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World Snooker Championship

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The World Snooker Championship, currently held at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, is the climax of snooker's annual calendar and the most important snooker event of the year in terms of prestige, prize money and world ranking points.

History

The first championship was held in 1927, and the legendary 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, when he just beat his younger brother Fred 37-36. No tournaments were organised during the war years, 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. Some have speculated that he did not want to risk losing his unbeaten record.

Walter Donaldson won in 1947, but it was Fred Davis who dominated the next few years, winning eight times between 1948 and 1956.

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 beating 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, who had won in 1957, 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, UK, and the BBC started providing major television coverage. The Crucible provides a unique atmosphere to the tournament, both for spectators and live television viewers. The venue seats less 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 most fans The Crucible 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 four different winners in the last four years. The most famous final occurred in 1985, when Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis 18-17 in one of the most closely contested matches of all time),which finished at 00:19; it was superseded as the latest finish to a final by the 2006 final (00:53).

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 United Kingdom legislation has placed restrictions on tobacco advertising, including sponsorship of sporting events. Embassy had a special dispensation to continue snooker sponsorship until 2005. Currently the Championship is sponsored by 888.com, after the company signed a five-year sponsorship contract. During the 2005 Championship it was announced that the Championship would remain at the Crucible for at least another five years. Plans to build a purpose-built billiardrome in the city are in their early stages. It is anticipated that the World Championships will be switched to the new venue once the current Crucible contract ends.

A recent contract ensures that the BBC will continue to televise this event (along with three others) until 2011.

Trivia

  • The greatest number of wins is fifteen, by Joe Davis. This was in an era when there were few professional players, and is unlikely to be beaten. 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.
  • The first 147 in the championship was achieved by Cliff Thorburn in 1983. Ronnie O'Sullivan is the only player to achieve the feat twice, and the only player to lose a match in the World Championship after scoring a 147 (against Marco Fu in 2003). His other was in 1997 and was, at 5 minutes 20 seconds, the fastest ever recorded in the professional game. Jimmy White (1992), Stephen Hendry (1995) and Mark Williams (2005) are the other players to have made a maximum break at the world championship.
  • History was further made on 14 March 2006 when Robert Milkins became the first player to make a 147 in the qualifying stages of the tournament.
  • Fergal O'Brien is the only player to score a century in his first frame at the Crucible, which he did in 1994.
  • Stephen Hendry was the youngest ever champion when he won in 1990 aged 21.
  • Cliff Thorburn, who won in 1980 and Ken Doherty, who won in 1997 are the only two champions from outside the United Kingdom.
  • Surprising wins 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 was only his second professional tournament.
  • Jimmy White has reached six finals, but never won. The closest he got was 18-17 in 1994 against Stephen Hendry, on his 32nd birthday. In 1992, he lead 14-8, only to lose 18-14.
  • Ken Doherty is the only player to have won the world title at junior, amateur and professional level.
  • The player to reach the most World Championship finals since 1969 is Stephen Hendry with 9.
  • The so-called "Curse of the Crucible" has ensured that no first-time Crucible champion, since the event was first held there in 1977, has retained his title the following year. Terry Griffiths, Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor all succumbed in the first round, while the other champions failed in the latter stages.
  • The latest ever finish to a match at The Crucible, was 3:51am, in a 1983 Second Round match between Cliff Thorburn and Terry Griffiths. Thorburn won 13-12. Earlier in the match, Thorburn made the first ever 147 in the World Championship.
  • The most frames played in one Championship is 132 (out of 136) by Ken Doherty in 2003. He was 9-7 down to Shaun Murphy in the First Round, before winning 10-9. He was 8-2 down to Graeme Dott, before winning 13-12. He lead 8-0 after the first session of his Quarter Final, against John Higgins, before having his lead reduced to 9-7. He went on to win 13-9. He trailed Paul Hunter 15-9 and 16-14 in the Semi Final, but prevailed 17-16. In the Final, he trailed Mark Williams 11-1, but levelled at 11-11, 12-12 and 16-16. There was no happy ending, for he lost 18-16.
  • The first century break in the Crucible Theatre was by Eddie Charlton against David Taylor in 1977.

