Six Reds World Championship 2019 – Draw and Format

Worldsnooker has yesterday published the draw and format for the Six Reds World Championship 2019

The official opening press conference for the SangSom World 6 Red Championship 2019 took place today at the Centara Grand Hotel at Central Plaza Lardprao, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The draw for the group stage was made…

Click here for the draw

Kyren Wilson will be defending the title, with many other stars in the field including John Higgins, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Ding Junhui, Stuart Bingham, Jimmy White and top women players Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee.

SIX Reds 2019

The event runs from September 2-7.

In other news, they also announced that Peter Ebdon has withdrawn from the World Open. He is replaced in the draw by Ross Bullman.

Shanghai Masters 2019 – Draw and Format

Worldsnooker has published the draw and format for the 2019 Shanghai Masters

The draw for the 2019 Shanghai Masters has been made.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Ronnie O’Sullivan will be defending the title at the £751,000 invitation event which runs from September 9 to 15.

The field is the world’s top 16 players, plus the next four highest ranked Chinese players, plus four amateurs: two from the CBSA China Tour and two from China’s Amateur Masters series.

Unless something very unexprected happens, Ronnie, the defending champion, will face Ali Carter on September 10, in the evening. There are no easy matches in this one!

Good luck Ronnie!

Shanghai Masters 2019 Launch

Ronnie to play at the World Open 2019 in Yushan

Now there is a surprise … a good one!

Yesterday Worldsnooker published the following:

The draw for the 2019 Yushan World Open has been made.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The qualifying round will run from October 2-5 at the Barnsley Metrodome, followed by the main event in Yushan, China from October 28 to November 3.

It’s a strong field for the £772,000 world ranking event with Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, John Higgins and Neil Robertson among the top stars in the draw.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to see Ronnie in any of the Chinese events other than the Shanghai Masters this season. But here he is…

Of course, there is the fact that he doesn’t need to play in the qualifiers, because, the defending champion, Mark Williams has not entered, and Judd Trump being both World Champion and World n°1, Ronnie, as n°2  has his first round match held-over. He will play Dominic Dale at the venue.

Also the trip is not too bad, especially if he choses to stop in Hong Kong for something.

If he can have a decent run there, it will also ease the pressure for the rest of the season. Last year he absolutely needed to get to the very latter stages at the UK Championship to qualify for the first of the Coral Cup events. It was a lot of pressure.

Regarding Mark Williams, it does comes as a surprise that he has not entered, although he tweeted this three days ago.

Mark Williams Semi Retires 10.08.2019

Maybe Ronnie knew that he didn’t intend to enter …

Rules Revision

Jan Verhaas has just been on twitter announcing that the new rule book is ready and will come in operation at the China Championship Qualifier on August 15, 2019. This is a project on which himself and other experienced referees,  have been working hard for three years. Here is the announcement.

New WPBSA Rulebook Published

  • 12th August 2019

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is today pleased to announce the launch of a new version of the Official Rules of Snooker and English Billiards.

The new edition represents the most significant rules update in our sport in many years and will take effect on the World Snooker Tour from the start of the China Championship qualifiers on 15 August 2019.

Background

Overseen by the WPBSA Rules Committee chaired by Jan Verhaas, in consultation with experienced referees around the world, the update adds clarity and consistency of wording to the existing rules, as well as making a small number of key changes.

With snooker and billiards now played in more countries than ever before, the revised rules have also been written to be easier to translate into other languages.

Jan Verhaas, WPBSA Director and Senior Referee said: “Today is a proud day for everybody involved in this monumental project of revising the rules. Players and former players, professional and amateur referees from all over the world as well as referee examiners and tutors have worked relentlessly over the past two years to produce a revised Rulebook for the games of Snooker and English Billiards and we are confident that we have created a Rulebook to suit the need of our ever developing worldwide sport.”

Application

The first event on the World Snooker Tour to be played under the new rules will be the China Championship qualifiers on 15 August 2019.

This date has been selected out of respect for both the professional calendar and the international amateur calendar, as the first opportunity to introduce the new rules outside of the staging of ongoing amateur competitions or between the qualification and venue stages of a professional event.

Guidance

All referees who will be officiating at the China Championships qualifiers will be invited to participate in a full seminar by Jan Verhaas on 14 August, who will also be on site during the event for the sole purpose of answering any queries that players may have.

Learn more about the Rules Committee and access the full rules here.

