Fair play to the organisers of Power Snooker. They have thrown considerable PR resources at the new innovation and it’s worked, resulting in an almost unprecedented amount of coverage in the newspapers for a new event.

Much of this has been misleading. Many journalists have claimed Barry Hearn is behind Power Snooker when in fact all he has done is sanctioned the event on behalf of World Snooker Ltd – and has elected not to personally invest in the company responsible for bringing it to our screens.

For a more sober view of Power Snooker, here’s Clive Everton in today’s Guardian.

My view of it is unchanged since it was launched. I think people should give it a chance. Despite what’s been written, it is not intended to replace traditional snooker.

It’ll most probably be a fun day for the players, spectators at the O2 in London and viewers on ITV4. Eurosport will also screen live coverage for those outside the UK.

But one of the negative by-products of the Power Snooker hype is the clamouring from apparently sensible players to shorten the World Championship.

As far as I’m concerned this is like saying 2+2 = 147.

For a start, Power Snooker hasn’t even been held and so can’t yet be described as a success.

Yet players like Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White have called for alterations to the Crucible format, ranging from the shortening of matches, a one day final and the introduction of a shot clock.

One player who disagrees is Mark Selby. Writing on his personal blog today, he said: “Short-format tournaments like Power Snooker are interesting and create a lot of buzz, which is good for the game. There has been some debate lately about the World Championships, with some players saying the final should be shortened or the duration of the tournament reduced. I understand where they are coming from, but I don’t go along with it – it is what it is because it’s the World Championships.

“It’s the pinnacle of our sport and what makes it great is the test of duration over those 17 days. The only thing I would maybe consider is making the first couple of rounds a few frames shorter, and also starting the sessions in the final earlier than they do at the moment. Snooker fans love the game and I don’t think they are too bothered about how long the tournament goes on for, in fact, the longer they can see the top players in action, the better. No, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

What Selby has grasped is not just that the championship is supposed to be a proper test but that snooker’s great appeal is its slow burning drama and the capacity for fortunes to change over a longer distance.

Exhibit A: the 1985 world final.

Had that match been a best of 17 Steve Davis would have won easily, probably something like 9-1 or 9-2.

Had there been a shot clock would it have made the conclusion any more exciting?

There is room for innovation and different formats but people need to keep a sense of proportion.

The brains behind Power Snooker went out of their way at the launch to state that they were not trying to kill off traditional snooker, only to compliment it.

I agree with Selby that the odd tweak could be made to the Crucible format – the final should certainly start earlier – but a one day final? A shot clock?

I don’t think so.


Anonymous said...

absolutely spot on, Dave! Shot clock should be left for PL. If all tournaments had shot clocks and it was in the rules, it would be impossible to play snooker in clubs. The other player then would have to count 25,24,23 and so on in his mind and then go like 'beep,beep' when he got to five. Ridiculous.

Colin M said...

I totally agree with the Jester. Barring some minor tweaks, the World Championship format should stay as it is. It's a fantastic event on the British sporting calendar and it's a real test of endurance.

The one area that definitely needs attention is the timing of the last sessions of the final. There's now a wider international tv audience to consider and a final ending at gone 1am UK time on bank holiday Monday is not going to do the sport any favours. Start the 3rd session at 12.30pm and the 4th session at 6.30pm.

One other potential solution might be to start the tournament on a Friday, allowing it to finish on the bank holiday Sunday. I believe this was done at least once in the 80s (85 or 86 I recall). It makes sense. Fans that don't live near Sheffield like to attend the tournament at weekends..why not make the first weekend a long one?

Let's hope that major format changes won't be introduced.

Mignon said...

What?!.... No Exhibit B?!.... lol

Monique said...

It was John Higgins who first came out with the idea of the one day final and that was just after he won it in 2009, so well before Power Snooker was ever mentioned.
Mark Selby himself speaks of shortening the first rounds. Well the first round can't be shortened if they are to sort the men from the boys, which is what the WC is about.
Personally I don't think we need to go to first to 17 or 18 to find out who is the better player. First to 15 would do IMO. It's long enough for tension to build up. I'm no fan of tired snooker and for that great drama, 25 five years ago, we also had quite a lot of dire painful finals where one player, or both, had nothing absolutely left in the tank. Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against the format per se if the tournament could be spread over 3 weeks, preferably with Sunday finish (non UK viewers will appreciate) and possibly one day off before the Final. That day could host the Ladies WC Final, or the Senior or the Junior ... But I doubt the BBC would be ready for that type of change.

