The tournament that immediately precedes the World Championship is traditionally overshadowed by it, for no other reason than its slot in the calendar.
Inescapably, everyone is talking about the Crucible and the players are thinking about it, at least those who have qualified are. It is 13 years since the player who won the last title before Sheffield triumphed in the World Championship itself.
It's better now than is used to be when first the British Open, then the Scottish Open took place just a week before the Crucible.
And the Bank of Beijing China Open has grown in prestige, now offering a first prize of £60,000.
This tournament went into abeyance for three years until 2005 when World Snooker staged it again on a one-year deal. To their great relief it was won by Ding Junhui and has since been fully funded by the Chinese organisers.
The one downside to this is that they still insist on Chinese wildcards, whose continued presence in the event is unfair on those who have battled through qualifying.
For instance, Kurt Maflin won four matches in Sheffield to secure his TV debut but now has to play Cao Yupeng before he can take on Ding.
At least the organisers have seen sense this year by putting on two first round matches on the opening day. Stephen Hendry faces the in form Matthew Stevens while world champion Neil Robertson faces Barry Hawkins.
There will be no Jimmy White, though. Apparently White travelled to China on a single entry visa but then went to Thailand for exhibition work which meant he was not allowed back into the country.
This gives wildcard Tian Pengfei a walkover to play Mark Selby in the last 32.
Eurosport - who don't select which matches appear on the two main TV tables, just to head off that annual moan - will be showing live action on both its channels all week, although this varies depending which country you live in, so check local listings.
It's an interesting line-up and, despite its proximity to the World Championship, will doubtless be won by one of the usual suspects.
John Higgins, who won the recent Hainan Classic, has to start favourite again as he hunts down a fifth title of the season.
It looks like Ronnie O'Sullivan will be playing, but he is in a brutal quarter of the draw and starts out against Ryan Day, who beat him at the Welsh Open.
Local support will be for Ding, who finished runner-up to Mark Williams last year.