Each community tends to value its own game above all others and tends to ignore and be generally ignorant of the other communities. And yet I saw that all these communities were so similar at their core: they were all wrestling with the concepts of what "playing to win" really means. They all struggled over deciding which moves to ban from play and how to ban them. They struggled with concepts of "cheapness" and "honor.
These arguments stemmed from the basic problem that there are a few different worldviews about how to play competitive games, and no one was clearly voicing the worldview of the most powerful type of player: he who wields the power to win. Those who try to win are wildly misunderstood by the masses, and all sorts of negative things are ascribed to them.
In fact, the journey of continual self-improvement that a winner must walk is good, and right, and true but it's not for everyone, nor should it be. The response to these articles was amazing. I've been contacted by hundreds of players of all sorts of games I've barely heard of. Links to the articles are posted all over the internet, often in forums of various gaming websites.
Although the ideas always spark debate, almost every e-mail I've ever received on the subject has been of the form, "You've changed the way I think about games, thank you Sirlin. I start with the very basics of choosing a game and how to get familiar with it. I stress the importance of getting connected to the player community and building an environment for yourself that sets you up to succeed. I then give some advice on how to build up basic proficiency in a game.
Next is the tough section that's hard for people to swallow. The 1 thing holding back most players is purely mental. You must shed all the rules and limitations that exist in your head about how to play, and instead start using all legal moves available to you to win. You must also give up the ridiculous notion that other players should abide by the made-up rules in your head. I then give my complete retelling of Sun Tzu's book, Art of War. It's difficult to give actual strategy and tactics advice that would apply to almost any game, but there are valuable fundamentals here.
The next section is about formal competition and tournaments. Lindrum led 17—13 at the half-way stage,  but Davis recovered to win the match 32— Horace Lindrum chose not to enter in and Joe Davis won easily, beating Sidney Smith in the final. In his semi-final Davis made breaks of and 96 in successive frames  and finished the winning frame in the final with a 98 clearance.
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Joe won but Fred had the satisfaction of making a clearance, a new record break for the championship,  Joe met Sidney Smith in the final for the second successive year. Joe again won comfortably, taking a winning 37—25 early on the final day. Joe and Fred Davis met in the final. Joe led 15—10 but then Fred won 11 frames in succession to lead 21— The spectators cheered for nearly a minute when Joe made his century.
The championship resumed in and Joe Davis met Horace Lindrum in the final, a repeat of and The final was organised on a much larger scale than anything previously. The Royal Horticultural Hall in London was converted to a snooker venue, seating 1, He did not, in any other sense, retire from snooker, continuing to play in other tournaments and exhibition matches for many years. There were a record 20 entries for the championship. The semi-finals were completed by the middle of March but the two finalists, Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson , agreed to delay the final until the autumn so that it could be played at the rebuilt Thurston's Hall, now renamed Leicester Square Hall.
Donaldson got off to a good start, leading 44—28 after the first week  and eventually taking a winning 73—49 lead early on the 11th day. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson again reached the final. This time it was Davis who got off to a good start, leading 45—27 after the first week. Donaldson led 39—33 after the first week  but Davis pulled ahead on the second week and eventually took a winning 73—58 lead. After three finals at Leicester Square Hall the final moved to Blackpool Tower Circus , moving out of London for the first time since The final was reduced to 97 frames over 8 days.
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Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson met, yet again, in the final. The score was level at 18—18 after three days but Donaldson pulled ahead to lead 45—39 at the start of the last day. Davis led 44—28 after six days and, although Donaldson won 8 of the 12 frames on the seventh day, Davis won comfortably early on the final day. Both players were well past their best. Although Lindrum did not play in the News of the World Tournament, he had been receiving more generous starts in recent handicap tournaments and had even withdrawn from a tournament in , complaining about his overly generous handicap which gave the public the wrong impression about his ability.
The entries did not include Joe Davis , who chose not to enter the new tournament. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson were given byes to the semi-final stage. They both reached the final again, although Donaldson had a close match against Albert Brown. The final was over 73 frames and was held at Blackpool Tower Circus. Davis had the best of the first four days and led 29— The frame final and was the last held at Leicester Square Hall before its closure in The match was tied at 33—33 at the start of the final session but Davis was again successful.
The final was the most one-sided of the eight finals, Davis taking a winning 36—15 lead early on the fifth day. After his heavy defeat in Walter Donaldson chose not to enter in Davis got off to a good start and held on to win his seventh championship. Fred Davis and John Pulman met again in the final, played again in Blackpool. The match was again close but Davis won for the eighth time. The championship attracted only four entries and was held over two weeks in Jersey.
