26.9.10

THUMBS UP FOR THE WORLD OPEN

So the final is between world champion Neil Robertson, who is to be snooker's eighth official no.1, and Ronnie O'Sullivan, the mercurial genius of the green baize.

The 12bet.com World Open did not, as some had predicted, turn into a lottery with shocks a-plenty. Quite the opposite in fact.

This tournament was a typical Barry Hearn gamble and, typically for Hearn, it worked.

He seems to have an innate knowledge of what people want...even when they don't realise they want it themselves.

It's been a week of great excitement in Glasgow.

Why? Because close matches are exciting and best of fives are always going to be close. Even when a player goes 2-0 up there is the feeling that the match is not over.

It's shown up just how stale the old best of nine frame format had become.

That's not to say best of nines should be scrapped. They remain the staple for tournaments outside the three majors.

I would also guard against a kneejerk reaction when it comes to meddling with the formats of the World Championship, UK Championship and Wembley Masters but thank goodness this new event was given a go.

Having one table was another correct decision. It made it a completely level playing field, unlike in many events when half the matches are played in cubicle conditions.

This summed up another Hearn ethos: I'll give you the chance, what you make of it is up to you.

What the week proved is that the best players respond well under pressure. That, coupled with their obvious skill, is why they are the best.

OK, some matches early on were not appealing but you get that under any format.

At least with best of fives if you don't like the first match another one will be along in a few minutes.

The SECC audience have got to see a variety of players rather than being lumped with two they may not take to.

Crowds built up to be very good in the last few days of the tournament.

I don't know what the BBC will do regarding this event next season. It will depend not just on ratings but other factors such as cost and scheduling.

But clearly the World Open has its place in the snooker calendar.

It must surely be back next season.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep. A very refreshing week.

Anonymous said...

One of the best tournaments in the last years! It would be nice to see this tournament next year at the same place with the same short distances.
Greetings from Germany to all!

Sonny said...

Absolutely agreed. I never thought it would be a lottery because every single frame has pressure involved and the big time players are the ones who stand up to the pressure. The fact prize money and ranking points were so high added to the pressure as well.

The UK and Worlds formats definitely should not be reduced on the back of the World Open though. Longer matches allow players the chance to reel off streaks of frames and show what they can do when given enough time to settle in and play. And obviously you have the slow burning nature of classic matches which the World Open doesn't allow.

But the World Open has been a huge success and long may it continue.

Ali said...

Superb tournament.
There is a poll on worldsnooker.com on people's thoughts of the world open. And currently, only 8% of people said they dislike it.
A stunning rate of approval.

Looking forward to the final now. The only thing I would have liked (as i stated in the other entry comment) was an earlier start time for the final. Starting at 7pm would have been better as it would finish somehwere in prime time. This would have been better for most.

P.S I want Robertson to win it all. If ronnie wins, get ready for a horrendously apathetic winners speech. "Meh, you know, I played alright. I've no confidence in my game but luckily the balls went in. It's been an alright week" blah blah blah.

Comon Neil.

Sonny said...

That has shot up to 51% since you posted then Ali!

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed it.

Ali said...

@sonny 7.12pm.

Lol, I knew that would happen. Let's wait till at least 5k people have voted before we get a representative percentage.

Anonymous said...

The poll isn't representative at all because you can vote more than once and someone has decided to make some mischief

Snooker Loopy said...

I totally agree!
It`s been a crazy, yet beautiful week and very entertaining for the snooker fans.
Looking forward to the big final!

Betty Logan said...

@Sonny

I agree about not reducing the frames in the WC, but the UK really is a tournament showing its age. The multi-session format just doesn't work anymore outside of the world championship, the tournament doesn't carry enough prestige to sustain the interest of the casual viewer across sessions. I think the best approach for revitalising the UK would be to play single session best-of-13's, and maybe start evening sessions an hour earlier at 6pm.

