The 2023 International Championship commences on Sunday in Tianjin with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Luca Brecel, and Judd Trump in the draw.
The latter is bidding to capture a fourth ranking title in a row following triumphs in the English, Wuhan, and Northern Ireland Opens in October.
Trump tallied £300,000 in prize money last month, which has also brought him into contention to reclaim top spot in the world rankings.
Indeed, there are four players who could end the International Championship as the world number one.
The seventh ranking event of the 2023/24 snooker season also provides players with a final opportunity to qualify for next week’s Champion of Champions.
International Championship Roll of Honour
2012: Judd Trump
2013: Ding Junhui
2014: Ricky Walden
2015: John Higgins
2016: Mark Selby
2017: Mark Selby
2018: Mark Allen
2019 Judd Trump
Prize, history, and format
Trump is the reigning champion, although the ranking event hasn’t been staged since before the pandemic.
The Englishman’s 10-3 victory over Shaun Murphy in the 2019 final represented his second success in the tournament having also won the inaugural staging back in 2012.
There were victories in between for Ding Junhui, Ricky Walden, John Higgins, and Mark Allen, in addition to back-to-back glories for Mark Selby.
All of those contenders are back in the draw for the 2023 edition of the International Championship.
A top prize worth £175,000 ensures that it will be one of the most sought after titles on the calendar so far.
Mark Allen requires that champion’s cheque to usurp the three players in front of him in the rankings and into first place for the first time in his career.
World champion Brecel and the in-form Trump are much closer to current world number one O’Sullivan in the standings.
With just £10,000 separating O’Sullivan in first and Trump in third, there are several permutations which could see the order change this week.
There are best-of-11 matches until the semi-finals, which will then see the format increase to two-session affairs played over 17 frames.
The International Championship final on Sunday will subsequently be contested across 19 frames.
2023 International Championship draw
Trump, O’Sullivan, and Brecel are among a small group of players who have had their round-of-128 fixtures held over to the venue.
Most of the other matches from that round have already been settled after a preliminary phase was held in Sheffield in September.
Trump is on a 20-game winning streak and will face either Gong Chenzhi or Wang Xinzhong – two young Chinese wildcards in the International Championship draw.
O’Sullivan renews a familiar rivalry with old foe Ken Doherty, while Brecel returns to action for the first time in a month against Daniel Womersley.
The likes of Allen, Selby, Murphy, and Neil Robertson are already beyond the first hurdle and begin their weeks in the round of 64.
Robertson will attempt to land silverware for the first time in 2023, and with it a place at next week’s prestigious Champion of Champions invitational in Bolton.
2023 International Championship
Round of 128 (bo11)
Judd Trump 6-0 Wang Xinzhong
Michael White 6-3 Himanshu Jain
Stephen Maguire 6-2 Peng Yisong
Joe O’Connor 6-1 Baipat Siripaporn
Ryan Day 6-1 Mink Nutcharut
Jackson Page 6-3 Liam Graham
Hossein Vafaei 6-1 Reanne Evans
Ross Muir 6-3 Wu Yize
Ben Woollaston 4-6 Wang Xinbo
Dylan Emery 6-3 Joe Perry
David Grace 6-2 Jenson Kendrick
John Higgins 6-1 Manasawin Phetmalaikul
Jordan Brown 6-5 Sean O’Sullivan
David Gilbert 6-0 James Cahill
Elliot Slessor 6-2 Hammad Miah
Kyren Wilson 6-3 Adam Duffy
Mark Selby 6-2 Muhammad Asif
Stuart Carrington 6-4 Xi Si
Jimmy Robertson 6-2 Anton Kazakov
Xiao Guodong 6-4 Ishpreet Singh Chadha
Marco Fu 6-4 Robert Milkins
Sanderson Lam 6-2 Andy Hicks
Tom Ford 6-4 Stan Moody