Anonymous said...

Colin M - the suggestion of starting on the Friday is a brilliant idea.

Shortening the World Championships is a stupid idea and totally unnecessary. You've gotta hand it to the Power Snooker promoters - they've managed to get a lot of very foolish sounding statements from some of the players taking part in the O2. Thank god Selby for one is talking sense.

Betty Logan said...

As snooker has got faster, and the big breaks have become more frequent, audiences have declined, so it doesn't bear out the theory that fans want a quicker game. We're not Americans after all.

Personally I think they should play the tournament all through the season, and just use the two weeks at the Crucible for a 200 frame final.

kildare cueman said...

I think we have to overcome this fear of change that we have.

When the championship was reduced to it's current format, many players thought it was too short.

Similarly, snooker must be the only game where there are absolutely no time constraints whatsoever.

If chess players have to observe a timeframe, then surely snooker players can. I don't mean a gimmicky format like Premier league, but maybe 45 seconds or even a minute.

Regarding shortening the matches I have an open mind. I personally enjoy the second round and quarter finals so maybe my preference is best of 25.

There is no harm in trying out a few changes and see how they go.
If they don't work, then they can always be reversed.

You've got to remember that people who write on snooker blogs are big fans of the game and will always prefer longer matches, but the average sports fan has little interest in watching snooker unless he is going to see a result.

Imagine a football team coming off at half time and finishing the match the next morning.

As time goes on, the viewing figures will dictate all.
If the world open and power snooker command better numbers than the UK and World champs, we will know which way the wind is blowing.

Anonymous said...

About time there was some common sense on the issue so well done to the jester.
Trimming the earlier rounds a bit and also earlier session starts in the Final to accomodate the international audience have been mentioned quite alot before.
Good stuff from Selby.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong Monique!
It was not John Higgins who first came out with it, or similar idea.
He may be the most recent one who restarted that particular ball rolling, but its been mentioned by a few players over the last 8 years or so, including Higgins prior to 09.

Dave H said...

The tiredness comes largely from starting so late for the final, although I'd agree that the semi-finals should possibly be reduced.

Everything else is nonsense. There is a perception that the World Championship is on the decline but this is only from those parochial enough not to see past the UK. The fact is, more people watch it on TV round the world than ever before. It is still a very popular fixture on the sporting calendar and will remain so long after the gimmicks have come and gone.

Anyone remember Snooker Plus?

How about Tenball?

How about Pot Black Timeframe?

No, didn't think so.

Dave H said...

Oh and a word on shorter formats being more popular: the BBC's viewing figures for the World Open were down 10% compared with the Grand Prix and they will not be showing it again

Now I enjoyed the World Open a lot and I hope it finds a home on the calendar but it's worth looking at what people actually like rather than getting carried away with all the marketing hype

Cue the revolution: that is promoting proper snooker in a way it deserves and taking the game to those countries that want to see it. Yes, bring in new formats but also remember what it was that attracted people to start with.

Anonymous said...

Exhibit B,Robbo beats Martin Gould 13-12 in which the result spurred him onto the title.
If Robbo has his way he would have lost 0-6 instead and therefore be percieved as a nearly man.
I think the Ronnster is genuine about a shorter Worlds but the others are just saying it for the
sake of it.

Anonymous said...

i actually remember them all Dave, but then ive probably watched more snooker than you over the years....

Anonymous said...


you cant say if that match was shorter every frame would have went the same way

MG could have buckled even if it was a shorter race (that is if anyone thinks he buckled at all)

poor comparision you make

Dave H said...


Then you'll know how many are still going

Anonymous said...


I could not have put that any better.

what makes snooker and what made snooker should not be forgotten.

Look at Billiards they tried to make that more TV Friendly and because of that its gone down in Popularity.

Anonymous said...

i was just making the point that some do, though i know your point meant not many and that they aint going, but you answered no......


Anonymous said...

Starting the last session of the world final at 8.00pm (8.15 by the time the BBC have finished waffling), with a possible 11 frames (or more) to play certainly needs looking at in my opinion.

porridge said...

I'd tweak the crucible format by shortening it to 15 days.

First round as it is right now, best-of-19.

Second round also best-of-19 instead of best-of-25.

Third round as it is (best-of-25).

