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James Warren "Jimmy" White MBE (born 2 May 1962) is an English professional snooker player. Nicknamed the "Whirlwind", White is a multiple World Championship finalist, appearing in six World Championship finals without ever winning the title - although he won the 1980 amateur World Championship, prior to turning professional later that year.

White is also a former World Doubles champion with Alex Higgins and won the World/Nations Cup three times with England.

Early life

White was born in Tootingmarker, Londonmarker, United Kingdommarker, and studied at Ernest Bevin Collegemarker. He never achieved academic success, as he was often truant from school from the age of eight or nine, spending more and more time at Ted Zanicelli's snooker hall. It was around this time that he met Tony Meo with whom he would compete in money matches in many venues. His natural aptitude for snooker led to a successful amateur career. After winning the English Amateur Championship in 1979, a year later he became the youngest-ever winner of the World Amateur Snooker Championship, aged 18.


With a host of major titles and achievements, including ten ranking tournaments, White's overall record ranks him well up the list of snooker's most successful players. The BBC describes him as a "legend". A left-hander, he reached the World Professional Championship Final on six occasions (1984, 1990-1994) but failed to win the sport's most prestigious title since his first attempt in 1981. Nonetheless, his consistency waned in the 2000s and a first-round defeat in the 2006 World Championship saw White drop out of the world's top 32 player rankings. White's continued slide down the rankings saw him drop to 65th but he recovered slightly to move up to no. 56 for the 2009-10 professional tour.

The World Championship has provided the theatre for White's greatest disappointments. In 1982, he led Alex Higgins 15-14 in their nip-and-tuck semi-final, was up 59-0 in the penultimate and a and away from the final. However, he eventually succumbed to Higgins' fightback. In the 1984 final he trailed Steve Davis 12-4 at the end of the first day's play, made a determined comeback, yet eventually lost by a margin of only 18-16.

In 1992, he led Stephen Hendry 12-6 and then 14-8. After Hendry pulled back to 14-9, White needed to only one red to win both the 24th and 25th frames, obstacles he could not overcome. After the deficit was reduced further to 12-14, White went when compiling a potentially frame-winning break. Hendry drew level at 14-14 without conceding a further and won the closely contested 29th and 30th frames to lead 16-14. Two completed Hendry's ten-frame winning streak and a remarkable 18-14 victory. White's defeat may be attributed to a combination of his own inability to secure crucial frames from winning positions, to an opponent who played his best snooker as White faltered, and, less importantly, to one or two instances of bad luck.

White also reached the final in 1993 but found Hendry much too strong: his 5-18 defeat was the second heaviest reverse in a final in the modern era. However, arguably his best chance came in the 1994 final, his fifth consecutive and third in a row against Hendry, with the final session taking place on White's 32nd birthday. White trailed 1-5 early on but recovered well to lead 9-7 and 11-9. Hendry again surged clear 15-13 and 17-16 but a break of 75 from White took the match to a decider. In the final frame, White was on a break of 29 and leading the frame by 37 points to 24. He then missed an easy black off its spot, after which commentator Dennis Taylor observed: "Dear me, that was just a little bit of tension". Had White potted the , he would have been required to pot only three more reds (with blacks) to leave Hendry needing penalty points to win. As it happened, Hendry cleared with a technically straightforward break of 58 to win the title. Gracious in defeat, White joked that Hendry was "beginning to annoy" him in the post-match interview.

White became the first player to beat Hendry twice at the World Championship, when he added a 1998 first-round win (10-4 after leading 7-0 and 8-1) to his 13-12 second-round success over Hendry ten years earlier. The feat has since been matched by Matthew Stevens and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

White is one of only six players to have completed a maximum break at the World Championship (1992). He has also compiled 253 competitive centuries during his career.

Rather than being deficient in any technical aspect of the game, for instance he is very proficient in using the rest, it is arguable that occasional moments of inconsistency or lack of concentration, particularly at critical points in a match, have cost White dearly. But for these, his record could have been even better. His improvement in the 2003-04 season also highlighted how tough a player White could be when he adopted a more disciplined approach and reined in his array of shots. As a result of this White achieved his first ranking title since 1992, winning the Daily Record Players Championship 9–7 against his good friend, the late Paul Hunter. This succeeded in silencing his critics and brought to an end a 12-year drought of ranking wins.

