A NEW big-money invitational event is to be held for the first time this November which will feature the most lucrative prize in any tournament outside the UK.
Bosses of World Snooker have added the new Evergrande China Championship to an already busy November calendar which will see the winner net a jackpot of £200,000.
The first China Championship will be held between November 1 and 5 at Guangzhou and will feature 16 of the world’s best players as a non-ranking event.
But in the next three years the event will be upgraded to a full ranking event comprising a flat draw of 128 players with the winner netting £150,000.
The event will be the fifth major ranking event to be held in China, adding to the Shanghai Masters, International Championship, World Open and the China Open.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are thrilled to be working with the promoter Evergrande and the CBSA (China Billiards and Snooker Association) on this brand new event.
“Our global calendar gets busier every season and this is a major addition.
“For the invited players this time it’s an incredible opportunity to play a big tournament in a new city with the chance to earn a huge top prize – the biggest we’ve ever had in Asia. And from next year it’s a full ranking event open to all tour players.
“Snooker in China goes from strength to strength, we now have five major tournaments there this season and we’re thrilled to be going to Guangzhou for the first time. Alongside our partners in China we’re creating a very bright future for our sport.”
The first edition will comprise the world’s top ten ranked players – after the Shanghai Masters – along with the next four-players from the separate one-year ranking list, and the field to be made up by two players nominated by the China Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA).
A place in the Champion of Champions is up for the grabs for the winner which will run the following week in Coventry.
The news was announced less than 48 hours before the start of the Shanghai Masters, which starts on Monday.
The new competition completes a packed line-up of events this November which now features four major events including the China Championship, Champion of Champions, , the Irish Open and the opening stages of the UK Championship.