REIGNING International Championship winner John Higgins kicks off his defence of the major ranking title on Sunday when he takes on Sydney Wilson.
Higgins won his 28th major ranking title last year when he beat David Gilbert 10-5 to land the mega £125,000 top prize in Daqing.
Victory for Higgins in the best of eleven frames encounter tomorrow will see him then face fellow Scot Eden Sharav in the first round proper.
Also having to play their preliminary round encounter on the opening day is China’s number one star Ding Junhui who faces Mitchell Mann, recent English Open winner Liang Wenbo who takes on Mei Xiwen and world champion Mark Selby who meets fellow Englishman Paul Davison.
Big names competing in the first round proper on Sunday after winning their qualifying match in Preston at the end of last month include Neil Robertson who meets Oliver Lines, and Shaun Murphy who plays Robin Hull.
Ronnie O’Sullivan begins his bid to win the International Championship for the first time on Monday when he meets Xiao Guodong and Judd Trump, who has been in the last two major ranking finals this season, will begin his tournament with a match up against the winner of a wildcard match between Ian Burns and Yuan Sijun.
FIRST ROUND DRAW (Last 64)
John HIGGINS/Sydney WILSON vs Eden SHARAV
Jak JONES vs Jimmy ROBERTSON
Martin GOULD vs Mark JOYCE
Anthony McGILL vs Zhou YUELONG
Matthew STEVENS vs Chris WAKELIN
David GRACE vs Ding JUNHUI/Mitchell MANN
Fergal O’BRIEN vs Graeme DOTT
Ken DOHERTY vs Ricky WALDEN
Judd TRUMP vs Ian BURNS/Yuan SIJUN
Zhao XINTONG vs Tom FORD
Mark WILLIAMS vs Wang YUCHEN/Xu SI
David GILBERT vs James WATTANA
Sam BAIRD vs Michael WHITE
Akani SONGSERMSAWAD vs Marco FU
Mike DUNN vs Yan BINGTAO
Robin HULL vs Shaun MURPHY
Stuart BINGHAM vs Ross MUIR/Zhang JIANKANG
Luca BRECEL vs Dominic DALE
Ali CARTER vs Robbie WILLIAMS
Stephen MAGUIRE vs Rod LAWLER
Kurt MAFLIN vs Matthew SELT
Xiao GUODONG vs Ronnie O’SULLIVAN
Jamie JONES vs Michael HOLT
Stuart CARRINGTON vs Daniel WELLS
Neil ROBERTSON vs Oliver LINES
Anthony HAMILTON vs Gary WILSON
Joe PERRY vs Andrew HIGGINSON
Ryan DAY vs Aditya MEHTA
Tian PENGFEI/Chen ZIFAN vs Liang WENBO vs Mei XI WEN
Li HANG vs Lee WALKER
Mark KING vs John ASTLEY
Alfie BURDEN vs Mark SELBY/Paul DAVISON