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Fast and furious knockout action at the World Snooker Open

Many armchair snooker fans just tune in around Easter each year to catch the World Championship. Dedicated fans know though that sometimes the best action comes in the World snooker Open tournament.

Details of the 2012 tournament will appear on the World Snooker website (worldsnooker.com) once they have been finalised, although there is some doubt about the scheduling. The defending champion is Neil Robertson who beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the 2010 final in Glasgow.

The tournament began as the Professional Players Tournament in 1982, and went through several name changes and format tweaks over the years, being known as the LG Cup and Grand Prix for most of the 1990s and 2000s.

The tournament reached its present name and format in 2010, when it was decided to relaunch it as the World Snooker Open. The Open element referred to the fact that amateurs were part of the mix. They had to win three preliminaries to make it into the main draw, but it gave the tournament the added fascination of an FA Cup type situation where unknowns could break off against some of the biggest names in the sport.

The other aspect that made the tournament compelling was the 9 frame format, in which slow starters were punished, as their opponent could quickly race to the decisive 5 frames.

In an economic climate where sponsorship and prize money is being squeezed, some tournaments on the calendar are vulnerable. The 2012 World Snooker Open will not be shown live on the BBC, but there is likely to be interest from satellite or cable television, probably on Eurosport.

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