Fred Davis, the reigning champion, could not afford to travel such a distance and did not enter. In the recent News of the World Tournament Pulman had been handicapped as the fourth strongest player. None of the three higher-handicapped players Joe Davis , Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson played in the championship and, with little interest in the event, there was no championship in No world championship, official or unofficial, was held between and but in , with the approval of the BACC, the championship was revived on a challenge basis.
Pulman won the frame match 19—16 to become the official world champion. Pulman won 25 of the 47 matches to retain the title. Williams set a new championship record with a break of in the 24th match. There were 7 separate matches played in Liverpool. Pulman won 4 of the first 6 matches to retain the title.
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After April there were no more contests until Australian Eddie Charlton challenged John Pulman and the pair met in a frame match in Bolton , played in March The first match, played in late saw the end of John Pulman 's reign as champion, beaten by one of the new professionals, John Spencer.
Spencer led 24—18 after the final afternoon session and clinched the match by winning the first frame in the evening with a 97 break. Spencer won the frame final 37— Spencer lost to Ray Reardon at the semi-final stage of the Championship. Reardon went on to win the final against John Pulman to win his first title. The next world championship was held in Australia in late For the only time there was a group stage with 9 players, the top 4 moving on to a knock-out stage. Ray Reardon and John Spencer met in one semi-final with Spencer winning easily. Simpson caused a major upset by beating Charlton.
The Championship marked a change in format, with the tournament played over two weeks at a single venue rather than over an extended period. In the 5-day final Charlton led 7—0 after the opening session  but Reardon led 17—13 after two days. The match continued to be close but Reardon pulled ahead on the final day to win 38—32, for his second title. The Championship followed a similar format but with somewhat shorter matches and event reduced to 10 days. Reardon met Graham Miles in the 3-day final. Reardon led 17—11 after two days and won comfortably 22— The Championship was held in Australia.
Twenty-seven players competed including 8 from Australia, 16 from the United Kingdom, two from Canada and one from South Africa. The final was held near Melbourne but matches were held in many locations, the semi-finals having been held in Canberra and Brisbane. In the final Reardon won 10 of the 12 frames on the second day to lead 16—8  but Charlton won the first 9 frames on day 3 to lead.
However Reardon then won 7 frames in a row to lead again and, although Charlton levelled the match at 30—30, Reardon won the deciding frame. The World Snooker Championship was held at two venues; half the draw was held in Middlesbrough and half in Manchester , which also hosted the final. Alex Higgins won three close matches to reach the final, where he met Ray Reardon.
Reardon led 24—15 at the start of the last day and, winning 3 of the first 4 frames, took the title 27—16, his fourth successive title. In the championship was played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield where it has remained ever since. John Spencer beat defending champion Ray Reardon 13—6 in the quarter-finals.
The final was close with the score being 9—9 after the first day and 18—18 after two days. Defending champion John Spencer lost to Perrie Mans in the first round of the championship. Eddie Charlton beat Cliff Thorburn 13—12 in the quarter-finals, winning the last 5 frames,  but lost to Ray Reardon in the semi-finals.
Charlton led 12—9 after three sessions but Reardon won all 7 frames in the fourth session and eventually won 18— Ray Reardon won the final 25—18 to win the championship for the sixth time. It was forty years until another player in their 40s would win the title, when Mark Williams achieved the feat aged 43 in The championship was won by Terry Griffiths. Griffiths had only been a professional for 7 months and played two qualifying matches to reach the Crucible. The championship was extended to 24 players. Players seeded 9 to 16 met a qualifier in the first round, the winner meeting one of the top 8 seeds in the second round.
A number of changes were made to accommodate the extra matches, including reducing the final to 35 frames. The match was level at 9—9 after the first day and level again at 13—13 after the final afternoon session. During the evening session the scores was tied at 16—16 before Thorburn made a clearance in frame 33 and a break of 51 in frame 34 to win the championship. Despite being the number 13 seed, Steve Davis was the favourite for the championship. Davis won the first six frames of the final but only led 10—8 at the end of the first day.
Davis led 14—12 at the start of the final evening session and won the first four frames to win 18— Doug Mountjoy set a new championship record with a highest break of during his semi-final match against Ray Reardon. The championship was extended to 32 players with 16 seeded players and 16 qualifiers. There was a surprise in the first round when Tony Knowles beat defending champion Steve Davis 10—1.
In the semi-finals Jimmy White led 15—14 and 59—0 before missing an easy red with the rest. Higgins then made a 69 clearance and then won the deciding frame to reach the final. The score was 15—15 before Higgins won three frames in a row to win the championship, finishing with a clearance of , thereby denying Reardon the chance to win a seventh world title. Cliff Thorburn made the first maximum break in the world championship in during his second round match against Terry Griffiths.