Finals

Year Winner Score Runner Up Score
1927 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 20 Template:Flagicon Tom Dennis 11
1928 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 18 Template:Flagicon Fred Lawrence 13
1929 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 19 Template:Flagicon Tom Dennis 14
1930 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 25 Template:Flagicon Tom Dennis 12
1931 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 25 Template:Flagicon Tom Dennis 21
1932 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 30 Template:Flagicon Clark McConachy 19
1933 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 25 Template:Flagicon Willie Smith 18
1934 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 25 Template:Flagicon Tom Newman 23
1935 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 25 Template:Flagicon Willie Smith 20
1936 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 34 Template:Flagicon Horace Lindrum 27
1937 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 32 Template:Flagicon Horace Lindrum 29
1938 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 37 Template:Flagicon Sidney Smith 24
1939 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 43 Template:Flagicon Sidney Smith 30
1940 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 37 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 36
1946 Template:Flagicon Joe Davis 78 Template:Flagicon Horace Lindrum 68
1947 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 82 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 63
1948 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 84 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 61
1949 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 80 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 65
1950 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 51 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 46
1951 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 58 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 39
1952 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 38 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 35
1953 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 37 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 34
1954 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 39 Template:Flagicon Walter Donaldson 21
1955 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 37 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 34
1956 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 38 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 35
1957 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 39 Template:Flagicon Jackie Rea 34
1964 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 19 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 16
1964 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 40 Template:Flagicon Rex Williams 33
1965 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 37 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 36
1965 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 25 Template:Flagicon Rex Williams 22
1965 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 39 Template:Flagicon Fred van Rensburg 12
1966 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 5 Template:Flagicon Fred Davis 2
1968 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 38 Template:Flagicon Eddie Charlton 32
1969 Template:Flagicon John Spencer 37 Template:Flagicon Gary Owen 24
1970 Template:Flagicon Ray Reardon 37 Template:Flagicon John Pulman 33
1971 Template:Flagicon John Spencer 37 Template:Flagicon Warren Simpson 29
1972 Template:Flagicon Alex Higgins 37 Template:Flagicon John Spencer 32
1973 Template:Flagicon Ray Reardon 38 Template:Flagicon Eddie Charlton 32
1974 Template:Flagicon Ray Reardon 22 Template:Flagicon Graham Miles 12
1975 Template:Flagicon Ray Reardon 31 Template:Flagicon Eddie Charlton 30
1976 Template:Flagicon Ray Reardon 27 Template:Flagicon Alex Higgins 16
1977 Template:Flagicon John Spencer 25 Template:Flagicon Cliff Thorburn 12
1978 Template:Flagicon Ray Reardon 25 Template:Flagicon Perrie Mans 18
1979 Template:Flagicon Terry Griffiths 24 Template:Flagicon Dennis Taylor 16
1980 Template:Flagicon Cliff Thorburn 18 Template:Flagicon Alex Higgins 16
1981 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 18 Template:Flagicon Doug Mountjoy 12
1982 Template:Flagicon Alex Higgins 18 Template:Flagicon Ray Reardon 15
1983 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 18 Template:Flagicon Cliff Thorburn 6
1984 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 18 Template:Flagicon Jimmy White 16
1985 Template:Flagicon Dennis Taylor 18 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 17
1986 Template:Flagicon Joe Johnson 18 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 12
1987 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 18 Template:Flagicon Joe Johnson 14
1988 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 18 Template:Flagicon Terry Griffiths 11
1989 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 18 Template:Flagicon John Parrott 3
1990 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 18 Template:Flagicon Jimmy White 12
1991 Template:Flagicon John Parrott 18 Template:Flagicon Jimmy White 11
1992 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 18 Template:Flagicon Jimmy White 14
1993 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 18 Template:Flagicon Jimmy White 5
1994 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 18 Template:Flagicon Jimmy White 17
1995 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 18 Template:Flagicon Nigel Bond 9
1996 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 18 Template:Flagicon Peter Ebdon 12
1997 Template:Flagicon Ken Doherty 18 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 12
1998 Template:Flagicon John Higgins 18 Template:Flagicon Ken Doherty 12
1999 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 18 Template:Flagicon Mark Williams 11
2000 Template:Flagicon Mark Williams 18 Template:Flagicon Matthew Stevens 16
2001 Template:Flagicon Ronnie O'Sullivan 18 Template:Flagicon John Higgins 14
2002 Template:Flagicon Peter Ebdon 18 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 17
2003 Template:Flagicon Mark Williams 18 Template:Flagicon Ken Doherty 16
2004 Template:Flagicon Ronnie O'Sullivan 18 Template:Flagicon Graeme Dott 8
2005 Template:Flagicon Shaun Murphy 18 Template:Flagicon Matthew Stevens 16
2006 Template:Flagicon Graeme Dott 18 Template:Flagicon Peter Ebdon 14
2007 Template:Flagicon John Higgins 18 Template:Flagicon Mark Selby 13
2008 Template:Flagicon Ronnie O'Sullivan 18 Template:Flagicon Allister Carter 8

Note

The World Matchplay Championship has been included as the World Championship although this is not the same competition. Technically, Horace Lindrum is the 1952 Champion, and 1952-1957 are not World Championships, although in modern times, these are generally considered to be the true World Championship.

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