The World Snooker Championship is a ranking event, established in 1927 and is widely regarded as the leading professional snooker tournament across the world in terms of prize money and ranking points.
The competition is also one of the Triple Crown events and has been televised by the BBC since 1977.
The World Championship was created by Joe Davis and was held at various venues, with the final taking place at Camkins Hall, Birmingham. Davis won all the World Championships up to 1946; a record of 15 times that still stands today.
Apart from an absence of the tournament during the Second World War years, the World Championship has been played every year.
While the World Championship was held by many venues during the early years of its establishment, it found its longstanding and famous home in 1976 when then sponsors Embassy, a cigarette brand, moved the event to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
The Crucible is contracted to hold the World Snooker Championships until 2015, recording a total of 38 years in partnership together, and will likely live on there longer than that due to the venue’s popularity and history.
The World Championship is a ranking event consisting of 32 players in a knock-out tournament for the finals.
16 of the allotted places are filled up by the top 16 players in the world rankings and are seeded in the appropriate order. Players entering the tournament through the qualifying rounds fill up the other 16 places.
The lowest ranked players must go through a two-round preliminary qualifying stage before entering the main qualifiers, taking place on 5th April at in Sheffield.
The main qualifiers consist of a further four rounds and once they have been completed they enter the main draw as un-seeded participants. These qualifiers take place between the 6th and 15th April at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
There have been many successful players who have shone on the Crucible, stage however the frontrunner has to be Stephen Hendry who dominated the 1990’s with an incredible seven titles.
Steve Davis who was the first modern era player to truly dominate the World Championships with six titles in the 1980’s, closely follows Hendry.
Ronnie O’Sullivan leads the current era with five World Championship wins, while John Higgins has two and Neil Robertson became the first Australian winner in 2010.
Champions by Country (modern era. 1969.)
- England – 17 titles
- Scotland – 12 titles
- Wales – 9 titles
- Northern Ireland – 3 titles
- Australia – 1
- Canada – 1
- Republic of Ireland – 1
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the reining World Champion after returning from nearly a year out of the game to retain his title at The Crucible.
After defeating Ali Carter 18-11 in 2012’s final, O’Sullivan stated his intentions to take a break from Snooker and upon his return to action in Sheffield had barely played a game.
But the Rocket showed that form is only secondary to skill in Snooker as he blasted Marcus Campbell off the table in a 10-4 first round win, beat 2012’s runner-up Carter 13-8 in the second and barely had a challenge from Stuart Bingham in a 13-4 victory in the quarter-finals.
Ronnie’s semi-final opponent Judd Trump increased the pressure on the former world number one pre-match but was later made to rue it as The Rocket eased to a 17-11 win. In the final, he had face a player who had had the season of his life in Barry Hawkins. And it was Hawkins who gave him his biggest challenge of the tournament, allowing Ronnie just a three-frame lead with the scores at 10-7 overnight. The gap remained three frames until O’Sullivan, fluent and precise throughout the tournament with four century breaks, edged the key twentieth game to give himself a 12-8, four-frame lead.
Ronnie soon had his fifth century of the final, a feat only achieved by Stephen Hendry (1997), John Higgins (1998) and Matthew Stevens (2000) previously. The frames continued to be shared until O’Sullivan, leading 16-12, finished the match in style with a break of 86, sealing his fitfh World Championship.