Six Red snooker returns to our screens this week as the Six Red World Championship got under way today in Thailand.
At the tail end of the much maligned Sir Rodney Walker era in the sport, the introduction of the six reds format was seen as the potential initiative to bring the traditional sport into the 21st Century.
Of course, all of the so-called “traditionalists”, and a significant amount of keen observers or rare passersby simply knew that what the sport of snooker really needed was an influx of tournaments and hefty financial backing.
With Walker unable to provide either of those key ingredients, he was finally ousted and Barry Hearn was the saviour who was drafted in.
Two years on and the regular 15 reds snooker, by all accounts, is thriving again with positives outweighing negatives in terms of going forward into the rest of this decade.
In turn, with the calendar almost full with regular events and qualifying rounds to be competed in, the need for a six reds circuit has dwindled and it is fortunate at all that it has found a place for this season alone.
It is good, though, that it is has. Because while six reds will never prove as popular to snooker as Twenty20 has done with cricket, it is a refreshing format that can only help keep the annual calendar alive with interest.
As it is, there are far too many mundane, formulaic events – mainly deriving from China’s obsession with the same old system of wildcard round; best of 9; 9; 9; 11; 19. Multiply these events by five and you get monotony and boredom!
Six reds has one thing going for it, particularly because there is only one major tournament sanctioned, and that is that it is distinguishable from all the others – much to the same effect as the contrasting Power Snooker and Sky Shoot-Out.
There is nothing really to add to how six reds works only that the triangle holds only six reds instead of 15, therefore ensuring that the highest break is 75 rather than 147.
There are a few variants to the miss rule and a player cannot snooker behind a nominated colour at any times, eliminating the roll-up (a simple but ingenious idea), but apart from that everything is as you were.
And there is a lot of interest over in Bangkok for this edition of a World Championship with nine of the Top 16 players in the world rankings taking part, including Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Mark Williams.
Also in attendance are legends Jimmy White and Steve Davis while Ken Doherty and Rodney Goggins – Ireland’s topped ranked amateur – have also made the trip.
With 48 players from all over the world competing, including professionals and amateurs alike, 32 players will advance to the knock-out phase following a routine round robin stage consisting of eight groups with six players each.
Indeed, Doherty and Goggins are both almost already assured of their places in the last 32 after winning both their opening bouts during today’s first piece of action. A further victory from either of their next three encounters should be more than enough.
Eurosport will be covering the event every morning which will see a new world champion crowned on Saturday.