Welcome to our new, monthly international round-up feature that focuses on the latest tournament news from nations who are members of the World Snooker Federation structure.
Earlier this month we brought you news of how Declan Lavery and Gary Britton won their respective Northern Ireland and Channel Island Championships, and there have been several other national champions crowned across Europe during April.
Photo: Mikkel Bo Rasmussen / 1st Down Photo
Daniel Kandi continues to dominate the snooker scene in Denmark; defending the recent national championship at the Copenhagen Pool and Snooker Club.
Played across the Easter period, the top 16 ranked players from the Danish rankings were joined by 16 qualifiers for the straight knockout event. The 35-year-old Kandi, who also triumphed at the multi-nation Nordic Championship earlier in the year, became the first player ever to win the title without dropping a single frame.
Following 4-0 wins in the opening two rounds, Kandi defeated Ejler Hame (4-0), Kenneth Kjærsgaard Pedersen (4-0) and Gilbert Albertsen (5-0) in the quarters, semis and final respectively.
A competitor at Q-School in the past, Kandi made headlines in this tournament last year when he constructed a 147 on his way to the championship – the first maximum break in a Danish tournament. Kandi’s latest success is his seventh national title.
Ales Herout emerged from a thrilling climax as the winner of the 2019 Czech Republic National Snooker Championship.
After two qualifying events had whittled down an initial entry of over seventy players to 36, the final stages of this annual competition were held at the Arenia Snooker Academy in Trebic.
Herout – ranked as the Czech number one player going into the tournament – relinquished just one frame on route to the semi-finals where he ended the hopes of former winner Daniel Mily, 4-2. In the final he met Heath Williams, who likewise had a reasonably comfortable path through, except for a 3-2 win against another former winner, Lukas Krenek, at the quarter-finals stage. In the previous round Krenek had dispatched defending champion Jan Matejicek.
Williams established a 3-1 lead in the final but Herout followed suit to force a ninth and deciding frame. After Williams had missed the last yellow when poised for glory, Herout coolly cleared the table to secure the accolade for the third time.
Later in the month Williams recovered from this narrow loss to win the Czech Republic Seniors Championship for players over-40 after defeating reigning champion Jean-Marie Hustin 4-1 in the final.
Bratislav Krastev bounced back from his disappointment of losing the final last year by getting his hands on the Bulgarian National Snooker Championship trophy once again.
Held at the National Snooker and Billiards Academy in Sofia, Krastev – a qualified WPBSA coach – didn’t drop a frame in the groups stage as he qualified for the last 16 knockouts.
Following another trio of wins, the 30-year-old reached the final where he faced reigning champion and long-term rival Georgi Velichkov – the player he had succumbed to twelve months previously. It was the fifth time that the pair had met in a final on the Bulgarian circuit this season and for Velichkov it meant he had reached the final of every single event that campaign. However, multiple-time winner Krastev regained the title, dethroning Velichkov following a 5-2 success in the final. The highest break throughout the competition was made by Velichkov with an effort of exactly 100.
Prior to the event Viktor Iliev won the Bulgarian Under-21 title after defeating Jan Laushman 4-1 in the final.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
It was a high-five for Mario-Zeljo Milosevic after he won his fifth consecutive Bosnia and Herzegovina National Championship at the Union Jack Snooker Club in Sarajevo.
The tournament was the concluding chapter to a qualifying system where the top 16 players from six preceding competitions were invited to take part.
Milosevic, who has future professional ambitions within the sport, topped his group before eliminating Mirza Vukovic (3-2) in the last eight and Robert Kovacevic (3-1) in the last four. Kenan Terzic was his opponent in the final; he secured his berth there following a semi-final victory over Rijad Sisic. Despite going 2-0 down in the final, 20-year-old Milosevic chalked up four frames on the spin to retain the title again.
In a tournament that featured a female competitor and a cueist as young as 8-years-old, Pavel Baciu emerged as the winner of the 2019 Moldavian National Snooker Championship.
Contested in Chisinau, the twenty-eight players involved were split into round robin groups before 16 were confirmed for the knockout phase. Baciu lost just two frames as he came top of his group, putting him through as the number two seed.
Either side of a 3-2 quarter-final win over 10-year-old Vladislav Gradinari, Baciu enjoyed whitewash victories against Munteanu Constantin (3-0) and Alexei Balan (4-0). Meeting Alexandru Sturza in the final, Baciu recovered from losing the opening two frames to sweep the next five for a 5-2 success. Despite tournament wins elsewhere on the domestic scene, it was his maiden triumph in the biggest event on the Moldavian calendar.