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55152.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:00 am Reply with quote

Is it possible to get into the Zone without relentless practice?

55154.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:04 am Reply with quote

I must admit that whenever I have any particularly good runs in hand-eye sports, I tend to put it down to everything that I have practiced coming together at once. In other worlds, this is how I would play all the time, if only I could cut out silly errors.

Maybe I've never been truely in the zone.

55177.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:50 am Reply with quote

Interesting point, Flash - some of the posts above suggest that zoneleyness is related to beginners’ luck. But what the precise relationship is, it’d be hard to say. Same goes for “form” or “touch” - can you have a spell in the zone during a time when you’re out of form?

55186.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:14 am Reply with quote

I think this Zone subject is quite promising, and the darts seem to be a good way into it. Mat, do you know exactly when the ruling body banned alcohol during competition? It's almost a Gen Ig question, as the image of the sport to outsiders is so tied-in to pub culture.

55196.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:22 am Reply with quote

There are 2,432,902,008,176,640,000 (ie 20! (factorial)) different ways in which the numbers on a dartboard could be arranged. The one used is designed to penalise inaccuracy.

Maybe a question like this:

Q: How many ways are there to arrange the numbers on a dartboard?

could be relied upon to elicit the forfeit:

F: 180!

55197.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:29 am Reply with quote

Incidentally, the wiki has a slightly different version of the story Mat gave at the top of this thread:

An apocryphal tale relates that in 1908, Jim Garside, the landlord of the Adelphi Inn, Leeds, England was called before the local magistrates to answer the charge that he had allowed betting on a game of chance, darts, on his premises. Garside asked for the assistance of local champion William "Bigfoot" Anakin who attended as a witness and demonstrated that he could hit any number on the board nominated by the court. Garside was discharged as the magistrates found darts, indeed, to be a game of skill.

ie they have the landlord as this fellow Garside, not Anakin himself.

Incidentally, the name Anakin may get us into the Zone topic by the back door, what with Anakin Skywalker and the Force and all.

55200.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:34 am Reply with quote

The rules relating to smoking and drinking are BDO playing rules 28 and 29 respectively, though I can't find them at present.

55201.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:37 am Reply with quote

The motto of the International Dart Players Association is:
You cannot play darts without dart players

55203.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:42 am Reply with quote

What is almost certainly the definitive version of the story is given by the world’s leading darts historian, Patrick Chaplin, here
but unfortunately, it’s not terribly definitive at all. Not quite an unsupported legend, but not very supported. Enough for our purposes?

55204.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:45 am Reply with quote

BDO Playing Rule 10.02 says that:

All darts must be deliberately thrown, one at a time, by, and from, the player s hand. All darts must be thrown with the needlepoint aimed towards the face of the dartboard. If a dart is not thrown in this manner then the throw will be declared a foul throw and will not count in that respective leg, set, or match.

so it's illegal to chuck a handful of darts backwards over your shoulder and hope for the best.

55206.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:49 am Reply with quote

The version Mat links to is this:
Standard versions of the Annakin ‘trial’ go something like this:

One day in 1908 William ‘Bigfoot’ Annakin, a Leeds publican, stood before Leeds Magistrates’ Court to answer a charge of allowing a game of chance, namely darts, to be played in his establishment. Annakin duly turned up at Court clutching a Yorkshire Board and needing little encouragement from the officials, set about proving that darts was in fact a game of skill.

He did this by first landing three darts in the single 20 segment. The Magistrate then asked the Clerk of the Court to throw three darts, only one of which actually hit and stayed in the dartboard. Annakin then strode up and thudded three darts out of three into double top. The Magistrate was duly impressed and announced without further evidence that “This is no game of chance. Case dismissed!”

Indeed the facts in the case of William Annakin are never consistent and in fact it would seem that every darts writer who has ever put pen to paper about this important legal case has added a little embellishment of his own.

Here are the facts as revealed by my research.

The man in question, William ‘Bigfoot’ Annakin was not a publican at all. He worked in a forge in the Kirkstall Road, Leeds. Annakin was in fact the best darts and dominoes player in the Adelphi Inn, a beerhouse near to his place of work. When the landlord of the Adelphi, Jim Garside, was summoned to Leeds Magistrates’ Court to answer the charge of allowing a game of chance to be played on his premises, what better tactic than to take along the best darter you know?

