In last year’s Snooker World Championship, the precociously talented Judd Trump met the four-time World Champion and eight-time finalist John Higgins in the final at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in what was a repeat of the 2011 final, which was won 18-15 by Higgins, the last of his four World Titles.

However, this time around, Trump was not going to be denied and the talented Englishman came through 18-9 against Higgins in a one-sided final to claim the title for the first time. Many experts feel that given Trump’s outstanding natural flair with the cue, many feeling he is the most naturally gifted player since Ronnie O’Sullivan, that win last year could have been the first of many.

After the tournament was delayed from mid-April, the best players in the world are now ready to kick off the Snooker World Championship at the Crucible from Friday, following the conclusion of the final set of qualifying games taking place this week.

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Let’s now take a look at the World Championship ahead of the start of the tournament on Friday by looking at some of the big names contesting the tournament and who our tip is to be crowned the eventual Champion in mid-August when the legthy tournament reaches its conclusion.

World Snooker Championship 2020 – Preview

This year’s tournament has seen a slight increase in total prize money to £2,395,000, of which £500,000 will be handed to the new World Champion on the 16th August. The tournament will be played once again at the famous Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, although people will have to tune in to the action from home due to no spectators being allowed at the venue.

Presently, the final qualifying tournament for the competition is being played with a total of 128 players from all around the world competing for one of just 16 places in the First Round proper of the tournament. Included in that qualifying event are a number of top players including the likes of Graeme Dott, Matthew Stevens, Alan McManus and Ricky Walden.

The top ranked 16 seeds from the official World Snooker Rankings have been handed a bye into the first round, with last year’s winner Judd Trump handed the top seed of the event. The First Round is played over the best-of-19 format, and in what is the longest event of the season in terms of frames played, this increases over time up to the best-of-35 contest in the final.

The sixteen players seeded into the first round and their positions in the list are as follows:

  1. Judd Trump (Eng)
  2. Neil Robertson (Aus)
  3. Mark Williams (Wal)
  4. Mark Allen (N.Ire)
  5. John Higgins (Sco)
  6. Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng)
  7. Mark Selby (Eng)
  8. Kyren Wilson (Eng)
  9. Stephen Maguire (Sco)
  10. Shaun Murphy (Eng)
  11. Ding Jungui (Chn)
  12. David Gilbert (Eng)
  13. Jack Lisowski (Eng)
  14. Stuart Bingham (Eng)
  15. Barry Hawkins (Eng)
  16. Yan Bingtao (Chn)

Qualification News

Some big names, including some former World Champions and World Championship finalists, have been knocked out of the tournament already in the qualifiers. Former World Champion Ken Doherty bowed out in Round 3, beaten by Mark King, while Jimmy White also went out at this stage, defeated by Robert Milkins. Luca Brecel, Ali Carter, Joe Perry and Nigel Bond are other players to have already bowed out.

However, remaining in the competition is the 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott, who faces Martin. Gould for a coveted first round spot. Anthony Hamilton takes on Scott Donaldson in another big qualification showdown while Matthew Stevens facing Ricky Walden is another battle between two players who have been regular players at the Crucible over the years.

When the final 16 qualifiers are known, later this week they will be drawn to face the 16 top seeds outlined above in the First Round proper.

Winning the World Championship

It seems very unlikely that anybody would come through the qualifiers and claim the World Championship title and as such, it should be one of the top 16 seeds that lands the top prize in this event in August. The player that does will not only have to have played top class snooker for a period of just short of three weeks, but also managed to cope with the ups and downs of playing in what is a long and draining tournament.

It is the sheer length of games that makes the World Championship as much a battle of mental and physical endurance as it is snooker ability and in general, it is those players that are mentally strong, able to focus for extended periods and who have innate natural ability to fall back on, that tend to produce the goods. No player will play well in every session on their way to winning this event, but it is minimising the damage in those sessions where things don’t go well that could be the key to eventual success.

Who to back to win the Snooker World Championship 2020

With just three players rated at odds of less than 11/1, it is clear the bookmakers feel this is a three-horse race. Neil Robertson is rated an 11/2 shot, with Ronnie O’Sullivan a 4/1 chance. I am not keen on O’Sullivan this year as he does seem distracted a little with off table issues and that is generally never a good sign for his fans. As such, it is hard to look past the 5/2 favourite Judd Trump who had been in excellent form in the season so far and who as defending Champion, will want to put on a good display in defence of that crown.

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