I browsed through the explanatory document – quickly – and through section 4 of the rules. There is one change that I find interesting: deliberate slow play and time wasting are no more seen as “unsporting conduct”, it’s a separate issue and the way they are tackled is different. If I understood correctly, in case of unsporting conduct – including early concession – the rule stays the same as before. In case of repeated offence: first a warning, next awarding a frame to the offending player’s opponent, next, awarding the match. In case of time wasting though, the offending player will be warned first, then if they persist, their opponent will be awarded a frame, and if they still persist their opponent will be awarded another frame … etc. This without further warning.

I think it’s an interesting change because it may help referees to take the decision to indeed act in case they suspect time wasting. It’s a bit less “radical” than the previous situation where after “docking” the offending player a frame, the only options were either to just ignore the situation or to terminate the match, which of course is very harsh and definitive. Referees are always a bit uneasy with the “time wasting” issue as so many factors can come into play that can cause a player to slow down or even, in extreme situations, to find themselves unable at actually decide/play/deliver the shot.

Judd Trump wins the International Championship 2019

Congratulations to Judd Trump, the WSIC 2019 Champion

IntChamps2019-TrumpWinner

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

First session:

World Champion Judd Trump will carry a 6-3 advantage into the evening session of the International Championship final against Shaun Murphy in Daqing.

The pair are fighting it out for a £175,000 top prize and will play the best of 19 encounter to a conclusion in this evening’s session.

Trump is making his first appearance on the circuit since winning a maiden Crucible title back in May. He’s already picked up a significant accolade this week, having secured a return to the world number one spot for the first time since March 2013, deposing Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The Ace in the Pack came flying out of the traps this afternoon. Breaks of 58, 104 and 58 helped him to assume a 5-0 lead.

However, 2005 World Champion Murphy provided strong resistance in the second half of the session to keep his chances alive. He got his first frame on the board with a break of 87. The Magician then claimed a tight seventh frame to reduce his arrears to 5-2.

A break of 74 helped Trump to regain a four-frame advantage. However, Murphy responded well with a contribution of 79 to end the session three behind at 6-3.

Second session:

World Champion Judd Trump produced a scintillating display to beat Shaun Murphy 10-3 and win the International Championship in Daqing.

The blistering nature of Trump’s victory stamps home his current dominance of the sport. The 29-year-old was equally impressive in a 9-4 demolition of three-time World Champion Mark Selby in the semi-finals. Trump compiled 12 centuries in total across the week. This is the 12th ranking event victory of his career.

The Ace in the Pack had already secured a return to the world number one spot, deposing Ronnie O’Sullivan by reaching the quarter-finals. It is the first time he has topped the world rankings since March 2013. His place as world number one will now be solidified further after picking up the £175,000 top prize.

This was Trump’s first appearance on the circuit since winning a maiden world title back in May. Trump clinched the Crucible crown with a stunning 18-9 defeat of John Higgins. After his success this week he is now the first player in 11 years to win in his first outing after becoming World Champion. The last person to achieve the feat was Ronnie O’Sullivan at the 2008 Northern Ireland Trophy.

Defeat will be a difficult one for 2005 World Champion Murphy. However, he goes home with the consolation of £75,000. Murphy’s performance secured qualification for the upcoming Shanghai Masters. The top 16 in the world rankings at the end of this event get a place and Murphy’s position in that elite group had come under threat after a difficult season in 2018/19.

Trump came into this evening with a three-frame cushion, having secured a 6-3 lead in the afternoon’s first session. When they emerged for the concluding exchanges, Trump made light work of his opponent.

Breaks of 80, 63, 102 and 62 in consecutive frames helped him to take the first four of the evening and storm home to the 10-3 win.

“After the World Championship it was always going to be difficult,” said world number one Trump. “I went away and prepared as a World Champion should do. It is very easy to get a little bit carried away after wining at the Crucible and to drop off a little bit. So to get my foot back on the gas and win in the first event shows just how hard I’ve worked in the off season.

“You never know what is around the corner. I could go out early at the Shanghai Masters and go through a bad period. As long as I keep preparing how I have done, putting in the work and being mentally right out there then there is no reason why I can’t keep winning. Sooner or later everyone has a bad spell. Hopefully mine isn’t for another ten years.”

Murphy said: “It was very disappointing. I didn’t really feature in the game. Judd swamped me, that was how it felt. I was fighting against the tide the whole game. He is World Champion and world number one and today he played just like that. I made a few mistakes here or there, but we aren’t robots.

“To get to the final and be in with a shout of taking home the trophy, it has been a fabulous week. It is one that I will put into perspective and take the positives from. I’m a bit sore at the moment, but from where I have been in the last 12 months with my game it has been a great start to the new season.”

And the trophy ceremony….

