This Saturday is a big one for sport in the UK, not only do we have the Grand National and a big round of Premier League games, but the biggest snooker tournament of the year begins.

That is the 2023 World Snooker Championship which once again comes from the famous Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

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There may be some questions you have about this famous tournament, so hopefully those queries have been covered, and answered in our World Snooker Championship FAQs below!

World Snooker Championship FAQs

  • When was the first World Snooker Championship?

The first officially recognised World Snooker Champion was Joe Davis back in 1927. He held the title for 15 consecutive years from 1927 to 1946 (though from 1941 to 1945 there was no tournament held).

  • Has the World Championship always been the same knockout format?

No. While the first World Championships were tournaments, they were much smaller tournaments than the current World Championships in terms of entrants and they were played over a much longer period (the 1927 tournament began in November 1926 and finished in May 1927).

Then for a significant part of the 1960s, the World Champion was decided by a number of one-off challenge matches, with no knockout tournament played.

The knockout format returned in 1969, which is viewed by many as the start of the modern era of snooker and it is usually from this date that the current list of World Champions is taken.

  • Has the World Championship always been held at the Crucible Theatre?

No, the Crucible era began in 1977 and the tournament has been held at the venue since.

However, over the years before that, the World Championship was played in a large number of different venues such as: Thurston’s Hall in London, the Tower Circus in Blackpool, Lounge Hall in Nottingham, Camkin’s Hall in Birmingham, the Jersey Billiards Association Match Room in Jersey, Burroughs Hall in London, St George’s Hall in Liverpool, the Co-Operative Hall in Bolton, and outside of the UK too in snooker halls in South Africa, Australia (Melbourne & Sydney).

  • Prior to the Modern Era of Snooker, who were the most successful players?

Joe Davis was the most decorated player in snooker history in the pre-WPBSA era, winning 15 world titles consecutively.

His brother, Fred Davis, won eight world titles in between 1948 and 1956, then John Pulman won eight World titles from 1957 to 1968 with no World Title game contested between 1958 and 1963.

The only other players to win the title up to 1969 were Scot Walter Donaldson (who won in 1947 and 1950) and Australian Horace Lindrum, who won his sole title in 1952.

  • What happened in 1969 to split the history of snooker into the two different eras?

In 1969, the World Professional Billards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) took over organising the World Championships and they instigated a number of changes which included a greater number of entrants and the return of the knockout format.

With many more games required to be played in this new format, the number of frames contested in a match was reduced significantly, with shorter games at the start of the tournament and longer games at the end including the final, which would be contested over the most frames.

While the number of frames contested has changed over the years, this same format has remained even as the tournament has grown markedly in the number of competitors competing.

The first finals of the modern era in 1969 saw 8 players compete with the Quarter finals comprising of a best of 49 frames, with the semis and final both best of 73.

Over the years, with a far greater number of players now competing in the tournament, the number of frames contested in a match has shrunk now to the final being the best of 35 frames, and the opening round and qualifiers starting with the best of 19.

As such, 1969 is often used as the point in time when the modern era of snooker started, compared to the previous era.

  • Is it true there has been a dominant player in each decade of the World Championship?

Kind of yes, it is true. Initially Joe Davis dominated from the 1920;s through to the mid 1940s. His brother Fred followed up from the mid 40s to the mid 50s and then it was John Pulman who dominated the 60s.

In the modern era, Ray Reardon won five world titles in the 70s, Steve Davis won six in the 1980s and Stephen Hendry won seven in the 1990s.

However, from just before the 2000s onwards, the ‘class of ‘92’ John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan have dominated this era, winning 14 world titles between them and still challenging for the title in the present day.

Since 2014, Mark Selby has also been one of the dominant forces in the game winning four world titles.

However, what is notable is that the modern era of the game has seen a far greater diaspora of winners than in previous eras with winners coming from England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Canada and Australia.

  • Who is the best player never to become World Champion?

Jimmy White is the most talented player in the history of the game never to become World Champion as he finished runner up on six occasions, including a run of five consecutive final losses from 1990 to 1994.

  • What have been the closest finals in history?

There have been four finals that have seen all the possible frames played to produce a winner.

In 1975, Ray Reardon defeated Eddie Charlton 31-30 but the most famous 35-frame final was in 1987, when Dennis Taylor trailed Steve Davis 9-1 at one stage before rallying to eventually tie the game at 17-17.

The final frame attracted over 18.5 million viewers despite the fact it was past midnight (a record that still stands) and then the game went to the final black before Taylor potted the ball to win his first, and only world title.

In subsequent years, Stephen Hendry beat Jimmy White 18-17 in the 1994 final, another epic encounter, while in 2002 Peter Ebdon beat Stephen Hendry by the same scoreline.

  • What was the biggest defeat in a World Championship final?

That came in 1989 when Steve Davis beat John Parrott 18-3 in the final. Parrot would win the title himself in 1991, defeating Jimmy White 18-11.

  • What prize money is available?

There is a total prize fund of £2,350,000 available for the World Championship of which the winner takes home £500,000 and the runner up £200,000.

  • When was the first maximum break made at the World Snooker Championship?

That came in 1983 when Cliff Thorburn achieved the feat in his game against Terry Griffiths.

The most recent 147 came in the 2022 World Championship and was achieved by Neil Robertson in his win over Jack Lisowski.

  • When does the 2023 World Snooker Championship Start?

The First Round of action starts on Saturday 15th April with the final set to be played over two days on the 30th April and 1st May.

  • Who is favourite to win the 2023 tournament?

Bet365 currently has Ronnie O’Sullivan as its favourite to win the event.

So tune in from Saturday for a snooker extravaganza as we discover who will be the 2023 World Snooker Champion!