It’s already the eighth month of the year and we can begin to look forward to more snooker in August as the new season gathers some momentum.
The Riga Masters launched the 2019/20 campaign at the end of July, with Yan Bingtao emerging with a maiden ranking title and becoming only the third Chinese competitor to achieve the feat.
It’s to Yan’s homeland where the players head to next and, even though there’s plenty of snooker in August to look forward to, this event represents the only ranking event scheduled this month.
International Championship (Aug 4-11)
The International Championship is back for an eighth successive year, having first been launched way back in 2012 when Judd Trump emerged with the inaugural crown.
All eyes will be on Trump again in 2019 but for very different reasons with the Englishman set to be announced into an arena as the sport’s newest world champion for the first time in his career.
Only Ronnie O’Sullivan of the top stable of stars are absent from Daqing, with the event getting under on Sunday and featuring the likes of Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, and Neil Robertson.
There is £175,000 on offer for the champion and, with a longer format utilised for this tournament, there are sure to be plenty of exciting matches to follow.
Paul Hunter Classic (Aug 24-25)
Nearer the end of this month, the Paul Hunter Classic trophy will be contested for again in Furth, Germany.
However, for the first time since 2015 the popular pro-am will not be played under the ranking event guise.
Indeed, you’d have to go all the way back to 2009 when the Paul Hunter Classic didn’t produce ranking points of any kind, having previously acted as a leg on the minor-ranking PTC series.
Despite being one of the most well-attended and well respected events staged each year, the Paul Hunter Classic was never able to match the bulging cheque books of other tournaments like the aforementioned International Championship.
It thus suffered from a lack of entries from the marquee names in recent seasons, which was a shame, especially because of the snooker legend that the tournament honours.
Still, at least it has survived in some form and there’ll still be interest from several sections to see who can join its impressive roll of honour that includes the likes of O’Sullivan, Selby, Trump, Shaun Murphy, and last year’s winner Kyren Wilson.
World Seniors Championship (Aug 15-18)
Another event to look forward to in the middle of the month is the World Seniors Championship.
This year, a landmark deal was struck with the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to bring the World Seniors Tour’s flagship title to snooker’s spiritual home.
The likes of Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry will be in action, alongside reigning champion Aaron Canavan.
White and Hendry had countless battles at the Crucible in their heyday and have been placed on opposite sides of the draw, meaning a mouthwatering repeat final between the pair could be in store.
Simultaneous to the World Seniors Championship will be another quick tournament at the Crucible on the World Women’s Tour.
The Women’s Tour Championship on August 17th will ensure women’s snooker makes its first return to the Crucible in 16 years.
Back on the Main Tour, the China Championship qualifiers will follow the International Championship.
Finally, the second season of the Challenge Tour that provides more opportunities for amateurs to compete will commence in Germany.