The importance of this achievement at the time is demonstrated by the fact that play was stopped on the other table. This was the break that gave the World Championship one of its most iconic words of commentary, "oh, good luck mate" on the final black, courtesy of Jack Karnehm. Thorburn beat Griffiths in a final frame decider, a match that finished at , the latest ever finish for a match at the Crucible.
Thorburn then also won his quarter-final and semi-final matches in the deciding frame. Exhausted and deflated by the news that his wife had suffered a miscarriage  meant that the final against Steve Davis was one-sided with Davis winning 18—6. The final was between Steve Davis and Jimmy White , in his first final. Davis led 12—4 after the first day but White won 7 of the 8 frames on the final afternoon. Davis led 16—12 at the evening interval and, despite a comeback from White, Davis won 18— In the final , Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis 18—17 on the final ball of the final frame, in one of the most closely contested matches of all time.
It finished at With an audience of Johnson led 13—11 at the start of the evening session and won 5 of the first 6 frames to win 18— Joe Johnson and Steve Davis met again in the final although, on this occasion, Davis was the winner by a score of 18— Steve Davis and Terry Griffiths met in the final. The score was 8—8 after the first day but Davis pulled ahead on the final day and won 18— Davis led 13—3 after the first day and won the first five frames on the final day to win 18—3. In Steve Davis failed to reach the final for the first time since , losing in the semi-finals 16—14 to Jimmy White.
In Hendry, the number 1 seed, lost in the quarter-finals to Steve James. In Jimmy White became the second player to make a maximum break in the world championship, during his 10—4 first round win over Tony Drago. Defending champion John Parrott beat 10—0 Eddie Charlton , the first of only two whitewashes in the Crucible era the second being by Shaun Murphy over Luo Honghao in Stephen Hendry met Jimmy White in the final. White led 14—8 but Hendry won 10 frames in a row to win 18— In , James Wattana , from Thailand, became the first Asian player to reach the semi-finals, where he lost to Jimmy White.
The final was one-sided, with Stephen Hendry beating White 18—5. In Jimmy White reached his sixth final, meeting Stephen Hendry for the fourth time in the final. Hendry led 5—1 but White won 6 frames in a row to lead 7—5. Thereafter the match was always close and the match went to a final frame. White missed a black off the spot, after which Hendry made a break of 58 to clinch the title.
Fergal O'Brien made a century in his first frame at the Crucible, the only player to do so. In Hendry and White met in the semi-finals, where Hendry won again, making a maximum break during the match. In the other semi-final Nigel Bond beat unseeded Andy Hicks. The final was initially close until Hendry won 9 frames in a row to take the score from 5—5 to 14—5. Hendry eventually won 18—9. Hendry made a record 12 century breaks during the tournament.
He met Stephen Hendry in the final. Ebdon led 4—2 in the early stages but Hendry eventually won 18—12 to win his fifth successive title. There were 48 century breaks during the final stages, a new record. In the first round of championship Ronnie O'Sullivan made the fastest maximum break in snooker history, taking just 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Doherty led 15—7 before Hendry won 5 frames in a row. Doherty then won the next three frames to win 18—12, ending Hendry's winning run of 29 consecutive matches. Stephen Hendry lost to Jimmy White in the first round of the championship.
Doherty reached the final again meeting year-old John Higgins. Higgins won 18—12, making 5 centuries in the final. There were 59 centuries during the tournament of which Higgins made 14, both records. The following year, Stephen Hendry won his seventh and final world title, the most in the modern era. In the final he beat Mark Williams 18— In the semi-final between Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan each player made 4 century breaks, the 8 centuries being a record for a world championship match. The period from to was dominated by three players, all born in and who all turned professional in Higgins had also won in , and Williams went on to win in In his semi-final Mark Williams trailed 11—15 to John Higgins but took 6 frames in a row to win 17— In the final Williams met fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens.
Stevens led 13—7 but Williams made another comeback to win 18—16, becoming the first left-handed champion. Ronnie O'Sullivan won his first world championship in , defeating John Higgins 18—14 in the final. O'Sullivan led 14—7 before Higgins won four frames in a row. O'Sullivan looked likely to win the title in the 31st frame as he led 17—13 and 69—6.
However he missed a red in the middle pocket and Higgins won the frame with a break of Higgins made a break of 45 in frame 32 but O'Sullivan made an 80 break to take the title. Stephen Hendry beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 17—13 in the semi-final of the Championship , Hendry reaching his ninth final. Peter Ebdon beat Matthew Stevens 17—16 in the other semi-final. Stevens led 16—14 but Ebdon won the last 3 frames. The final went to the deciding frame where Ebdon made a break of 59 and clinched the title.
There were a record 68 centuries in the tournament including a record 16 by Stephen Hendry who made 5 in the semi-final and a further 4 in the final. Mark Williams won his second World title in by defeating Ken Doherty 18—16 in the final. Ronnie O'Sullivan made the fifth maximum break in the World Championship, becoming the first player to score two s in the event.