So Parrott's comments that the final should be best-of-5, and we should have had three matches in the afternoon? Anyone think he's right? I know it's traditional to have a longer final, but the best-of-5 format has been so ingrained in the success of this event I can't help but feel that finishing off with a best-of-9 betrays the format a bit.

Ali said...

It's true about the Poll on world snooker. You can vote multiple times. And cleary some sad bitter person is sitting there voting over and over for "didnt like it". lol. How sad.

Thats another thing worldsnooker needs to do when they get a new website. Sort out the polling software so it remembers peoples ip adress and can only vote once.

Anonymous said...

It's about time all tournaments were shortened. Nobody wants to see best of 19 frame matches any more. The sooner we can get best of 5 frames as the standard, including for the world championships, the better for the game as a whole.

Sonny said...

Jesus - now Ronnie is touting a shorter World Championship. That's not too bad coming from someone who thinks Power Snooker is the future, but Steve Davis was agreeing with him! If they change the format of the Worlds life will never be the same again and I will resent whoever changes it until the day I die!

Betty - fair comment about best of 13's for the UK. I like the UK format, 2 session matches best of 17 are good and it's a format I'd personally like to see used in other events. Maybe best of 13 is too much for one session especially on television where it could last 4 hours or more. In a way best of 17 would seem shorter and easier to digest.

I'm really not liking all this short attention span band wagon jumping though. You can't beat a good multiple session snooker match for drama and excitement. This sprint event is great, but one thing it doesn't mean is the other events should follow suit, that's missing the point entirely.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with JP & Betty Logan.

Here's my tuppence worth, how about a 3rd/4th place match, followed by the final - both best of 5's.

I am a clever boy... at 9.17 Dave ;o)

kildare cueman said...

Great tournament. I think the new format was exciting and refreshing.

Its important though, not to try and replicate this format for other events or it, like the best of 9, will also become jaded.

The format should become associated with the same tournament, same spot in the calendar, and hopefully, same sponsor and broadcaster.

This will give it a unique sense of identity which will make it easy to market and go a long way towards establishing what Hearn was keen to do in the first place, - take the "sameness" out of events.

Anonymous said...

DH

I doubt you saw it but a somewhat wooden Stephen Hendry spoke in front of camera for the BBC during the interval.
It was all based on Hendry believing his ranking should stand all season and it finished by saying he had made the first ranking "cut" and will play in The Masters in Feb.
Should anyone cater for Hendry who is unlikely to win again?
Hendry seems to still believe the rankings are about individuals rather than the good of the game.
Didn't come over all that well IMO.

CHRISK5 said...

We've discussed many times on the blog before about the formats of the majors.

The consensus is usually,to shorten (only slightly) the earlier rounds of the World Champs,
have a best of 25 Semis,but keep
the showpiece Final as it is.

The UK Champs is an interesting conundrum with varied opinions,
I would like to see the earlier rounds reduced to best of 11,
have the Semis at best of 17 &
the Final lengthened again to
best of 25 or 31.

The Masters format is definetly fine as it is - only a more relaxed dresscode is all that can be added there.

I think the World Open format could be mimmicked in some of the
other ranking events - maybe
the Welsh Open & German Masters could adopt the shorter format &
potentially the Wuxi Classic if it
becomes a ranker.

Maybe the China & Shanghai events
will be the only tournaments to maintain the basic,staple formula
of best of 9's mostly & 19 Final.

Ofcourse,all this conjecture will be on the table when the next
BBC contract for 2011/2012 onwards
is discussed for the majors.

Anonymous said...

Best week of snooker for a long long time, great matches, great atmosphere, great set up, great format and from an all world champion semi final line up, a deserving winner in Robertson. I just want to say that it shouldn't affect the format of the World, UK or Masters, it's the other events that need looking at. Hearn promised change and he delivered, if the BBC drop this event after this, someone in their sports department needs to be fired!!

Alpha

Ali said...

Great tourny.
Well done Neil. Really wanted him to win it.