2019 International Championship: trophy presentation of the Judd Trump – Shaun Murphy match

Taking away nothing from Judd’s achievement and merit this week – he played extremely well, especially in the final rounds – I still think he was helped by the fact that he didn’t face a single top 16 player until the semi finals. Of course, you can only beat who is in front of you. Yet, although Judd was scoring heavily when in the balls, in the early rounds he was giving his opponents a fair share of opportunities. Obviously he came to this tournament full of confidence and well prepared, but, not having played competitively since early May, he wasn’t match sharp. The way the draw panned out gave him the opportunity to build up.

Shaun Murphy on the other hand, arrived in Daqing low on confidence and had to beat Yan Bingtao, the last ranking event winner , Neil Robertson, Graeme Dott, two former World Champions, and Mark Allen, the defending champion to get to the final. He had it a lot harder. Getting into the final, he was probably a bit tired. Despite those wins, to his own admission, his confidence still wasn’t great (listen to yesterday’s postmatch). He needed a good start today and didn’t get it.

In my opinion, those factors explain, in part at least, why the final was so one-sided.

As for Mark Allen, the defending champion, he played very well in the early rounds, and I thought that he had a very decent chance to defend  his title. But he collapsed in the semi final and, personnaly, I believe that a lack of fitness has something to do with it. It’s extremely difficult to get back fit for someone of Mark’s size, but, surely there are people out there that would be able to help, And I’m thinking doctors working with sportpersons and certified nutritionists, not self proclaimed fitness gurus.

 

International Championship 2019 – Day 7 – Shaun Murphy joins Judd Trump in the Final

Shaun Murphy celebrated his 37th birthday with a win over his close friend Mark Allen.

IntChamps2019-Murphy37

Here is the report by Worldsnooker on the first session:

Shaun Murphy took control of his International Championship semi-final with defending champion Mark Allen by establishing a 6-2 advantage after the first session in Daqing.

They will play the best of 17 match to a conclusion in this evening’s session, with the winner going on to face Judd Trump in the final for the £175,000 top prize.

This afternoon’s opening exchanges threw the form book out the window in terms of how the players have fared this week.

2018 Masters winner Allen came in to this match having won 30 of the 38 frames he has contested in the event. By contrast 2005 World Champion Murphy has had his metal under pressure tested with two deciding frames and two 6-4 wins.

Despite that Englishman Murphy, who is celebrating his 37th birthday today, stormed out of the blocks to pull clear of his opponent. Breaks of 92, 76, 84, 54 and 88 helped him to establish a 6-0 advantage.

However, Northern Ireland’s Allen showed great resiliency in the final two frames of the session to keep his chances alive. A break of 66 saw him snatch the seventh, before a sublime run of 117 saw him take the final frame to end four behind at 6-2.

And here is the report by Worldsnooker on the second session

Shaun Murphy survived a Mark Allen fightback to win 9-6 and reach the final of the International Championship in Daqing.

2005 World Champion Murphy faces current Crucible king Judd Trump in tomorrow’s final, where the pair will do battle over the best of 19 frames for the £175,000 top prize.

It will be Murphy’s first appearance in a ranking final since losing the title match at the Scottish Open back in December against today’s opponent Allen by a 9-7 scoreline.

This week’s impressive run has been much needed for Murphy, who had been under threat of falling out of the top 16 after struggling to nine first round exits last season. His performance in Daqing has solidified his position in the world rankings and ensured qualification for the upcoming Shanghai Masters, with the cut off at the end of this week’s event.

Defending champion Allen lifted the title last year with a 10-5 defeat of Neil Robertson in the final. The Northern Irishman will have to settle for a semi-final exit this time around.

Murphy had put himself in a strong position after a fine first session display had him 6-2 up coming into this evening. However, Allen had given himself hope by claiming the final two frames of the session, having trailed 6-0.

As they got back underway, Murphy extended his lead to 7-2 by taking a tense ninth frame on the colours. From that point Allen began to ramp up the pressure. He claimed two on the bounce to close within three at 7-4.

Murphy then moved one from victory. However, a fine contribution of 94 kept Allen in the contest and made the score 8-5.

A dramatic 14th frame then came down to the pink. Murphy broke down on a run of 52 after he failed to get good position on the second last ball. A safety battle ensued and eventually Murphy left the pink at Allen’s mercy. He deposited it and the black to make it 8-6.

Murphy then finally got himself over the line thanks to a break of 66 which put the seal on his 9-6 victory.

Mark Allen had been in great shape all week, but, unfortunately for him, his form deserted him today. Form isn’t a tap the players can turn at will and today wasn’t Mark’s day. He deserves a lot of credit for the way he fought back, but victory never looked likely to me as there were far too many unexpected mistakes even in the second session.

