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Candlepin bowling

Candlepin bowling is a variation of bowling that is confined to the New England states of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire and to the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It was developed in 1880 in Worcester, Massachusetts by a local bowling alley owner, Justin White. As in other forms of bowling, the players roll balls down a wooden pathway to knock down as many pins as possible. The main differences between candlepin bowling and the predominant ten-pin_bowling style are the facts that each player uses three balls per frame (see below), the balls are much smaller and do not have holes, the fallen pins ('deadwood') are not cleared away between balls during a players turn, and the pins are thinner, and thus harder to knock down. One of the results of these differences is that scoring points is rather more difficult than in ten-pin bowling, and the highest officially sanctioned score is only 243 out of a possible 300 points. (In ten-pin bowling, virtually every bowling alley has a list of people with "perfect games," meaning they have scored 300 points.)

A game of candlepin bowling is divided into ten rounds (called 'Frames'). In a frame, each player is given three opportunities to knock down the 'pins'. They roll their first ball at the pins. Whatever pins are knocked down are counted and scored. (If a ball rolls into one of the gutters that run along either side of this pathway -- called the 'lane' -- no pins will be knocked down, and no points will be scored.) Then the player rolls a second and a third ball at any remaining targets. In the event that all ten pins were knocked down with the first ball (a 'Strike'), they receive points and a bonus, and play passes to the next competitor. If all ten pins were knocked down with the second ball (a 'spare'), they also receive points and a bonus, and play passes to the next competitor. A player has no more than three balls to play in each frame, so even if they fail to knock over any pins, after they have taken three shots, play passes to the next competitor.

The ten candlepins are automatically set by machine into a triangle with 4 pins in the back row, then 3, 2, and finally 1 in the front, at the center of the lane. As in ten-pin bowling, due to the spacing of the pins, it is impossible for the ball to strike every one. However, while in ten-pin a well-placed ball (usually between the front pin and one of its nearest neighbors) will result in a strike from the chain reaction of pin hitting pin, in candlepin the smaller thickness of the pins makes that impossible. In general, a forcefully thrown ball hitting near the center of the pins will result in many pins being knocked down, but not all. In order to count, the pin must be knocked over entirely; in unlucky circumstances, a pin may wobble furiously, yet come to rest upright, thus not being scored.

Scoring

In general, one point is scored for each pin that is knocked over. So, in an imaginary game, if player 'A' bowled over 3 pins with her first shot, then 5 with her second, and 1 with the third, she would receive a total of 9 points for that frame. If player 'B' knocks down 9 pins with his first shot, but misses with his second and third, he would also score 9.

In the event that all ten pins were knocked over by any one player in a single frame, bonuses are awarded.

Example:
Frame 1, ball 1 - 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1 - 3 pins
Frame 2, ball 2 - 6 pins
Frame 2, ball 3 - 1 pin
The total score from these throws is: 10 + (3+6) + 3 + 6 +1= 29

A player who scores multiple strikes in succession would score like so:
Frame 1, ball 1 - 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1 - 10 pins (strike)
Frame 3, ball 1 - 4 pins
Frame 3, ball 2 - 2 pins
Frame 3, ball 3 - 2 pins
The score from these throws is:
  • Frame one... 10 + (10 + 4) = 24
Frame two... 10 + (4 + 2) = 16
Frame three... 4 + 2 +2 = 8
TOTAL = 48

A player who bowls a strike in the 10th (final) frame, is awarded two extra balls so as to allow for his bonus points. If both these balls also result in strikes, a total of 30 points (10 + 10 + 10) is awarded for the frame.
Example:
Frame 1, ball 1 - 7 pins
Frame 1, ball 2 - 3 pins (spare)
Frame 2, ball 1 - 4 pins
Frame 2, ball 2 - 2 pins
Frame 2, ball 3 - 1 pins
The total score from these throws is: 7 + 3 + 4(bonus) + 4 + 2 + 1 = 21

A player who bowls a spare in the 10th (final) frame, is awarded one extra ball so as to allow for his bonus points.

Example:
Frame 1, ball 1 - 7 pins
Frame 1, ball 2 - 2 pins
Frame 1, ball 3 - 1 pins
The total score from these throws simply is: 7 + 2 + 1 = 10

To correctly calculate bonus points can be a bit tricky, especially when combinations of strikes and spares come in successive frames. In modern times, however, this has been overcome with automated scoring systems, linked to the machines that set and clear the pins between frames. A computer automatically counts pins that remain standing, and fills in a virtual score sheet (usually displayed on monitors above each lane).

The maximum score in a game is 300 - a perfect game. This is scored by bowling 12 strikes: one for each frame, and a strike with both bonus balls in the 10th frame. In this way, each frame will score 30 points (see above - scoring:strike). As noted above, this has never occurred in candlepin bowling.

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