World Snooker Championship: Wikis


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The World Snooker Championship, held at the Crucible Theatre in the English city Sheffield, is the climax of snooker's annual calendar and the most important snooker event of the year in terms of prestige, prize money and world ranking points. The current champion is John Higgins.



The World Snooker Championship Trophy

The first championship was held in 1927 and Joe Davis helped to organise the event. Matches were held at various venues, and the final took place at Camkin's Hall, Birmingham. Joe Davis won the event, beating Tom Dennis 20-11. His prize money was £6.10s. The highest break of the tournament was 60 by Albert Cope.

In subsequent years, finals were held at various venues. Joe Davis won every year until 1940. Despite an upsurge in interest in snooker there were only two entrants for the 1931 professional championship. The event was staged in the back room of a Nottingham pub, owned by Tom Dennis. The fact that he was playing on his own table didn't help as Joe Davis ran out a 25-21 winner for his fifth consecutive victory.

In 1940, Joe Davis just beat his younger brother Fred 37-36. No tournaments were organised during the remaining war years, and it only resumed in 1946 when Joe Davis won again for the 15th time, a record that still stands. Joe Davis never contested the world championship again, though he continued to play professional snooker. Some have speculated that he did not want to risk losing his unbeaten record.

Walter Donaldson won in 1947, but it was Fred Davis who dominated the next few years, winning it three times in 1948, 1949 and 1951.

In 1952, as a result of a disagreement between the governing bodies (the Billiards Association and Control Council), and some of the players, two tournaments were held. The World Matchplay, organised by the players and widely viewed as the "real" world championship, continued until 1957. The BA&CC event only lasted one year. Meanwhile the 'official' world championship did attract two entrants in 1952, Horace Lindrum (Australia) beating New Zealander Clark McConachy – and it is Lindrum's name that is inscribed on the familiar trophy.

Snooker then went into a period of decline, and no tournament was held between 1958 and 1963. In 1964 it was revived on a challenge basis, a format which lasted until 1968. This meant that matches took place on an irregular basis, sometimes more than once a year. John Pulman completely dominated during this period, overcoming all challengers in a total of seven matches.

The championship reverted back to a knockout tournament in 1969. That year it was won by John Spencer, but it was Ray Reardon who was to dominate over the coming years, winning six times between 1970 and 1978.

1976 was the first year the championships were sponsored by the cigarette brand Embassy. The following year, the event moved to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, UK, and the BBC started providing major television coverage. The Crucible provides a unique atmosphere to the tournament, both for spectators and live television viewers. The venue seats fewer than a thousand people with the front row of seats only a few feet from the players. This was about the time snooker started attracting very large television audiences, and for most fans the Crucible is synonymous with snooker. The most successful players at the Crucible are Steve Davis, who won six times in the 1980s, and Stephen Hendry, who won seven times in the 1990s. Recently, the tournament has been more open, with six different players winning in the 2000s. The most famous final occurred in 1985, when Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis 18-17 in one of the most closely contested matches of all time (see 1985 World Snooker Championship final for details). It finished at 00:19 but was superseded as the latest finish first by the 2006 final (00:52 BST), then the 2007 final (00:55 BST).

In 2004, the championship offered a total of £1,378,920 ($2,665,589) in prize money, including £250,000 ($483,274) for the winner and £125,000 ($241,637) for the runner-up. A further £147,000 ($284,165) was on offer for a 147 break, though no player achieved this.

Recent United Kingdom legislation has placed restrictions on tobacco advertising, including sponsorship of sporting events. Embassy had a special dispensation to continue snooker sponsorship until 2005. The Championship is currently sponsored by after pulled out of their five year sponsorship deal after three years.[1]

On 15 April 2009 the World Snooker Championship website announced that would be the new sponsor of the World Championship for the next four years.[2]

On 27 April 2009, it was confirmed that the World Championships would stay at the Crucible for at least another five years (until 2014).[3]


See also: List of world snooker champions

Top performers of the modern era

The 'modern' era is considered to start in 1969, when the championship reverted to a knock-out tournament format from a challenge format.
In the modern game, the best record is that of Stephen Hendry, who has won seven times to date. Steve Davis won six times in the 1980s, as did Ray Reardon in the 1970s.