Shaun Murphy is playing a lot better than he did for most of last season, but still looks vulnerable. When a player goes through a long lasting bad spell, it damages their confidence and rebuilding it usually takes time.

Something he confirmed in his post-match

So, this is our line-up for tomorrow:

IntChamps2019-FinalLineUp

I think that Shaun Murphy needs a really good start tomorrow. He has the game to give Judd Trump a serious challenge – he showed this in the first six frames of today’s match – but he can’t afford his opponent – who is brimming with confidence – to take a big lead in the first session. Judd Trump will be favourite but hopefully we will have a real match to enjoy, and not just a one man show.

The “man in the middle” … will be a woman. Indeed Lyu Xilin – Queenie Lyu – wil be the Final’s referee and it’s her first ranking final.

She was interviewed by Worldsnooker:

Good luck Queenie, and enjoy your moment!

 

 

International Championship 2019 – Day 6 – Judd Trump is first through to the Final

Judd Trump beat Mark Selby by 9-4 to book his place to the Final of the 2019 International Championship in Daqing.

Based on the way both had played in earlier rounds, I expected Mark Selby to cause Judd Trump problems. Judd had scored more centuries than anyone else in the tournament, but he had also been guilty a countless unexpected errors, especially when the frames became scrappy. Scrappy frames are precisely Mark Selby’s forte. He doesn’t mind playing them and is usually very strong at winning them. This is why I thought that Mark started slightly favourite in this one. I was very wrong.

If anything though, the first mini-session only confirmed me in my opinion. Judd started with a century, but found himself 3-1 down at MSI, as Mark was able to control the frames as soon as his opponent failed to finish them off in one visit.

I’m not sure what kind of “tea” Judd had at MSI but he came back another player. The first frame after the MSI proved to be the turning point of the match. Mark looked set to go 4-1 ahead, but Judd fought hard and managed to take it on the final black. This boosted his confidence whilst it clearly depleted Mark’s confidence. From there Judd applied more and more pressure on his opponent and finished the session 5-3 up.

2019 International Championship: Judd Trump steal – Mark Selby

Here is Worldsnooker report on the first session

Judd Trump came from behind to wrest control of his International Championship semi-final from Mark Selby and lead 5-3 after the first session in Daqing.

World Champion Trump is currently riding the crest of a wave, having secured a return to the world number one spot earlier in the week with his last 16 win over Joe Perry. His opponent Selby was ousted from the top of the world rankings for the first time in four years by Ronnie O’Sullivan back in March.

Following an opening frame century run of 113 from Trump, it was then world number six Selby who seized the early initiative. Three frames on the bounce saw the Leicester cueist move 3-1 ahead at the mid-session interval.

When they returned, Trump crucially claimed the fifth frame on the final black to reduce his deficit to one. Further breaks of 60 and 97 helped him on the way to taking a further three on the bounce to secure his 5-3 cushion.

The second session pretty much started the way the first had ended. Judd looked more confident with every shot, Mark looked more a beaten man with every unsuccesful long pot or failed safety. He managed to save some pride by taking the last before the MSI, but it’s as good as it got for him. On resumption Judd promptly finished the match aided by two half centuries.

This is Worldsnooker report on the second session

World Champion Judd Trump produced a dominant display to defeat Mark Selby 9-4 and reach the final of the International Championship in Daqing.

Trump, 29, now progresses to the final in his first appearance on the professional circuit since lifting a maiden World Championship title in May.

The Ace the Pack will go on to face either defending champion Mark Allen or Shaun Murphy in Sunday’s final over the best of 19 frames for the £175,000 top prize.

Trump, who won the inaugural International Championship back in 2012, has already secured a significant accolade this week having ensured his return to the world number one spot, following his last 16 defeat of Joe Perry.

Selby, a two-time winner of the International Championship, was deposed as world number one by Ronnie O’Sullivan, having held the position for four years consecutively.

The opening session saw Trump emerge with a 5-3 advantage, despite having trailed 3-1. A blistering display this evening allowed Trump to pull clear and ease to the line.

Trump produced an imperious spell of break building, firing in 440 unanswered points to leave three-time World Champion Selby trailing in his wake. That included consecutive breaks of 108, 97 and 116 this evening, as he claimed the first three frames to move 8-3 up.

Breaks of 50 and 59 helped Selby to take the match to the mid-session, but he still trailed 8-4. When they returned Trump swiftly finished off the match to run out a 9-4 victor.

If Judd plays that way, he will be hard to beat on Sunday.

He gave this very good post-match interview: