The World Snooker Championship is the leading snooker tournament in terms of both prize money and ranking points. The first championship was held in 1927; since 1977, it has been played at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, England. In the modern era, the best record is that of Stephen Hendry, who has won seven times, while Steve Davis and Ray Reardon have both won six times.

History Edit

The first championship was held in 1927 and Joe Davis helped to organise the event. Matches were held at various venues, and the final took place at Camkin's Hall, Birmingham. Joe Davis won the event, beating Tom Dennis 20-11. His prize money was £6.10s. The highest break of the tournament was 60 by Albert Cope.

In subsequent years, finals were held at various venues. Joe Davis won every year until 1940. Despite an upsurge in interest in snooker there were only two entrants for the 1931 professional championship. The event was staged in the back room of a Nottingham pub, owned by Tom Dennis. The fact that he was playing on his own table didn't help as Joe Davis ran out a 25-21 winner for his fifth consecutive victory.

In 1940, Joe Davis just beat his younger brother Fred 37-36. No tournaments were organised during the remaining World War II and it only resumed in 1946 when Joe Davis won again for the 15th time, a record that still stands. Joe Davis never contested the world championship again, though he continued to play professional snooker.

Walter Donaldson won in 1947, but it was Fred Davis who dominated the next few years, winning it three times in 1948, 1949 and 1951.

In 1952, as a result of a disagreement between the governing bodies (the Billiards Association and Control Council), and some of the players, two tournaments were held. The World Matchplay, organised by the players and widely viewed as the "real" world championship, continued until 1957. The BA&CC event only lasted one year. Meanwhile the 'official' world championship did attract two entrants in 1952, Horace Lindrum (Australia) beating New Zealand's Clark McConachy – and it is Lindrum's name that is inscribed on the familiar trophy.

Snooker then went into a period of decline, and no tournament was held between 1958 and 1963. In 1964 it was revived on a challenge basis, a format which lasted until 1968. This meant that matches took place on an irregular basis, sometimes more than once a year. John Pulman completely dominated during this period, overcoming all challengers in a total of seven matches.

The championship reverted back to a knockout tournament in 1969. That year it was won by John Spencer, but it was Ray Reardon who was to dominate over the coming years, winning six times between 1970 and 1978.

1976 was the first year the championships were sponsored by the cigarette brand Embassy. The following year, the event moved to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and the BBC started providing major television coverage. The Crucible seats fewer than a thousand people with the front row of seats only a few feet from the players. This was about the time snooker started attracting very large television audiences and for many fans it is synonymous with snooker. The most successful players at the Crucible are Steve Davis, who won six times in the 1980s, and Stephen Hendry, who won seven times in the 1990s. Recently, the tournament has been more open, with six different players winning in the 2000s. In the 1985 final, Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis 18-17 on the final ball of the final frame, in one of the most closely contested matches of all time. It finished at 00:19 but was superseded as the latest finish first by the 2006 final (00:52 BST), then the 2007 final (00:55 BST).

In 2004, the championship offered a total of £1,378,920 in prize money, including £250,000 for the winner and £125,000 for the runner-up. A further £147,000 was on offer for a 147 break, though no player achieved this.

Recent legislation has placed restrictions on tobacco advertising, including sponsorship of sporting events. Embassy had a special dispensation to continue snooker sponsorship until 2005. The Championship is currently sponsored by after pulled out of their five year sponsorship deal after three years.

On 15 April 2009, the World Snooker Championship website announced that would be the new sponsor of the World Championship for the next four years.

On 27 April 2009, it was confirmed that the World Championships would stay at the Crucible for at least another five years (until 2014).

Winners Edit

Top performers of the modern eraEdit

The 'modern' era is considered to start in 1969, when the championship reverted to a knock-out tournament format from a challenge format.
In the modern game, the best record is that of Stephen Hendry, who has won seven times to date. Steve Davis won six times in the 1980s, as did Ray Reardon in the 1970s.

