A history of the World Snooker Championship

With support from Joe Davis, one of the most famous snooker players of his day - albeit a day in which snooker was never very popular - the first World Snooker Championship was held at various locations throughout the United Kingdom in 1927.

Joe Davis himself went on to win the final, held at Birmingham's Camkin's Hall, with a 20 - 11 victory over Tom Dennis (another prominent figure in the world) winning a prize of just £6. 10s - minimal in comparison to the 2011 winner's prize of £250,000.

Davis won every World Snooker Championship up until 1946 (with a wartime pause in the competition between 1940 and 1946). Davis actually played Tom Dennis in several of the finals - indeed, in 1931, Dennis and Davis were the only two competitors in the tournament.

In 1940, Davis was victorious against his younger brother Fred, who himself would come to dominate for several years in the later 1940s. Throughout this entire period, the competition was held at varied and changing venues across the country.

Following a general decline in snooker - which resulted in no World Snooker Championship tournaments being held at all between 1958 and 1963 - the competition was revitalised in the late 1960s with the formation of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, which organised the regulation of the game.

In 1969, the World Snooker Championship was reorganised as an annual knockout tournament, heralding a boom in the popularity of the sport. In 1970s, the super successful Ray Reardon further increased public affection for the game, and in 1976 the World Snooker Championship was televised for the first time.

In 1977, the competition moved to the home it has kept ever since - the Sheffield Crucible - where the BBC have covered it on television every year, sometimes generating massive viewing figures.

The following decades of the 1980s and 1990s were dominated by Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry respectively, and the modern era has seen the rise of popular players such as Ronnie O'Sullivan, Peter Ebdon and John Higgins.

In recent years, the World Snooker Championship has achieved phenomenal popularity in China, where an average audience of 19.4 million people watched broadcasts of the 2011 competition.

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