At the begining of the 2009/10 season White reached the final of the World Series of Snooker in Killarney, his 1st final since 2004, eventually losing 5-1 to Shaun Murphy. Provisionally No. 47 for the season it has seen White have a surprising return of form. His 2nd tournament of the season was the Sangsom 6-red World Grand Prix in Bangkok Thailand. White won the tournament, putting an end to his drought of titles by winning his first since 2004. On his way to the final he beat Shaun Murphy, defending champion Ricky Walden, Mark King and Mark Williams, eventually beating Barry Hawkins in the final 8-6. Only 1 month later in the Paul Hunter Classic he again reached the final, however this time lost to Shaun Murphy 4-0. Two months later on 18 October White reached the final of the World Series of Snooker in Prague, his fourth of the season. This time he was victorious, claiming his 2nd title of the season by defeating Graeme Dott 5-3.

Tournament Wins


Ranking Wins

Non-Ranking Wins

Team Wins




Personal life

In 1995 after a routine checkup with his doctor, white was diagnosed with testicular cancer after discovering a lump. He was operated on almost immediately and soon after given the all clear. He married Maureen White, and they have five children, Lauren, Ashleigh, Georgia, Breeze and Tommy. He currently lives in Oxshottmarker, Surreymarker.

Despite being best known for snooker, he is also a pool player. Along with Steve Davis and Alex Higgins, White was a member of Europe's victorious Mosconi Cup team of 1995, and won the deciding match against Lou Butera.

In the late 1990s, White's bull terrier, Splinter, was dognapped and held for ransom. Splinter became the first dog to have a colour poster on the front page of The Times. White paid the ransom and Splinter was returned to him. Splinter went on to live for another three years.

In 1999, he was awarded an MBE. Coincidentally, the three players to have beaten him in the world finals (Davis, 1984; Hendry, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994; Parrott, 1991) have also received an MBE. A keen poker player, he won the second Poker Million tournament, held in 2003, which also had Steve Davis at the final table. He is also good friends with professional poker player Dave "The Devilfish" Ulliott.

In November 2007, his father, Tommy White, died aged 88. With his daughter Lauren Albert, White is a director of Jimmy White Ltd, which had a turnover of £180,359 in 2006.

White has been a fan of Chelsea Football Club since 1972.

On 11 November 2009 it was officially announced by ITV (after much speculation and rumour) that Jimmy would be appearing in the 9th series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! to start on the 15th. On 26 November 2009, White was selected as one of the bottom 3 contestants awaiting an outcome whether he will be booted out of the series or not. The outcome was decided by the British Public and announced on 27 November 2009, as of Jimmy White remained in the competition.


White had a cameo role as himself (as the World Billiards Champion) in Stephen Chow's 1990 kung fu and billiards comedy film, Legend of the Dragon.

On the popular BBC game show Big Break, White was the first player to clear the table with 3 reds still remaining in the final part of the challenge (thus winning the top prize for the contestant he was playing for). He was introduced to the studio audience on each appearance with the song "Jimmy Jimmy" by The Undertones.

In the film Jack Said (a prequel to Jack Says) Jimmy played the part of Vic Lee, a dodgy snooker club owner, in his first major film role for British cinema.

In popular culture

Jimmy White has endorsed four computer games: Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker, Jimmy White's 2: Cueball, Jimmy White's Cueball World, and Pool Paradise. These computer and video games have been released for numerous machines, from 8 bits up to second-generation consoles and mobile phones, including the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Sega Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy Color, Sony PlayStation, Playstation 2, Dreamcast, Xbox, and PC platforms. In June 2007, he was contracted to the online billiard website Play89.

Comedian Bill Hicks namechecked Jimmy White in some of his comedy routines about a trip to England, where whilst trying to find out more information about the L.A.marker riots in 1992, all there was on television was Jimmy White playing snooker. Hicks, so annoyed that White was always on the box, famously quipped, "Does the man not have a home to go to?".


Further reading

External links

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