Snooker bosses have paid tribute to a Brazilian “legend” who six-times world champion Steve Davis once said gave him one of the most exciting matches of his life.
Rui Chapeau, who was best known as “Rui the Hat”, passed away at the end of February according to online reports.
Mr Chapeu won’t be too familiar to many snooker fans around the world but he was well known to six-times world champion Davis who battled against him in the 1980s when he was promoting snooker around the world as the sport’s star player.
Time 24 News reports Mr Chapeu died in Sao Paulo aged 79 after suffering a heart attack.
Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), tweeted: “I’m very sorry to hear that the Brazilian Snooker Legend Rui the Hat has passed away. Our thoughts are with Rui’s close friends and family.”
World snooker chairman Barry Hearn responded to the tweet by calling Mr Chapeu ‘a legend’.
In his autobiography called ‘Interesting’, Davis recalls how he came face to face with the Brazilian while touring the country to promote snooker in the 1980s when he dominated the sport.
However, when meeting Mr Chapeu, Davis learned of a different version of snooker.
A passage from the book reads: “The deal was quickly done and so we flew out to more uncharted territory to basically have another holiday while I played some random player, who we presumed, would probably struggle to make a break of 30.
“How wrong were we? While the game was called snooker out there it was not snooker as such. All the colours may have been on their spots but there was only one red. The table was also a lot smaller and the pockets were very tight, making it impossible to play anything other than a slow roll along the cushion.
“The rules were so different I had effectively to learn a new game and new tactics. The partying would have to wait.
“Rui and I played in front of a crowd of around 1,000. He was an interesting character. He was about 20 years older than me and wore a white cap – probably to cover a receding hairline – and white trousers.
“Local folklore had it that Rui had never been seen without his cap and that he would only remove it if he was beaten on TV. So although there was no prize money on offer, the challenge to remove his cap was like a red rag to a bull. What could be under there?
“I had come out to Brazil for a holiday and yet I found myself in full competitive mood in a red hot atmosphere that would have given the Crucible a run for its money. In the end I was the victor with a couple of frames to spare. I remember it as one of the most exciting matches I had ever participated in even though technically it was not a snooker match.”