But then comes the bloody semifinals and those lasting for 3 days is an absolute joke. Snooker goes off the media radar for two days. I'd say that best-of-29 would be the most sensible one (sessions lasting 9-9-11 frames). Actually sessions should always last an odd number of frames so that there would be "a winner" in each session. What I really hate is the first session ending 4-4 (and let alone the first day ending 8-8 after that), a true waste of time with no excitement whatsoever.

If all these tweaks would be commercially viable, I'm not sure. Probably not right now, but if in the future ticket sales were to go downhill, these things should be looked into immediately, without any fear of furious snooker community (that - let's face it - represent a very small minority as always is the case in t'internet). All this talking of "hands off this" and "hands off that" is just boring. While "hands off" argumentation techniques may just about have a place in today's snooker world in this very matter, I think some people in the snooker community use it too often and easily. It's like the snooker's own "nazi card". I don't know if in english there is any phrase for "playing the nazi card", but I'm sure you know what I mean by that.

And could you Dave resist yourself from using that tired snooker blogger cliché "slow burning drama" ever again? ;) And that endless mentioning of 1985 final... I'm 100% sure if Davis would have won it 18-17, no-one would talk about that match today or anything of its slow burning dramas. It was a bad quality final in the end, like they usually are in all honesty, has anyone actually watched it from videotape in its full entirity after that? I'd presume even Taylor hasn't done that, can't say I know. If he has, what exactly would it tell us about Taylor? And I'd say 35 frame matches is pretty much the most anyone can take, meaning the players and the viewers. Not sure about the commentators. They could probably go on forever. :)

Anonymous said...

If the Beeb are dropping the World Open then surely ITV4 could step in

jamie brannon said...

So, an official confirmation there that the BBC are reducing their out put to four events (counting Welsh Open).

This is really bad news, especially for those who can't afford EuroSport. Hopefully, post London 2012, there will be a revision of not just the snooker portfolio, but the overall BBC sports portfolio.

Don't often agree with Mark Selby, but he is 100% right on this occasion, you would be jeopardising the identity of the event, by making drastic changes.

A few tweaks could be made, like introducing a rest day prior to the final. It would allow the press to hype it up more and it can be acheived as Wimbledon and the football World Cup have rest days.

No need for one day finals, a test match takes five days, a motor rally three days, we don't need to imitate every sport.

The World Championship is still big in the UK, as the viewing figures are double that of the UK Championship.
It is still getting good press coverage too, the problem is the other events don't

Anonymous said...

They did a pulse poll during this years World Champs and 94% backed the longer format.
It's some of the other events on the calendar that need refreshing or rebranding much more than WC.

Dave H said...

I'll use 'slow burning drama' as much as I want as it happens to be an accurate description of the appeal of the sport

As for your 'Nazi' comments, hopefully something has been lost in translation

darrus said...

Dave, do you know what were the viewing figures for World Open on Eurosport? Were they lower too?

As for World Championship, I am against any change, if only for one reason - if they start changing something, there is no guarantee they will ever stop. And there's no proof yet that shortening matches is the best way to please the audiences.

Monique said...

Dave the BBC figures might be going down but what about the other channels? What about the global picture?
And I might be wrong in saying Higgins was the first, but he nevertheless said it, and pleaded for a day of rest also, and said it as the reigning champ. Just as Robertson does now. They have DONE it under that format and I think that at least they deserve to have their say and been listened to.

Anonymous said...

Selby was articulating what many are suggesting anyway in that the World Champs needs minor tweaks but should still be the ultimate test of a snooker players temprament and concentration.
Porridge's comments were a bit OTT for this type of debate BTW.

Betty Logan said...

Here is snooker's "nazi card":

Heil Hitler ;)

Colin M said...

Hmm...my recollection was the the Davis-Taylor final was not low quality. OK - the final frame was understandably error-strewn.

[Davis was robbed...Taylor getting away with 2 doubles on the black..especially the one full length of the table! lol]

Does anyone have the frame scores / breaks from the 85 final?

Anonymous said...

I agree that sessions always being 8 frames should be changed so we have a leader after each session but apart from that they should concentrate on making it longer, not shorter.

Everyone please stop all this nonsense trying to come out with ways to "trim" certain rounds. It's not needed!

Round 1 is perfect - 9 and 10 frame sessions. Joyous.

Rounds 2 and 3 are perfect - 3 session matches seperate the men from the boys.