Cao Yupeng 6-0 Ashley Hugill
Jamie Jones 6-4 Ashley Carty
Ricky Walden 6-1 Jiang Jun
Tian Pengfei 6-3 Stephen Hendry
Barry Hawkins 6-0 Andrew Pagett
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-1 Andrew Higginson
Matthew Selt 6-1 Jimmy White
Oliver Lines 6-4 Lukas Kleckers
Mark Allen 6-2 Ma Hailong
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 Ken Doherty
Mark Joyce 6-3 Andy Lee
Si Jiahui 6-5 Julien Leclercq
Jak Jones 6-2 Aaron Hill
Jack Lisowski 6-3 He Guoqiang
Scott Donaldson 6-4 Louis Heathcote
Anthony McGill 6-3 Alfie Burden
Sam Craigie 6-1 Rory Thor
Matthew Stevens 6-4 Liu Hongyu
Stuart Bingham 6-0 Xing Zihao
John Astley 6-5 Jamie Clarke
Ali Carter 6-2 Allan Taylor
Anthony Hamilton 6-0 Bai Yulu
Zhou Yuelong 6-0 Martin O’Donnell
Daniel Wells 6-2 Liam Highfield
Neil Robertson 6-4 Ryan Thomerson
Shaun Murphy 6-1 Andres Petrov
Dominic Dale 6-3 Oliver Brown
Chris Wakelin 6-0 Dean Young
Lyu Haotian 6-5 David Lilley
Mark Williams 6-0 Rebecca Kenna
Zhang Anda 6-3 Alexander Ursenbacher
Noppon Saengkham 6-3 Victor Sarkis
Liam Pullen 6-4 Graeme Dott
Robbie Williams 6-3 Ben Mertens
Gary Wilson 6-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Long Zehuang 6-5 Yuan Sijun
Ding Junhui 6-1 Ian Burns
Pang Junxu 6-3 Zak Surety
Fan Zhengyi 6-2 Mostafa Dorgham
Mark Davis 6-4 Rod Lawler
Luca Brecel 6-2 Daniel Womersley
Round of 64 (bo11)
Judd Trump 6-0 Michael White
Stephen Maguire 6-4 Joe O’Connor
Ryan Day 6-5 Jackson Page
Hossein Vafaei 5-6 Ross Muir
Wang Xinbo 4-6 Dylan Emery
David Grace 1-6 John Higgins
Jordan Brown 6-3 David Gilbert
Elliot Slessor 2-6 Kyren Wilson
Mark Selby 6-2 Stuart Carrington
Jimmy Robertson 3-6 Xiao Guodong
Marco Fu 6-0 Sanderson Lam
Tom Ford 6-0 Cao Yupeng
Jamie Jones 3-6 Ricky Walden
Tian Pengfei 0-6 Barry Hawkins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-5 Matthew Selt
Oliver Lines 3-6 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Mark Joyce
Si Jiahui 4-6 Jak Jones
Jack Lisowski 6-4 Scott Donaldson
Anthony McGill 6-3 Sam Craigie
Matthew Stevens 5-6 Stuart Bingham
John Astley 5-6 Ali Carter
Anthony Hamilton 0-6 Zhou Yuelong
Daniel Wells 6-1 Neil Robertson
Shaun Murphy 3-6 Dominic Dale
Chris Wakelin 1-6 Lyu Haotian
Mark Williams 3-6 Zhang Anda
Noppon Saengkham 5-6 Liam Pullen
Robbie Williams 4-6 Gary Wilson
Long Zehuang 4-6 Ding Junhui
Pang Junxu 6-5 Fan Zhengyi
Mark Davis 6-3 Luca Brecel
Round of 32 (bo11)
Judd Trump 3-6 Stephen Maguire
Ryan Day 6-1 Ross Muir
Dylan Emery 1-6 John Higgins
Jordan Brown 6-4 Kyren Wilson
Mark Selby 6-2 Xiao Guodong
Marco Fu 3-6 Tom Ford
Ricky Walden 4-6 Barry Hawkins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-3 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-4 Jak Jones
Jack Lisowski 2-6 Anthony McGill
Stuart Bingham 4-6 Ali Carter
Zhou Yuelong 1-6 Daniel Wells
Dominic Dale 3-6 Lyu Haotian
Zhang Anda 6-3 Liam Pullen
Gary Wilson 5-6 Ding Junhui
Pang Junxu 6-3 Mark Davis
Round of 16 (bo11)
Stephen Maguire 6-4 Ryan Day
John Higgins 3-6 Jordan Brown
Mark Selby 3-6 Tom Ford
Barry Hawkins 6-5 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Anthony McGill
Ali Carter 6-1 Daniel Wells
Lyu Haotian 3-6 Zhang Anda
Ding Junhui 6-2 Pang Junxu
Stephen Maguire 5-6 Jordan Brown
Tom Ford 6-4 Barry Hawkins
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-4 Ali Carter
Zhang Anda 6-3 Ding Junhui
Jordan Brown 6-9 Tom Ford
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-9 Zhang Anda
Tom Ford 6-10 Zhang Anda
How to watch the International Championship
There will be live coverage of the tournament on Eurosport and discovery+ across Europe, including Ireland and the UK.
In China, there is coverage on CCTV5, Migu, Youku, and Huya.com, while Hong Kong viewers can watch on Now TV.
Fans in other territories can follow the action via a subscription on Matchroom.Live.
Featured photo credit: WST