The new Champion of Champions event announced today and to be staged in Coventry in November promises to be a prestigious affair with £100,000 to the eventual winner.

The 16 player field will comprise the winners of all major tournaments this season. I suspect the last two world champions will be invited if the current one doesn’t defend his title.

The format of play is knockout but played in a sort of group format: two last 16 matches over best of 9 in the afternoon with the respective winners to play a best of 11 quarter-final in the evening and so on until the four semi-finalists are known.

Hearn has gone for a long final – best of 21 or 23 – as an antidote to the shorter formats which have become the norm in recent times. There will be no shot-clock or change to the established rules.

Hearn has conjured this up from nowhere, another positive move under his chairmanship. It is a little like the old World Matchplay he promoted and screened on ITV and today he dropped a heavy hint that ITV4, who recently dipped their toe in the snooker waters with the World Open, will be host broadcasters.

I can’t see why any invited player would turn this down. As a Midlander, it’s also nice to see the area rewarded with a tournament as interest in snooker here has always been high.

Hearn was at the Crucible today and rubbished claims that ‘burnout’ had affected top players at the World Championship, or rather blamed them for not managing their careers better.

I don’t think tiredness comes just from playing so much and the mental reserves it saps. It’s also the travelling, particularly to China, which can play havoc with the body clock.

Snooker players won’t get much sympathy I suspect from hard working people earning far less money but it is becoming a challenge in terms of how many events to play and when to take a backseat.

Then again, it’s nice to have a choice.

Hearn also said that he thought toilet breaks had become excessive. I agree with him, but this will be difficult to regulate.

Some players seem programmed to go out after every frame. Neil Robertson twice went out during frames during the World Championship.

However, snooker players do drink a lot of water, and nerves often lead to even more sipping for want of something to do.

You can’t guarantee when someone does or does not want the toilet. Referees maybe need to use their discretion in monitoring this.

Hearn’s point is a fair one: TV companies pay fortunes to televise snooker and don’t want to be looking at an empty arena or waiting ages for a player to return.

Intervals – which TV never asked for – at the Champion of Champions have been discarded to ensure continuous play.

But...when you gotta go, you gotta go.


Anonymous said...

is this tournament because their is no premier league or will the premier league retuirn..regardless this is great news for snooker in the uk..fantastic actually abd burnout is just an excuse sure most players had a week of before the championship to relax and practice ..its just all players are match sharp and its showing in the results so far..sure murphy and ding have played in most and their their and bingham has played in everything..will this tournament be on eurosport also??

Anonymous said...

Any idea who the 16 are? There will be 11 winners this season, including the Masters, assuming this year's World Champion isn't one of the season's ranking event winners.

I'm guessing Martin Gould will get a place because of his CL victory, but who are the other four?

Anonymous said...

You know how they are gonna fill the draw up when there are no 16 different winners (which seems quite likely...)? Finalists? Ranking? Best haircuts?

Dave H said...

I certainly think it's an opportunity to invite Reanne Evans, the women's world champion, which will make good on the sentiments expressed at the recent ladies day. The exact make up and criteria is yet to be revealed.

Ronnie said...

mental note: keep playing this great and easily go on to lift that trophy for a fifth time.

Ray said...

I don't agree with everything BH does but one thing you can say is he talks the talk and definitely walks the walk. More fantastic news for snooker.

As for this toilet break farce, it really is getting out of hand. Going out when the frame is in progress seems to have been started by Robertson and now this week Bingham and King have done it. In tennis play must be continuous with only the odd exception. Sooner this rule applies to snooker the better otherwise players will be seeing how far they can push it and they will end up taking the proverbial all the time.

Anonymous said...

Reanne Evans? The player who didn't win a single match in her season on the tour? Why don't we just invite Jonny Evans?

Anonymous said...

King overdid the toilet breaks and it didn't do him any good (he tried the same thing against Brecel in the qualifiers last year - he also lost there so I'm not sure why he thinks its a good tactic).

