Poland has for a number of years now been an area in which snooker has become increasingly popular.
As in Germany, new fans have been created by the exposure of the game on Eurosport and I’m sure there’s great excitement in Warsaw for PTC6, which began today, with the professionals coming in tomorrow.
For this reason it is a shame so many of the sport’s top players have decided to give it a miss.
Those who have gone have the chance to gain valuable ranking points ahead of the first seedings revision of the season.
The top 16 on Monday will be at the Masters, so it’s a big few days for players such as Martin Gould and Mark Davis, who are battling for a place in the elite group for the first time.
In the various other bands, too, the race for places is on. There is no material difference between being ranked 17th and 32nd but a world of difference if you are 33rd and not 32nd.
The value to snooker of the British PTCs, certainly in Sheffield, is open to question, although they do provide players with the playing opportunities they have been calling for.
But the European PTCs, which carry television coverage on Eurosport, are important. There may be a full blown ranking event in Warsaw one day but most events – the World Championship included – have started on a small scale and then grown.
Poland of course have their own players, including teenager Kacper Filipiak, who impressed in the World Cup.
Like all youngsters he has a lot to learn but there’s no better way than to be rubbing shoulders with the leading professionals.
A word of caution, though, when it comes to scheduling, and this links back to the World Series, which also visited Warsaw.
The best sport is competitive. A series of processions on the first couple of days do not provide drama or entertainment.
Therefore, matches chosen for the television should be competitive, not a series of slaps handed down by top players to plucky amateurs.
I would personally rather watch a couple of middle ranking pros playing each other than a member of the top 16 hammering an unknown 4-0.
Of course, that’s easy for me to write. In the real world, with commercial concerns, it isn’t so simple.
It’ll be interesting to see who comes through the pack this weekend. The likes of Judd Trump, Stephen Maguire, Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter must be fancying their chances with many of their leading rivals not present.
But the most important thing that can happen is that Polish snooker fans have their emotional investment in the sport repaid so that they want to come back and watch again in the future.