The Sangsom Six Red World Championship gets under way on Monday with a high-quality field assembled in Thailand.
A total of 32 players from all around the world will compete in the short format event, which was first staged in Bangkok almost a decade ago.
Ricky Walden won the inaugural staging when it was known as the Six Red Snooker International and the Englishman is one of five former champions in the mix in 2017.
The field has been divided into eight groups of four competitors each, with the top two of each group advancing to the knock-out stages following the early round-robin phase.
Walden is in one of the hardest groups on paper with 2015 champion and home favourite Thepchaiya Un-Nooh featuring alongside Kyren Wilson and former European amateur champion Kristjan Helgason.
Defending champion Ding Junhui is in Group A with Tom Ford, Lu Haotian, and Noppon Saengkham – one of six Thai cuemen in action on home soil.
Mark Davis, a three-time world champion under this guise, will meet Liang Wenbo, Michael Holt, and Atthasit Mahitthi.
Davis has twice won this event and also landed a separately staged World Championship in Killarney in 2009.
Meanwhile, 2014 winner Stephen Maguire will play last year’s runner-up Stuart Bingham, Akani Songsermsawad and Indian amateur Kamal Chawla.
Among the other notable names in action are Mark Williams and James Wattana, who have been paired together in Group F, and Group H’s Marco Fu and Michael White – winner of the recent Paul Hunter Classic.
Ryan Day, Anthony McGill, David Gilbert, and Martin Gould will similarly harbour hopes of going a long way.
Six Red snooker first materialised around a decade ago and was promoted as the sport’s version of cricket’s Twenty20.
The theoretically quicker frames were supposed to breed fresh life into a sport that, at the time, was suffering a slow and seemingly inevitable demise.
However, with the influx of new tournaments and prize money in the Barry Hearn era, the need for gimmicks and variations became less important.
That said, while a six red tour is certainly not sustainable, one or two tournaments staged each year does add a different dimension to the calendar and ensures that it isn’t laden with the monotonous ranking events that are churned out and are so reliant on best of sevens.
The 32 players will surely be taking it seriously with plenty of money on offer and the opportunity to gain some silverware in a packed schedule this campaign.
Live coverage will be provided on the Eurosport Player and selected betting websites.
Categories: Snooker News