One might suggest this is double standards by Hearn - or should that be 'standard doubles' as that is what the players are going off stage to down between legs in PDC Darts events. And some of them go off the stage between every leg (I'm pretty sure there is no limit on that in the PDC).

Coventry Arena is a good venue and I hope Bazza promotes this right and shifts or gives away the tickets. I'm sorry but I don't think Reanne Evans should get an invite - nor should Jimmy or Steve - surely it should be tournament winners with any spaces taken by top 16 players without a win?

pat said...

The call of nature trumps all forms of legislation Dave,surprised you agree with the chairman on this one.

Anonymous said...

It's great that there is another tournament in the UK, but Barry is showing his age. This Champion of Champions was doing the rounds in the early 80s, and it was dropped after Steve Davis derided the event.

This was a chance to be innovative: why not do what Ronnie O'Sullivan suggested a few years ago and run an event just the exciting players? Maybe they could have run a phone-in during the world championship so you could vote a player in. Or if you want some female participation why not run a multi-discipline event and have a hybrid snooker/pool tournament, and bring in some of the old top ladies players such as Alison & Kelly Fisher?

This Champion of Champions is going to serve up Walden, Selby, Hawkins and Carter for our "entertainment", talk about snooze-ker!

John Michael White said...

To produce top-quality players a potential pool of talent needs two things - enough of the pool to be encouraged to try the game, and professionalism to allow those any good at it to develop their skills full time.

The Womens' game seems chicken and egg at the minute. Standards won't improve until there's a chance for some to do it full time, they won't get chance to do it full time while the standards are as low....Dave's idea would seem a great way to try and encourage things along in the right direction.

It's impossible to over-estimate just how big it could be for snooker's profile and standing if there could just be a couple of women on the tour with a chance of qualifying for tournaments. Some like to portray snooker as a backwards sport, but what could be more progressive than the sight of men and women competing equally?

We talk about overseas markets, but here's a huge untapped market right here on our doorstep. Snooker would be daft to ignore it altogether.

Daniel said...

re breaks between frames.

Shouldn't there just be an official break of a fixed duration? Much as in tennis, 90 seconds between sets.

This would surely help broadcasters in knowing how many adverts to run between frames and to give players the hurry up if they go backstage.

Anonymous said...

I did send the WPBSA a suggestion a few years back of into two or three wide cards into events on a handicap basis just to liven thi gs up, i suggested the two to women players plus a top local player where the event was held, i had a polite responce but clearly they felt this a bonkers idea at the time, i still think this would create a lot more interest but im o ly a spectator of 25yrs who can see the interest in snooker dwindling so what do i know.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with the champs line up, big yawn for me.

Keith said...

No shot clock, what a relief. It simply kills the tension that is one of snooker's selling points. It should only ever apply once a player is on a break.

The long final is interesting... but hopefully not too late a finish.

@Quick_asyoulike said...

on the surface toilets breaks do seem annoying. But why is that so ? is it really so bad to wait literally a couple of minutes between frames ? people have paid to watch or sit down to a snooker match, where is their hurry ? let's just enjoy it while it lasts.

I felt the King games worked better on Eurosport than most other matches, at least not missing the first couple of shots after breaking off so this must play into broadcasters hands.

Anonymous said...

I think they should do away with intervals altogether and have a 6 minute toilet break every 3 frames.

that way, if youre in the crowd and need a jimmy riddle you can go and come back before the frame next frame is underway...in most cases

Anonymous said...

11:55 yeah you are right, we don't want to see walden and hawkins 2 players contesting a SF at this year's WCH,one of them will be a finalist, with his chance to win .Of course, nobody wants to see them

Anonymous said...

any time a player leaves the arena when its not a MSI, then they get "fined" £100 which WS collect and pay to a charity at years end.

if I was at my work and said, sorry boss I drank a lot of fluid as I was dry and had to go to the toilet 7 times, so my docket is an hour short, he would soon get peed off if I done it more than one day.