Carrom showdown coming to California!

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Hall in Santa Clara, California where the Carrom Tournament will be held in June. Photo: USCA

The 26th US Nationals Carrom Championship will be held from June 3rd-5th at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. Every year, more than 100 of the top Carrom players from around the United States and Canada congregate under one roof to compete in this prestigious tournament, and battle it out over a period of 3 days to be crowned as North America’s best in the sport.

This year’s tournament will feature more than 800 “high intensity” games including singles and doubles, and live coverage of key matches, a press release from organizers said.

The event is jointly organized by United States Carrom Association (USCA) and Bay Area Carrom Association (BACA, California regional chapter), and is sponsored by Sanjiv Gupta CPA and New York Life Insurance. Founded in 1995, USCA has been actively promoting Carrom in America for the last 26 years, by conducting regular major tournaments on US soil and fielding teams for the Carrom World Cup. USCA’s media partners, such as ITV Gold and Parikh World Media, have been very instrumental in raising awareness of the game throughout the U.S., organizers said.

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They believe that with the advent of Online Carrom and the recent proliferation of carrom content on social media, Carrom as a professional sport has seen a huge surge in popularity of late, making this year’s tournament a landmark one.

Saravanan Babu. Photo: USCA
Louis Fernandes. Photo: USCA
Ajay Arora. Photo: USCA

“In particular, all eyes will be on the holy trinity of North American Carrom – Saravanan Chandrababu of Cleveland (11-time champion looking to re-establish his supremacy), Louis Fernandes of Toronto (2-time champion and World No. 5, going for his hat trick win this year), and Ajay Arora of Pennsylvania (current US Rank No. 1 looking to bag his first National title),” organizers predicted.

The USCA and its chapters are registered 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, run by volunteers and is currently headed by a group of carrom enthusiasts and tech professionals who are keen on leveraging technology to take the game of Carrom to the next level.

Registration for the event is still open, further details can be found at https://tournaments.uscarrom.org/. Anyone legally residing in the US or Canada is eligible to participate, regardless of skill level. Visitors are welcome (must be fully vaccinated).

What is Carrom?

Carrom is a tabletop game common in households throughout the Indian subcontinent, which is now rapidly gaining popularity in Europe and North America. It is played on a 3ft x 3ft square “carrom board” lubricated with powder, and wooden discs known as “coins” that are sunk into pockets located at the corners of the board. Carrom can be best understood by comparing it with American 8-ball pool – there are 9 white and 9 black coins on the board (equivalent to pool’s solids and stripes), 1 red coin known as “queen” (equivalent to the 8 ball), and a larger and heavier disc known as “striker” (equivalent to the cue stick). Perhaps that’s why some call it “finger billiards”!

As an affordable and portable game that can be equally enjoyed by people of all ages, genders and physical abilities, carrom is played both as a family game as well as a professional sport. Competitive carrom, like chess, requires players to strategize, separate probabilities from possibilities, plan several moves ahead, and execute with perfection! An effective way to improve focus and hand-eye coordination, Carrom is particularly great for developing fine motor skills in children and young adults.

Playing carrom is shown to improve concentration, analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, and leads to children performing better in tests and academics. A “fun”, all-weather alternative to video games and TV, anyone?! With so much going on, no wonder it is estimated to be played by more people in the world than all forms of cue sports combined!

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