The China Open deserves to be regarded as more than just a warm-up for the Betfred.com World Championship but its slot in the calendar hardly helps its cause.
There’s been two months between the Welsh Open and the Beijing event but only two weeks between China and the Crucible.
Playing well at the China Open is no guarantee of success in Sheffield. The last player to win the final ranking event before the World Championship was John Higgins in 1998. He captured the British Open and then the Big One a few weeks later.
This year’s China Open is sponsored by Sanyuan Foods, a huge company, and the players will be treated to a red carpet opening ceremony on Sunday.
Peter Ebdon defends the title he won against the formbook a year ago when he emerged from a serious slump to beat Higgins 10-8 in the final.
Some players in the field haven’t had a competitive game for over two months, Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby included.
Others, such as Tony Drago, have been enjoying success in the qualifiers while a number of players will end their seasons in Beijing rather than at the Crucible.
The first prize is a not inconsiderable £55,000.
Eurosport’s live coverage starts at 7.30am UK time on Monday with Mark Davis v Tian Pengfei in the wildcard round.