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Carrom History

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Carrom is a tabletop game with resemblances to snooker or billiards, and also the more modern games of subbuteo and air hockey.


Carrom is played by propelling discs with the fingers with the aim of potting them into one of four corner pockets on a wooden playing board. Some variations of Carrom use small cues to play with but mostly carrom is played simply with the hand and no special equipment save the board and the playing discs which can be as simple as coins or bottle tops. Carrom is most widely played in India but is becoming more and more popular in the West.


Alternative names for carrom include finger billiards, caroom, caroms, carrum, couronne, carum, karam, karom, karum and, fatta (the Punjabi name ). There are also many similar games played world wide that may have their roots in carrom. These include crokinole, pitchnut, pichenotte and novuss (also called karoona) all of which are played with cues both in the USA and Northern Europe


The game of carrom is believed to have originated from the Indian subcontinent . Little is known about the game’s exact origins prior to the 19th century but it is believed that it has been played in various forms possibly since antiquity. There is a theory that carrom was invented by the Indian Maharajas. The Indian Maharajas have also been credited for the invention of polo, badminton and hockey so it is possible that they are also responsible for the game of carrom but there is no concrete proof of this. It is more likely that carrom has been played in India for hundreds of years but had never been documented.>


Some people believe that carrom originates from Portugal and became popular throughout their vast empire in India and Asia during the 19th century.

Another theory puts the origins of carrom much earlier. Similar boards have been found in Ancient Egypt and there are references to a similar sounding game found in ancient Greek literature.


The Indian subcontinent – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri lanka are the countries where carrom is most popular and widely played today but carrom is also played further afield.


Carrom is also played all over the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Yemen and throughout Asia in countries as diverse as Afghanistan and Nepal.


Carrom is popular in Indonesia and Malaysia and some Chinese provinces. As far away as Fiji there is a popular game called Vindi vindi that has a great many similarities and may be linked to carrom


Carrom is also played in the USA and Scandinavia. There are some versions of carrom where a cue instead of the hand is used to propel the pieces however the finger version has gained precedence over the cue game in the USA in recent years.

Carrom is also popular in Australia where it is sometimes known by the trade name Puckpool after a version of Carrom was introduced in the 1990s.


The International Federation of Carrom was started in 1988 in Madras India,( now called Chennai). Carrom is most widely played in India where the game is more popular than in any other country in the world. The Indian international championship regularly attracts more than 10 million players each year. The IFC arrange tournaments and matches throughout the year and throughout the World and are the governing body of the game – a carrom equivalent of the football governing body FIFA!


Outside India there are many international competitions including the Carrom World Cup held in different locations every year, and also a European Carrom Cup attracting players from around the world It may be surprising to learn that Carrom is played by both men and women throughout India and Asia and that the 2008 winner of the Carrom World Cup was a 24 year old Chennai woman called Ilavazhagi.


The history of carrom is sketchy and remains largely unknown however it seems likely that the future of carrom will be more assured as this fascinating game continues to rise in popularity across the UK and throughout Europe and the USA.

Carrom is an absorbing, simple and unique game that combines physical dexterity and mental ability which can be played and enjoyed by everyone, anywhere and at any level.