The World Snooker Championship – Our Guide to One of Snooker’s Biggest Events
The Snooker World Championships get under way tomorrow, giving fans of the game seventeen days of action at the baize to enjoy. So what is this tournament and what are the players competing for?
The Snooker World Championships – A Brief History of the Event
Originally known as the Professional Snooker Championship, the World Snooker Championship has been taking place since 1927. There have been two periods during which it didn’t take place since then: 1941 – 1945 and 1952 – 1963. An unofficial alternative, the World Match-play Championship, was held between 1952 and 1957.
It’s one of the game’s three “majors”, along with the UK Championship and the Masters, and it’s a “Triple Crown” event. It began as a knock-out tournament, became a challenge tournament from 1964 to 1968, and then reverted to being a knock-out competition in 1969. This second knock-out period has become known as the tournament’s “modern era”.
The championship has been held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre since 1977. Global television coverage of the tournament means that it’s now watched by around 400 million people.
Previous Winners of the World Snooker Championship
The record for the most championship wins belongs to Joe Davis, who won the tournament fifteen times between 1927 and 1946, when he retired.
The player with the most wins to his name in the tournament’s “modern era” is Stephen Hendry, who won the famous silver trophy cup on seven occasions. Steve Davis and Ray Reardon fell just short of this, with six championship wins apiece.
Other players to have won the title include Ronnie O’Sullivan, Alex Higgins, Cliff Thorburn, Dennis Taylor, John Parrott and Mark Williams. Last year’s victor, Mark Selby, also won the title in 2014.
The Format of the Tournament
32 players take part in the championship. The previous year’s winner qualifies automatically and is seeded number one. Fifteen places are awarded to the world’s highest ranking players.
The remaining players gain their places via the World Championship Qualifiers. This year’s qualifying event took place at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge International Sports Centre from 05 April to 12 April.
The World Championship consists of two rounds, followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. Each round one match is played over two sessions and 19 frames. Nine frames are played in the first session and ten in the second.
Each round two match is played over three sessions and 25 frames (eight frames in the first session, eight in the second and nine in the third). The quarter-finals stage follows the same format as round two.
The semi-finals take four sessions to complete and are played over 33 frames. Eight frames are played in each of the first three sessions and nine frames in the fourth.
The final is played over four sessions too, but over 35 frames. Eight frames are played in the first session, nine in the second, eight in the third and ten in the fourth.
The 2017 World Championship – What Will The Winner Receive?
When the winner of this year’s tournament is announced, on Monday 2 May, not only will they become the sport’s new World Champion, they’ll also receive £375,000 of the competition’s £1,750,000 prize fund.
They’ll be presented with the elegant double-handed tournament trophy too – and their name will be engraved on its base for posterity.
Who do you think will win the Snooker World Championships this year? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, or in the comments section.