2 semi-finals over 3 days - Christmas Holiday time for snooker fans, the best 3 days of the year for me.

Final over 2 days - start earlier, have less frames in the early session (say 7), more in the evening (10 or 11) and hey presto, a perfect event.


Anonymous said...


your obviously not a snooker fan or understand the first thing about the sport.

Quality of Play has NEVER Equate to quality of Match.

yes the 85 Final was poor quality in the final session but that what made it exciting there was hardly ever a chance of someone getting in and you know the Frame Over.

you could even argue the fact to many frames and matches finishing quickly today with 1 chance or a big break is to snookers detriment and you dont get the miss fest of the 80s which snooker's popularity was built on.

porridge said...

Well, I thought it might, so my mistake was that I couldn't in the heat of the moment come up with a proven international example. Can't be helped. Actually on hindsight, the expression (as I see it) used might have been a tad inaccurate and quite frankly it just shows how brilliant person I am: Admitting my own semantic mistakes when no-one didn't even know where I went wrong in the first place. :) (But let me be clear, the fact that I happened to use the N word in a snooker community wasn't exactly where I went wrong.)

But back to the actual point. All I was saying that in the snooker internet communities there's too much of this "hands off world championship" without any proper argumenting why should we actually keep our hands off. That said, it's probably inevitable that in someone's mind I didn't make my case properly with my suggested tweaks, but at least I had clearly been thinking this more than some snooker players have. One can't chop off anything from "the early rounds", if we're to keep the idea of sessions consisting of at least 8 frames.

And on the other matter, I can't help but sense a tinge of raving madness towards me in your "I use the phrase AS MUCH AS I WANT" (may be lost in translation), Dave, and if that really is the case, then I must say I wasn't actually ordering you to stop using that but perhaps rephrasing every now and again would be in place. ;) I just don't happen to believe in any slow burning dramas, and by this I'm not saying there hasn't been any of that ever, but I do want to point out that a thing called slow burning drama isn't a guaranteed one. It simply don't happen that often in the World Championship that we could put that in a sports dictionary where "snooker" was to be defined.

Anonymous said...

The last session of last years final was actually a possible 13 frames and that was also the fault of the BBC.

It is at their insistence that the session times are as they are. They hold more clout than World Snooker as they control the purse strings. They are selfish in the extreme.

Everyone knows the date of every WC final because it ends on the first public holiday in May so forward planning shouldn't be an issue. But they couldn't care a toss about the media coverage on the next day. Papers go to press WAY BEFORE the last ball's potted and important exposure and publicity is denied the sponsor. The Beeb is OK, it has the good old licence payers revenue to support it.

Dave H said...

You could finish on a Sunday if you reduced the semis to best of 25 and play them over two days rather than three, which may also reduce some of the tiredness

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, let me tell you about the continent's point of view...

In fact it is quite unconvenient having the final set up that late. Even if the players are in hurry, the decision made at a few minutes past 11pm in Sheffield will hit the viewer in Central Europe on tuesday morning at a time he should be in bed for a nice working day coming up.
But I understand very well that the heart of our sport beats in the UK. So I am not very hopeful about a change.
But be sure, I rather watch the Crucible's final after midnight than having more and more tournaments out of my focus because I can't afford tuning in chinese channels at 8.30am.

Anonymous said...

tiredness is for wimps and losers.

never heard Hendry using that excuse in 5 straight years he gets on with it and showed how stronger mentally he is compared to some moaners and it also goes to show why selby doesn't want change because he isn't a wimp either.

Anonymous said...

You could finish on the previous Sunday too if you cut everything to best of 9 though Dave.

porridge said...


Labelling me as not being a fan of snooker or otherwise ignorant is harsh even if it was only partly unfounded. It's true that I'm not a hardcore fan of snooker, but god forbid if I ever came across that way since I'm not a hardcore fan of anything. In a sense, I could probably stop watching snooker as easily I could probably stop watching football, but most likely won't because the only thing I believe in is sports itself, and namely the entertainment of sports.

The feeling I get is that I must look at snooker from a totally different perspective than the people hailing from the UK, who've had a chance to live and breathe snooker for decades. If that's indeed it, then so be it.

