by “accident” one or two of your seeds may be potted. The object to win is not to pot as many as possible and you may be able to pot 8 of your seeds. To win, you have to convert, that is, to pot the red before you pot your last seed. This is the tricky part. When you potted your 8 seeds, your opponent may still have more seed than you on the board but he may still win the game and be able to convert before you. Carroms is not a game of chance. It is a game of strategy, skill and accuracy in placing your seeds and placing your opponent’s seeds in such a position that he cannot take it out. In that sense brute strength does not help.

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