Rank Name Nationality Winner Runner-up Semifinalist 147s Appearances
1 Stephen Hendry  Scotland 7 2 12 2 (1995, 2009) 24
2 Steve Davis  England 6 2 11 0 29
3 Ray Reardon  Wales 6 1 10 0 19
4 John Spencer  England 3 1 6 0 18
4 John Higgins  Scotland 3 1 6 0 15
6 Ronnie O'Sullivan  England 3 0 8 3 (1997, 2003, 2008) 17
7 Alex Higgins  Northern Ireland 2 2 7 0 19
8 Mark Williams  Wales 2 1 4 1 (2005) 13
9 Cliff Thorburn  Canada 1 2 6 1 (1983) 19
10 Peter Ebdon  England 1 2 4 0 18
11 Ken Doherty  Ireland 1 2 3 0 16
12 Dennis Taylor  Northern Ireland 1 1 5 0 21
13 Terry Griffiths  Wales 1 1 3 0 19
13 John Parrott  England 1 1 3 0 23
15 Joe Johnson  England 1 1 2 0 8
15 Graeme Dott  Scotland 1 1 2 0 11
15 Shaun Murphy  England 1 1 2 0 7
18 Jimmy White  England 0 6 10 1 (1992) 25
19 Eddie Charlton  Australia 0 2 8 0 21
20 Matthew Stevens  Wales 0 2 5 0 11
21 Gary Owen  Wales 0 1 2 0 7
21 John Pulman  England 0 1 2 0 11
21 Nigel Bond  England 0 1 2 0 15
24 Warren Simpson  Australia 0 1 1 0 4
24 Graham Miles  England 0 1 1 0 12
24 Perrie Mans South Africa South Africa 0 1 1 0 13
24 Doug Mountjoy  Wales 0 1 1 0 17
24 Mark Selby  England 0 1 1 0 5
24 Allister Carter  England 0 1 1 1 (2008) 7

Note: Active players are shown in bold.

General records and statistics

  • The greatest number of wins of all time is fifteen, by Joe Davis. This was in an era when there were few professional players and far fewer matches required to win, and is unlikely to be beaten.
  • The first 147 in the championship was achieved by Cliff Thorburn in 1983. Ronnie O'Sullivan (1997, 2003, 2008) and Stephen Hendry (1995, 2009) are the only players to achieve the feat more than once; they are also the only players to lose the match they were playing after scoring a 147. Jimmy White (1992), Mark Williams (2005) and Ali Carter (2008) are the other players to have made a maximum break at the World Championship.
  • O'Sullivan's maximum in 1997 was, at 5 minutes 20 seconds, the fastest ever recorded in the professional game.
  • Fergal O'Brien is the only player to score a century in his first frame at the Crucible, which he did in 1994.
  • Stephen Hendry was the youngest ever champion when he won in 1990 aged 21.
  • Surprise winners at the Crucible include Joe Johnson and Shaun Murphy, who won in 1986 and 2005 respectively against odds of 150-1 each, and Terry Griffiths, whose 1979 victory came in only his second professional tournament.
  • Jimmy White has reached six finals, but has never won. The closest he came was 18-17 in 1994 against Stephen Hendry, on his 32nd birthday.
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan is the only finalist in the modern era to have never lost in a final.
  • Ken Doherty is the only player to have won the world title at junior, amateur and professional level.
  • Stephen Hendry holds the record for the longest unbeaten run at the Crucible Theatre. He won the Championship every year between 1992 and 1996, and continued unbeaten until the 1997 final.
  • Since the tournament has been held at the Crucible only two players have successfully defended a world title: Steve Davis in 1984, 1988 and 1989, and Stephen Hendry 1993-1996. No player has successfully defended their first title in the modern era.

Media Coverage

BBC Coverage used to be hosted from its inception in 1976 until 2000 by David Vine with commentary by the like of Ted Lowe. Since 2000 the BBC Coverage has been hosted by Hazel Irvine or Ray Stubbs or more recently with Rishi Persad when Hazel or Ray are unavailable. Commentary is by a raft of ex-pros and current pros including Willie Thorne, Dennis Taylor, John Virgo, John Parrott, Steve Davis, Ken Doherty, Clive Everton, Terry Griffiths and Neal Foulds. The BBC will continue to televise this event (along with three other tournaments) until 2011. IMG Media (initially as TWI) have produced the BBC's Snooker coverage since 1998.

Eurosport also provide coverage of the event.


External links

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