China Open Snooker
The China Open is a ranking snooker tournament that takes place in the Beijing University Students Gymnasium. This is not the only ranking snooker event annually held in China, as the Shanghai Masters was established in 2007 and takes place at the Shanghai Grand Stage.
China Open: a brief history
The China Open snooker tournament – originally named the China International – first began in 1997. It was a non-ranking event for the top 16 professionals as well as local snooker players. A year later, it become a ranking snooker tournament and was renamed the China Open for the following season.
The event took a three year hiatus in 2001, returning to the Beijing University Students Gymnasium in 2005. During this season, three Chinese wildcards were invited to the event instead of having to participate in qualifying matches. Ding Junhui – one of these wildcards – went on to win the 2005 China Open event in a final match against Stephen Hendry. However, he did not receive any prize money or world ranking points as a result of his entrance as a wildcard.
Since its return in 2005, the China Open has been won by Graeme Dott, Stephen Maguire and twice by Mark Williams. Judd Trump took home the 2011 China Open trophy in what was his first major win, while veteran Peter Ebdon added to his 2009 win as he secured the 2012 championship with a narrow victory over Maguire.
China Open fixtures
The China Open has followed a similar format since it began in 1997. The tournament is a round-robin event where players are whittled down as the competition progresses. Up until 2008, the China Open built up to a best of 17 frames final. However, this changed for the seasons after – the present best of 19 frames final tests the endurance of the two remaining players as the match can sometimes span across a couple of days.
Many professional players view the China Open as a significant event, and one which they want to progress in. It is the last ranking event before the World Snooker Championship, and a high position could be the last chance for players to qualify for the event automatically.