Russian pyramid

Russian pyramid

Russian pyramid, also known simply as pyramid ( _ru. пирами́да, "piramida") and often called Russian billiards ( _ru. ру́сский билья́рд, "russky bilyard"), is a cue sport that has several differences from Western pool, although game play is still dominated by attempts to Cuegloss|Pocket|pocket (Cuegloss|Pot|pot) balls. It is played in countries of the former Soviet Union and Finland, beside of it Finland has "national" billiard game, played with quite similar equipment.

Differences from other billiard games

*Table: even though sizes vary – including: 3.5 × 7 feet (198 × 99 cm); 4 × 8 ft (224 × 112 cm); 4.5 × 9 ft (254 × 127 cm); up to 6 × 12 ft (356 × 178 cm) – the official tournament size is the 12 ft model, the same size preferred for snooker, but much larger than a pool table (7 ft and 9 ft being the most common sizes for that style of game).
*Balls: there are sixteen balls, as in pool, but fifteen are white and numbered, and the cuegloss|cue ball|cue ball is usually red (or rarely yellowFact|date=August 2008). They are larger and heavier than Western billiard balls; the official tournament sizesFact|date=August 2008 (depending upon table size) are 68 mm (21116 in) or 72 mm (245 in).Cite web|url= |title=Russian Billiards||accessdate=2008-08-14|year=2007|author=editors] Smaller 60.3 (225 in) balls are available for the smaller table sizes, for amateur play.Fact|date=August 2008
*Pockets: the Cuegloss|Corner pocket|corner pockets are only 4–5 mm wider than the diameter of the ball. The central pockets 14–18 mm wider than the diameter of the ball. This makes the game's mechanics like an oversized version of snooker, and much more difficult than pool, requiring greater precision to pocket a ball.


There are several variations of Russian billiards, but the three most common are free (or "American") pyramid, combined (or Moscow) pyramid and dynamic (or Petersburg) pyramid. All games start with fifteen numbered white balls Cuegloss|Rack|racked in a pyramid, as in straight pool. The first player Cuegloss|Break|breaks the rack with the Cuegloss|Cue ball|cue ball from the Cuegloss|Baulk line|baulk line. The object of the games is to pocket eight balls to win the frame. In free pyramid at all times any ball may be used as a cue ball. In combined and dynamic pyramid only one ball is a cue ball. After pocketing the cue ball, the scorer must choose a white ball to be taken off the table. In combined pyramid, then the player places the cue ball in the baulk area. Balls can be pocketed in side and far corner pockets only. In dynamic pyramid, the player places the cue ball at any area of the table, but may not pocket the cue ball.


Since 2000, World Championships have been held for Russian billiards. The world governing body for pyramid, establishing published rules and equipment standards, is the International Pyramid Committee, with its largest affiliate, the European Pyramid Committee.

In popular culture

The so-called "American" version, free pyramid, adapts well to use in fiction because of its simple rules (i.e., the plot does not have to side-track into complicated gameplay explanation), and has featured prominently in notable Russian films such as "The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed" (1979) and "The New Adventures of the Elusive Avengers" (1968).


Finnish "kaisa"

"Kaisa" or "karoliina" is a Finnish "national" billiard game, that is a close cousin to Russian pyramid, as it is played with similar equipment (i.e. large balls and tight pockets). However, it is played with two white cueballs, one for each player, two red balls and a yellow ball, or "kaisa". A player must pocket a nominated ball, scoring points. Extra points are given from hitting other balls in addition to the target ball. All balls are spotted and the game is played to 60 points.

Russian pool

American-style pocket billiards (pool) balls have been adapted for use on Russian billiards tables, for playing eight-ball, nine-ball and other pool games. The balls are 68 mm (21116 in) in diameter, like those for pyramid, and thus much larger than the American-style balls they are patterned after "(as illustrated to the right)".


External links


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