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Stroke of Genius

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Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions

U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships

Player: Jim Rempe
Event: U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
Date: September 20, 1998

The late 1990s, leading into the new millennium, was an interesting time in men’s professional pool. Many of the stars who had been slugging it out atop the game since the ’80s were battling with a new generation of stars, many of whom were coming from overseas. The 1998 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships hosted its share of killer matches pairing the old guard against the new. On the one-loss side, with just four players remaining, Jim Rempe, an American legend with major titles in many disciplines, faced Mika Immonen, at the time an up-and-coming 25-year-old Finnish import.

Rempe was leading, 9-7, in the race-to-11, when Immonen put him in the difficult position show in the diagram. The cue ball was near the 2, forcing Rempe to have to kick at the 1 for a legal hit. A long kick at the 1 off the bottom rail toward the top left corner was problematic, thanks to the 7 ball.

Rempe took a minute to visualize a two-rail kick off the top and left long rail. In the case of a literal long shot, he saw a full hit on the 1 would send it diagonally down table toward the 9, which was sitting a few inches from the bottom right corner.

For added difficulty, Rempe had to use the bridge thanks to the problematic location of the cue ball. But with a short, punchy stroke, King James rattled the cue ball around the top left corner with plenty of speed as it hit the 1 ball nearly full. The 1 sprinted across the table and clipped the right side of the 9 ball at the perfect angle to send it into the corner pocket.

But this battle wasn’t over with Rempe on the hill. The young gun fired back and Immonen banked in the 9 in the case game for an 11-10 win. But the old guard would have the last laugh at the event, with Buddy Hall knocking off Tang Hoa in the final to take the championship.

(Video clip provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions.)

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