Europe has only seen this quickfire era of snooker (Eurosport showing the league in the beginning of 90s or probably the end of 80s, the snooker league highlights on Thursday midnights, equivalent of Wednesday Selection these days) and I truly believe the excitement for new audiences have come from the sheer respect of the modern-day players' skills. From then on, some might have probably grown to appreciate some other aspects, but I won't ever because I'm a faster myself than Drago. ;)

All this will undeniably lead nowhere, but will carry on about this subject because this is jolly exciting in a very tedious way.

jamie brannon said...

A Sunday finish would also mean if they insist on a 8pm finish, then the next day is a bank holiday, which means more people can stay up and watch it. However, I feel we need to kick-off at 7pm.

Anonymous said...

agreed davey

Anonymous said...


i dont much care for the europe arguement

its world snooker

if we make it better for you lot the usa, canada and south america and others will be put out more IMHO

Matt said...

If the Worlds were ever to be shortened then it would be a sad, sad day.

Anonymous said...

WC should be 17,17,19,25,35.
Do the Final on Saturday and Sunday
so a late finish is no hindrance.
The Beeb could even do a highlights
package or tournament roundup on the Bank Holiday Monday.
Just 5 minutes of Hazel,JP and Steve after the event isn't enough.

Anonymous said...

A next day World Champs highlights and discussion program is something snooker hasn't really tried yet though most sports do it.

Anonymous said...

no WC should be, will be, and always be
19,25,25,33 and 35 live with it.

Anonymous said...

Take a day off the Semis at the World Championships and add it to the Final of the UK.
Good trade off.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10.32pm.

I miss the final of the UK being a two-dayer, used to love that as a nipper, went to three of them in Preston, Alex always played marvellous stuff there. Happy days.

In fact move it back to the Guild Hall I say and bring back Ted Lowe as well. I think I've got Jim Meadowcroft's number somewhere.


Anonymous said...

i disagree entirely with you Matt

not sad at all

Anonymous said...

The day they decide to mess with the WC format-it will be a sad day. Start on Friday, end on Sunday or on Monday if you must have a rest day, otherwise hands off.


Anonymous said...

start on a friday?

are you a comedian alpha?

Anonymous said...

Best of 25 all the way through. Less confusion, less boredom and less tiredom for the players.

Sonny said...

Semi-final Saturday is generally the highlight of the 17 days at the Crucible. Don't tell me I'm the only one who feels this way? I couldn't live without it.

As for the rest of the event, I wouldn't change a thing although I don't have a problem with starting it a day earlier so it can finish on Sunday which is better for those who don't have a Bank Holiday on the Monday. Naturally I would never work on the last semi-final day if it wasn't on a weekend.

The World Championship format and the consistency of it over so many years is the only way we have to correlate players of different eras. The longer 2 sessions of round 1 to the 3 sessions of rounds 2 and 3 to the 4 sessions of the single table lay out. It is as close to perfection as you can have.

Anonymous said...

"You could finish on a Sunday if you reduced the semis to best of 25 and play them over two days rather than three, which may also reduce some of the tiredness"

Dave the BIG problem with this idea is that in order to have the SFs over 2 days you would have to start the first SF in the morning following the QFs. This would have meant that last year Ali Carter would have edged out Shaun Murphy at midnight in his QF, and then had to start against Neil Robertson at 10am. At least Ali got some rest, although not enough, as it was an afternoon start.

Anonymous said...

5.30, its snooker we're talking, not boxing. what rest do they need?

Betty Logan said...

Dave's idea could work if World Snooker put its collective brain power together and had the 1st quarter and 3rd quarter of the draw on the same table, so that QF1 and QF2 could be played simultaneously. Both the SF1 players would finish their QF matches in the afternoon and would only have played one session on the previous day. The SF2 players would both finish their QF matches in the evening but wouldn't get on the table until afternoon, and would only have to play one session on the first semi-final day. To ensure that neither player had a table advantage, the table could be reslated, recushioned and reclothed to effectively make it a fresh table for the semis and final.

Greg P said...

"Imagine a football team coming off at half time and finishing the match the next morning."

uh... yeah you've got a point there. you never see a football match played over a long distance, say for example, like, playing one "leg" of a match and then playing the other "leg" (bear with me here, I know its complicated) a week or two weeks later.

Maybe they do in some tournaments but surely that must be some obscure little tournament nobody watches and has no TV coverage...

kildare cueman said...

Indeed you must find it complicated Greg P, as all matches are 90 minutes.

The two legged tie that you long windedly refer to, are actually two matches, with the cumulative score used to decide the winner.