Happy New Year.

The professional circuit is entering a busy period with three major tournaments to be staged in the space of five weeks.

The Saga Insurance Masters kicks off on January 14 at its new home, the Wembley Arena, round the corner from the now demolished Conference Centre.

A quick stop off at Prestatyn to whittle down the field for the Beijing Open and it’s off to Portomaso for the Malta Cup, the 200th world ranking tournament ever staged, which gets underway on January 28.

Then it’s back to the UK for the Welsh Open in Newport, starting on February 12.

Bearing in mind there was a nine-week gap between the season’s first two tournaments – the Northern Ireland Trophy and Royal London Watches Grand Prix – such a productive January/February will be welcomed by the game’s leading players.

After the 888.com World Championship prelims have produced 16 qualifiers for Sheffield, it’s off to China for the newly named Beijing Open at the end of March.

And then, of course, in April comes the Big One at the Crucible. How soon it comes round!

The following are the known dates for professional snooker events this coming year. There will be more to be added later.

The dates and venues are provisional and could change. For dates of all amateur events, go to http://www.globalsnookercentre.co.uk/.

2006/07 season:
January 6-8: Welsh Open qualifiers (Prestatyn)
January 14-21: Saga Insurance Masters (Wembley)
January 23-26: Beijing Open qualifiers (Prestatyn)
January 28-February 4: Malta Cup (Portomaso)
February 12-18: Welsh Open (Newport)
February 22-March 4: 888.com World Championship qualifiers (Prestatyn)
March 13-14: 888.com World Championship final qualifying round (Prestatyn)
March 25-April 1: Beijing Open (Beijing)
April 21-May 7: 888.com World Championship (Sheffield)

2007/08 season:
October 6: Pot Black Cup (London)
October 13-21: Royal London Watches Grand Prix (Aberdeen)
December 3-16: Maplin UK Championship (York)

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