Snooker’s 2016 International Championship starts on Sunday 23 October, and the world’s best snooker players will battle it out for a first prize of £125,000, making it the third most lucrative tournament in the calendar after the World Championships and the UK Championships.
The tournament takes place at the Baihu Media Broadcasting Centre, Daqing, and John Higgins is a 16/1 chance to defend the title he won last year. Meanwhile, 2015 Champion Ricky Walden is a 40/1 shot to regain his title. The Tournament, which has only been part of the calendar since 2012, also welcomes back its other two previous champions Ding Junhui and Judd Trump, who are respectively priced-up at 17/2 and 11/2.
However, it’s Ronnie O’Sullivan who heads the market at 16/5, though whether O’Sullivan will be primed for this event is another question. He withdrew before the first round in 2012, and was sent crashing out by Liang Wen Bo in the second-round in 2013. He then exited at the quarter-finals stage at the hands of Mark Williams in 2014, and gave the tournament a miss last year. He’s also not seen much action recently, and may be best left out of betting calculations this week.
That leaves us with the question of who does arrive here in form, and there’s no better place to start than recent English Open winner Liang Wen Bo (40/1), who will also have positive memories of this event from his defeat of Ronnie O’Sullivan.
2012 winner Judd Trump also defeated O’Sullivan on his way to winning last month’s European Open, and a second International Championships Title certainly can’t be ruled out for the current world number 3.
Ding Junhui was also on the scoresheet in China at the Shanghai Masters in September, and the local hero must also be on anyone’s shortlist as he also bids to become the first dual winner of the event.
However, last year’s winner John Higgins may struggle in his quest to do double-up, as he’s yet to go beyond the quarter-final stage of any tournament so far this season, whilst Rickie Walden also lacks obvious momentum.
Other players to consider include World Number 1 Mark Selby (13/2) although he will surely be timing his return to form for his defence of his World Championship title. Meanwhile, 2012 runner-up Neil Robertson (15/2) is the other player to catch the eye after making the semi-finals of the World Open and the European Masters.
International Championship Snooker Tips
Having completed the 2013 International Championships and Shanghai Masters double, Chinese hero Ding Junhui looks overpriced to repeat that feat – and is the main bet this week. Meanwhile, if you feel the need for a saver, 2012 winner Judd Trump may be the answer having won this in 2012 and been runner-up in both the 2012 and 2015 Shanghai Masters.
Ding Junhui 2 Points @ 17/2 Black Type