The International Championship qualifiers got under way on Wednesday at the Metrodome in Barnsley.
Each player must win one match in South Yorkshire in order to ensure their safe passage to the main event in Daqing later in October.
Despite the top 64 being seeded against the bottom 64 in the world rankings, a couple of the marquee players were forced to squeeze through in deciding frame thrillers.
2014 runner-up Mark Allen just about denied Scott Donaldson, aided by a superb 142 in the seventh frame, to record a 6-5 triumph while Indian Open champion Michael White was also taken the distance by Alfie Burden before scrambling over the winning line.
Allen will meet friend and fellow Northern Irishman Joe Swail in China after the veteran earned himself a 6-5 triumph of his own, coming from 5-3 down to earn a narrow success over Allan Taylor.
All in all, most of the higher ranked competitors recorded their expected wins, with the exception of one or two.
Ireland’s David Morris was downed 6-3 by the up-and-coming Englishman Sanderson Lam, while Scottish stalwart Alan McManus lost to countryman Ross Muir – a player ranked almost 100 spots beneath him in the standings.
There were less problems for the likes of Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Martin Gould and recent Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson, though, as they all advanced unscathed.
On the Chinese front, Cao Yupeng and Zhou Yuelong will be booking flights back home after wins over Liam Highfield and Sam Baird respectively, but Zhang Yong was beaten 6-3 by Andrew Higginson.
Elsewhere, there were victories for Six Red world champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Ian Burns and Chris Wakelin.