The dates and format of this year’s World Championship Qualifying event have been announced this afternoon.
World Snooker Tour have confirmed the Crucible qualifiers will be staged between July 21 and 28 – with the World Championship itself to be played starting from July 31.
The qualifiers will be held English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Much uncertainty has been cast around the qualifiers given the coronavirus pandemic which before this month halted snooker, and other sports, across the world.
But a big change will see most matches – excluding the final round – be best of 11 frames rather than the traditional 19. Only the final round of qualifiers will see players have to win ten frames to secure their place in the World Championship.
As previously announced, this year’s qualifiers will go back to an old format where players come into the qualifying event based on their ranking position. This means, as has been the case previously, all players will not have win the same amount of matches to qualify.
So this is how it works…
The 16 players invited by WPBSA will join players seeded 81-128 in Round One. Those 64 players play each other, with the 32 winners going into Round Two.
Round Two: those 32 winners will face players seeded 49-80.
Round Three: those 32 winners will face players seeded 17-48.
Round Four: those 32 winners play each other, with the 16 winners going through to the Crucible to face the top 16 seeds.
World Snooker Tour say playing the first three rounds with a best of 11 frame format allows those matches to be completed in a single session and therefore minimises the risk of breaching social distancing guidelines for the safety of players, officials and crew.
Details of the format of Round Four, known as Judgement Day, will be released soon.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to stage the qualifying rounds at the English Institute of Sport as we know from many years of experience that it is a fantastic venue. We look forward to working with the venue to ensure that the health and safety of our players and officials is the highest priority throughout the event.
“We have already proved that we are at the forefront of sport by staging events in the current conditions.”