It’s back to China for the snooker circuit this week with the second staging of the International Championship in Chengdu.

There are a lot of tournaments these days and, wisely, different formats. This one features longer matches, with best of 11s until the semi-finals, which are best of 17, with a best of 19 final.

In longer matches, there is more time for a narrative to form and, of course, more time for the match to turn around.

In qualifying, only one member of the top 16 (Ricky Walden) failed to reach Chengdu, which suggests this new format has made little real difference to the game’s status quo.

Judd Trump is defending champion. He wrote on Twitter last week that he would retain the title and make a 147. Twitter is not the Old Bailey but Trump is clearly revved up for the week, unsurprisingly as his start to the season has been disappointing.

The two best players this campaign have been Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui.

Robertson has made 33 centuries already – only 28 fewer than Trump’s record of 61 set last season – while Ding has appeared in three successive finals, winning the ranking events in Shanghai and India.

However, Robertson and Ding are drawn in the same quarter this week.

A major challenge could come from Ronnie O’Sullivan, who plays his first full ranking event since winning a five world title last May.

Mark Selby hasn’t pulled up many trees so far this season but, like many, may feel this is the time to get going, with the meat of the season coming up in the next few months.

There are familiar and less familiar names jostling for points and money this week. Any tournament is enhanced by the presence of a couple of legends and Steve Davis and Jimmy White have both qualified, though they will have to play wildcards.

Players are always well treated and well looked after in China but apparently practice facilities are not as they should be. One player contacted me to say that with so many players at the venue and so few tables he has had to wait two days to have a knock – hardly ideal.

There is much snooker to plough through with 64 players plus four wildcards. The top prize is £125,000.

This is only the second year of the International Championship but it feels like a big event, and the standard of snooker will surely reflect that.

It’s live all week on Eurosport and Eurosport2.


ANON said...

re practice facilities, do any of these lads know what 'initiative' means? As there are something like 14m people in Chengdu surely there are a couple of snooker clubs?

Anonymous said...


Which matches will EuroSport be covering over the first couple of days?



Dave H said...

Don't know yet but I'd expect O'Sullivan v McGill to be on tomorrow

kimball144 said...

Yep ANON, hundreds of clubs and if
the bloke had dropped a word to the organisors he would have been sorted all right for sure.

kildare cueman said...

Great to have all this coverage on Eurosport but a lot of the time their live coverage starts half way through the fourth frame, then they're off to the interval.

Would it not be simpler to show highlights until the interval ends, then go live.

It wouldnt be too bad if they didn't show the match on the other table during the break, when most fans will surely have the action on the other table recorded anyway.

John Mason said...


Already Steve Davis is out to Zhao Xintong, clearly a force of the future. But in truth, even allowing for the desire of the sponsor to have extra Chinese players, why did all wild card 4 matches take place? There are two players, Mark Joyce and Stuart Bingham without an opponent in round one - should not 2 of these players be used here to fill a real gap? If 4 unlucky players face an unpaid extra match, why should two players go forward without picking up a cue? Do these two players get the extra £4000 and points, or only half if they lose in the next round? This is surely an area for Mr Hearn to look at yet again. 4 wild cards could be guaranteed a match, but plug holes in the schedule if needed, and they often are, rather than providing an extra imbalance in the system.

Snookerbrain1968 said...

Thankful for the coverage, don't get me wrong but, one has to assume that since the event is sanctioned by WS then WS would issue guidelines to the company responsible for the TV pictures regarding direction.
You would think.
Instead, it would appear that the floor camera operatives are advised to try to guess which pocket the player is aiming at whilst the director is given the freedom to indulge in his obsession of switching cameras mid shot and zooming in on the object ball's journey to the pocket (in some cases, until it comes to rest in the ball tray) to the exception to every other aspect of the shot.
This is especially noticeable and frustrating when covering quicker, more fluent players such as Trump or O'Sullivan. The resultant footage is all over the place.
Red button option for a full table view please !