Annakin’s grandson revealed to me in 1986 that there was, in fact, little drama in the courtroom. He told me, “My grandfather was not a publican but the best darts player around at the time and the landlord of the Adelphi got him to go to court to prove darts was a game of skill. The J.P’s [Justices of the Peace] asked him to place the darts in selected numbers and he duly obliged, proving it was a game of skill.

One printed version of the court ‘drama’ tells of ‘Bigfoot’ shooting three treble twenties to impress the bench. That indeed would have been impressive as the dartboard Garside would have taken with him was a Yorkshire Board which bore no trebles. (Indeed trebles would not appear on a dartboard until well after the Great War.)

So ‘Bigfoot’ Annakin left his mark on the history of darts. Unfortunately, apart from his grandson’s oral testimony, I am unable to prove that the court case ever took place. There are no newspaper reports of the case in any of the local newspapers published in 1908 and surprisingly the actual records of the Leeds Magistrates Court for the period January 1908 to December 1911 were, unaccountably, lost.

which is plenty good enough for me, especially if Stephen is made aware of the caveats.

55208.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:55 am Reply with quote

JumpingJack scuppered the professional game!

The 1970s and 80s were to be the “Golden Years” of darts because in 1988 the TV programme called “Not The 9’O Clock News” did a particularly vitriolic sketch on darts which put the players in a very bad light. The newspapers were quick to pick up on the aspect of heavy drinking portrayed and the press destroyed the image of the game. Attempts were made to clean up the image with players being told to drink water on stage on TV. Some players such as Jockey Wilson even started fitness campaigns but it was to no avail and in 1988 all ITV coverage of the game was scrapped and the BBC only screened the Embassy competition.

... where you'll also find an account of the fearful hoo-ha which subsequently broke out into a feud between the British Darts Organisation and the schismatic World Darts Council. The issue of whether or not to drink alcohol whilst competing seems to have been one of the sore points.

Last edited by Flash on Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:00 am; edited 1 time in total

55212.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:58 am Reply with quote

"Not the Nine O'Clock News" is still not a phrase one uses in polite darting company.

55216.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:11 am Reply with quote

The closest I can get to the date of the ban is that it was about 20 years ago. I'll keep looking.

55218.  Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:14 am Reply with quote

The Masons Arms, Pudsey, Leeds

Who's the thirstiest arrow thrower?
There's no doubt at all that Cliff Lazarenko is something else. He can drink six to eight pints before a game and finishes it with ten down him. You can't drink on the oche, only in the commercial breaks, and during the game he'll fit in another two. But in all the time I've seen Cliff drinking, I've never seen him drunk. Not even at three in the morning. ...

Could you hit double-top yourself, say, for a crisp tenner?
I'm fairly reliable. I'd say summat between the end of pint two and start of pint four I get better. That's the thing with darts, a certain amount of drinking makes you throw without any inhibitions and relax. It's a great game to play socially with lasses and that. People suddenly find they can throw with a few beers.

You're renowned for nonsensical one-liners, like "he's as happy as a penguin in a microwave". Where do you dig up such gems?
I think I have a totally lateral mind. The BBC have commentators like John Part and Tony Green who, to me, are one-dimensional. I'm well-read and I try to do something to change the darts from being monotonous. I've no idea where the penguin came from, but they normally like it cold.

Are there any obscure rules we should know about?
Oh yeah. I was once sent a copy of the BDO rules, which stated: "Section 57 (A): Only members of the Sikhs will be allowed to wear hats." That really tickled me. The way it was phrased, it sounded as though they thought the Sikhs were a working men's club.

Do the men in suits ever enforce rules like that?
One rule I've seen enforced was, "Trousers of the jeans type will not be allowed on the stage level of televised tournaments." Live on Grandstand in 1980, a milkman from the West Country wandered off for a pint, and returned to play in the quarter-final of the British Open on stage in jeans. So they de-trousered him. They held him upside down, de-jeaned him and had him re-trousered. They used his friend's trousers, who was unfortunately five stones heavier than him. The kid had to play with one hand holding them up.


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