Rank Name Nationality Winner Runner-up Semifinalist 147s Appearances
1 Stephen Hendry Flag of Scotland Scotland 7 2 12 2 (1995, 2009) 25
2 Steve Davis Flag of England England 6 2 11 0 30
3 Ray Reardon Flag of Wales Wales 6 1 10 0 19
4 John Spencer Flag of England England 3 1 6 0 18
4 John Higgins Flag of Scotland Scotland 3 1 6 0 16
6 Ronnie O'Sullivan Flag of England England 3 0 8 3 (1997, 2003, 2008) 18
7 Alex Higgins Flag of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 2 2 7 0 19
8 Mark Williams Flag of Wales Wales 2 1 4 1 (2005) 14
9 Cliff Thorburn Flag of Canada Canada 1 2 6 1 (1983) 19
10 Peter Ebdon Flag of England England 1 2 4 0 19
11 Ken Doherty Flag of Ireland Ireland 1 2 3 0 17
12 Dennis Taylor Flag of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 1 1 5 0 21
13 Terry Griffiths Flag of Wales Wales 1 1 3 0 19
13 John Parrott Flag of England England 1 1 3 0 23
15 Joe Johnson Flag of England England 1 1 2 0 8
15 Graeme Dott Flag of Scotland Scotland 1 1 2 0 12
15 Shaun Murphy Flag of England England 1 1 3 0 8
18 Jimmy White Flag of England England 0 6 10 1 (1992) 25
19 Eddie Charlton Flag of Australia Australia 0 2 8 0 21
20 Matthew Stevens Flag of Wales Wales 0 2 5 0 11
21 Gary Owen Flag of Wales Wales 0 1 2 0 7
21 John Pulman Flag of England England 0 1 2 0 11
21 Nigel Bond Flag of England England 0 1 2 0 15
24 Warren Simpson Flag of Australia Australia 0 1 1 0 4
24 Graham Miles Flag of England England 0 1 1 0 12
24 Perrie Mans Flag of South Africa South Africa 0 1 1 0 13
24 Doug Mountjoy Flag of Wales Wales 0 1 1 0 17
24 Mark Selby Flag of England England 0 1 1 0 6
24 Allister Carter Flag of England England 0 1 1 1 (2008) 8

Note: Active players are shown in bold.

General records and statisticsEdit

  • The greatest number of wins of all time is fifteen, by Joe Davis. This was in an era when there were few professional players and far fewer matches required to win, and is unlikely to be beaten.
  • The first 147 in the championship was achieved by Cliff Thorburn in 1983. Ronnie O'Sullivan (1997, 2003, 2008) and Stephen Hendry (1995, 2009) are the only players to achieve the feat more than once; they are also the only players to lose the match they were playing after scoring a 147. Jimmy White (1992), Mark Williams (2005) and Ali Carter (2008) are the other players to have made a maximum break at the World Championship.
  • O'Sullivan's maximum in 1997 was, at 5 minutes 20 seconds, the fastest ever recorded in the professional game.
  • Fergal O'Brien is the only player to score a century in his first frame at the Crucible, which he did in 1994.
  • The longest ever frame at the Crucible lasted 1 hour, 15 minutes, and was played between Stephen Maguire and Mark King in 2009.
  • Stephen Hendry was the youngest ever champion when he won in 1990 aged 21.
  • Horace Lindrum of Australia, who won in 1952, Cliff Thorburn of Canada, who won in 1980 and Ken Doherty of Ireland, who won in 1997, are the only champions from outside the United Kingdom. Lindrum's official title is often discounted, as most of the best players did not compete.
  • Surprise winners at the Crucible include Joe Johnson and Shaun Murphy, who won in 1986 and 2005 respectively against odds of 150-1 each, and Terry Griffiths, whose 1979 victory came in only his second professional tournament.
  • Jimmy White has reached six finals, but has never won. The closest he came was 18-17 in 1994 against Stephen Hendry, on his 32nd birthday.
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan is the only finalist in the modern era to have never lost in a final.
  • Ken Doherty is the only player to have won the world title at junior, amateur and professional level.
  • Stephen Hendry holds the record for the longest unbeaten run at the Crucible Theatre. He won the Championship every year between 1992 and 1996, and continued unbeaten until the 1997 final.
  • Since the tournament has been held at the Crucible only two players have successfully defended a world title: Steve Davis in 1984, 1988 and 1989, and Stephen Hendry 1993-1996. No player has successfully defended his first title in the modern era.

Media coverageEdit

BBC coverage used to be hosted from its inception in 1976 until 2000 by David Vine with commentary by Ted Lowe. Since 2000 the BBC coverage has been hosted by Hazel Irvine or Ray Stubbs or more recently with Rishi Persad when Hazel or Ray are unavailable. Commentary is by a raft of ex-pros and current pros including Willie Thorne, Dennis Taylor, John Virgo, John Parrott, Steve Davis, Ken Doherty, Clive Everton, Terry Griffiths and Neal Foulds. The BBC will continue to televise this event (along with three other tournaments) until 2011. IMG Media (initially as TWI) have produced the BBC's snooker coverage since 1998.

Eurosport also provide coverage of the event.

References Edit

External linksEdit

World Snooker Championship
The early years
Post-War to decline
World Matchplay
Challenge matches
The modern era (pre-Crucible)
The Crucible Theatre
Winners and statistics
List of winners from 1927 to present

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