And the format has been an unequivocal success. But remember, too much twenty20 cricket has become overkill. We must safeguard this and keep this at one tournament.

I'm also in agreeance with steve davis that a few frames can be chipped off the earlier rounds at the worlds. The first to 13s can become first to 10s. Nothing will be lost. But leave the quarter's, semi's and final the same.

CHRISK5 said...

So,Neil Robertson goes from strength to strength,to beat an
in-form Ronnie in any Final is a tough task - but 5-1 scoreline is
a huge statement - especially in
this shorter format that was tailor made for O'Sullivan.

Robbo may not fire in centuries
at will - but the allround package
is sublime total snooker,
every department of Robbo's game
is so,so solid - like
all great champions - he now has that superiority complex.

It's fair to say,the last few months,the balance of power has shifted - Robbo is now,without
a shadow of a doubt - 'the man'.

But,O'Sullivan & Mark Williams deserve great credit for their performances during the event too.

The ultimate winner this week was
Snooker - not to mention the cameo
role of the indestructable fly !!

John McBride said...

I love a couple of your quotes here Dave so let me copy them across in verbatim....

"He seems to have an innate knowledge of what people want...even when they don't realise they want it themselves"

An Art, that.

"This summed up another Hearn ethos: I'll give you the chance, what you make of it is up to you"

And haven't the players responded brilliantly on the table, showing character & personality without even knowing they were showing it. Just working, & us taking the delights of them doing so.

I read somewhere the other day again someone calling our game "Chess with Balls". I'd like to say on here please Dave that just because some of us who love & still play the game may have come out of 'seedy' working class clubs (which I personally found exciting & hasn't done me any harm,) that doesn't mean to say we are any less intelligent or less skilful when we leave the table.

If the powers that be can understand that, & growth with it, we're on another winner.

Betty Logan said...

I don't think the problem with the WC is the amount of snooker played over two weeks, it's the amount played over the second week. The first two rounds go on for 10 days and the finalist will only play 5 sessions during that period, and then another 11 sessions in 7 days. A third table would ease the gruelling back-end schedule - it's not like Sheffield Theatres only has one room! You could play the first and second rounds over the first 7 days which would mean you could have a day off before the final and finish it a day earlier on the Sunday (it's ridiculous that an international event adheres to the UK holiday calender!).

After all, if they introduce a 2 session format then basically all you've done is turn it into the UK Championship!

Anonymous said...

These shorter formats don't assist the bookmakers who now sponsor most events. Having a maximum of 5 possible frames shortens their profit potential in the frame scoring markets.

Trevor said...

dave an early indication what the beeb will do with this?.surely they will keep it after the tournament we just had.also i know people are sayins there was great crowds.what does the secc actually hold?, because it did not look that big on the tv.

Anonymous said...

trevor

the main part of that seating arena had 400 seats or so, though the secc can house much bigger arenas.

there was a couple of sections covered over which were not used until the last 2 days....they are obscured by the 2 main cameramen filming....if you include these sections, which the public werent meant to sit in originally, the arena set up held just over 500

Trevor said...

thanks anon 9.11.so really if there are only 400/500 seats it really should be full.the crucible only holds over 900 and people say that is to small.

kimball said...

Only Hearn knows what changes are up,
but with 20 rankingtournaments running it seems plausible that a lot
of tournaments will be partially
shortened in format and that goes
for qualifiers as well.
One table, roll on-off and three refs
running the whole show meant a lot
of money were saved.
Betting on Bet fair was intense and
probably much "upped" with the short format.
Wieing was good in Sweden and response to the format was very positive.I think the chinese would
very much appriciate the shorter
format.
Of all the matches run in WO, there
were maybe 15% that deserved a best
of nine, the rest were fine as it was.
Smurf and Selby probably suffer
over a short distance.

jamie brannon said...

Dave, how low would you go though with regards to frames? Or is this the limit?

I remember Phil Yates saying that the return of Pot Black in 2005 and 2006 was meaningless as a contest, I would agree.