Champion of Champions 2016 – Manchester Update

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There are now just two events to go before the line-up for next month’s Champion of Champions tournament is known, with Liang Wenbo becoming the latest player to secure his place by claiming his first ranking title at the English Open yesterday evening in Manchester.

The Chinese number two will play reigning world champion Mark Selby in Coventry, with the full group draw and schedule as it stands available to view at the tournament’s official website.

Qualification for the event will be determined by the results of professional tournaments dating back to Neil Robertson’s victory at the event in 2015, events having been ordered in a specific line of priority.

Players currently qualified are set out below, numbered by qualification priority, not seeding:

1. 2015 Champion of Champions – Neil Robertson (1)
2. 2015 UK Championship – Neil Robertson
3. 2016 Masters – Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)
4. 2016 German Masters – Martin Gould (3)
5. 2016 Welsh Open – Ronnie O’Sullivan
6. 2016 Championship League Snooker – Judd Trump (4)
7. 2016 World Grand Prix – Shaun Murphy (5)
8. 2016 Players Championship – Mark Allen (6)
9. 2016 China Open – Judd Trump
10. 2016 World Championship – Mark Selby (7)
11. 2016 Indian Open (July) – Anthony McGill (8)
12. 2016 World Open (July) – Ali Carter (9)
13. 2016 Shanghai Masters (Sept) – Ding Junhui (10)
14. 2016 European Masters (Oct) – Judd Trump
15. 2016 English Open (Oct) – Liang Wenbo (11)
16. 2016 International Championship (Oct) – tbc
17. 2016 China Championship (Nov) – tbc

18. 2015 Gibraltar Open – Marco Fu (12)
19. 2016 Gdynia Open – Mark Selby
20. 2016 Riga Masters – Neil Robertson
21. 2016 Paul Hunter Classic (Aug) – Mark Selby
22. 2016 World Championship runner-up – Ding Junhui

23. 2016 Shoot Out – Robin Hull (13)
24. 2016 6 Reds World Championship (Sep) – Ding Junhui
25. 2016 World Seniors Championship – Mark Davis (14)

All 14 individual champions above are guaranteed to appear at the Ricoh Arena, with only two qualifying tournaments remaining prior to this year’s Champion of Champions.

But what if any of those tournaments are won by ‘repeat’ winners? Any ‘top up’ players required will be selected from the one-year ranking list, including prize money earned during the 2016/17 season only. Following the English Open the top players on that list, including prize money already guaranteed by qualification for the International Championship, are:

1. Stuart Bingham £60,087
2. Joe Perry £45,050
3. Barry Hawkins £45,000*
4. Michael Holt £44,775
5. John Higgins £41,000**
6. Stephen Maguire £39,000
7. Kyren Wilson £35,525*
8. Ryan Day £34,362
9. David Gilbert £33,400
10. Mark Williams £32,250

*not competing at the International Championship
**still to play opening match at the International Championship

Interestingly, there is an important point to clarify as the place for each of the next two events will be awarded immediately after the event in question. In other words, should the International Championship be won by a ‘repeat’ player on 30 October 2016, the highest non-qualified player on the one-year list on that date, will immediately qualify for the event. As the list stands, Stuart Bingham is favourite to be that player, however as Liang Wenbo has demonstrated in Manchester, this can still change.

Further worth noting is that as the China Championship is not a ranking event, the International Championship will be the last opportunity for players to add to their totals on the one-year list and move into contention heading to Guangzhou.

The next place will be up for grabs at the International Championship in Daqing.