Ronnie O'Sullivan won his second world title in by defeating Graeme Dott 18—8 in the final, despite Dott having led 5—0. Shaun Murphy won the championship by defeating Matthew Stevens 18—16 in the final. Murphy was only the second qualifier to win the World Championship, after Terry Griffiths in Murphy won 2 qualifying matches and then 5 matches at the Crucible to take the title.
Graeme Dott beat Peter Ebdon 18—14 in the final. This was the first Championship sponsored by a betting company after the banning of tobacco sponsorship. In the last round of the qualifying competition Robert Milkins had the first break made during qualifying for the championship. Shaun Murphy came back from 7—12 down to win his quarter-final match against Matthew Stevens ,  but lost in the deciding frame of his semi-final to Mark Selby. Both O'Sullivan and Carter had made maximum breaks earlier in the tournament, the first time there had been two breaks in the same World Championship.
It was O'Sullivan's third maximum in the Championship. John Higgins won his third world title in , beating Shaun Murphy 18—9 in the final. Michaela Tabb refereed the final, becoming the first woman to do so in a World Championship final. Stephen Hendry won his th frame at the Crucible Theatre , the first player to do so. John Higgins won his fourth world title in , beating Judd Trump 18—15 in the final. Trump had beaten David Gilbert in the qualifying competition and then defeated defending champion Neil Robertson in the first round. Ronnie O'Sullivan won his fourth world title in , defeating Ali Carter 18—11 in the final.
On the opening day Hendry made his third maximum break at the Crucible, equalling Ronnie O'Sullivan 's record. Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan retained the title in despite having played only one competitive match all season. He broke Hendry's record of career Crucible centuries, finishing the tournament with He also became the first player to make six century breaks in a Crucible final.
Mark Selby won the world title in by beating defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 18—14 in the final, having trailed 5— Stuart Bingham won the title, defeating Ronnie O'Sullivan 13—9 in the quarter-finals, Judd Trump 17—16 in the semi-finals, and Shaun Murphy 18—15 in the final to win the first world title of his year professional career.
Defending champion Stuart Bingham lost 9—10 against Ali Carter in the first round of the Championship. Mark Selby defeated Ding Junhui 18—14 in the final to claim his second world title. Ding was the first Asian player to reach a World Championship final. There were 86 century breaks made during the Championship, equalling the record set in A new record of 10 centuries in a professional match was set in the semi-final between Ding Junhui and Alan McManus , with Ding also setting a new record of seven centuries by one player in a World Championship match. Mark Selby and Marco Fu set a new record for the longest frame of snooker ever played at the Crucible, 76 minutes 11 seconds.
In a high-quality and tightly contested semi-final, defending champion Mark Selby beat Ding Junhui 17—15 in a repeat of the previous year's final. Higgins won the next three frames but Selby took the title 18—15, becoming champion for the third time in four years, joining Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, and Ronnie O'Sullivan as the only men to have successfully defended the title since its move to the Crucible. In , Selby, champion and top seed, was knocked out in the first round by Joe Perry.
The final was between two of the "class of '92", Mark Williams and John Higgins.
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Their rivalry dated back to the late s, although only three of their meetings had been in the World Championships - all in semi-finals, in , both won by Williams 17—15 and won by Higgins 17— The match was closely contested, Williams coming out on top by 18—16 to win the World Championship for the first time since , setting a new record for the longest gap between consecutive World Championship victories. Higgins reached the final again in , only to be beaten by Judd Trump.
The format for the World Championship has been largely unchanged since It has a knock-out format with 32 players, contested over 17 days ending on the first Monday in May, which is a public holiday in the United Kingdom. The reigning world champion receives a direct entry and is the number 1 seed.
The remaining direct entries are based on the latest world rankings , players being seeded based on these world rankings. Since the defending champion is normally ranked in the top 16, the top 16 ranked players generally receive a direct entry. The first round is played over 19 frames, played in two sessions. The second round and quarter-finals are the best of 25 frames played over 3 sessions while the semi-finals and final are played over 4 sessions, the semi-finals being over 33 frames and the final 35 frames. For the first 12 days of the tournament two matches are played concurrently.
For the last 5 days the semi-finals and final only one table is used. Prior to the semi-finals were played over 31 frames.
Occasionally the dates of the Championship are changed. In the Championship ended on Sunday 16 May while in , and it ended on the last Sunday in April. In each of these years the tournament started on a Friday. A number of changes to the qualifying system came into effect for the championship. All living world champions would be extended an opportunity to play in the qualifying rounds. The top 16 seeds would still qualify automatically for the first round at the Crucible, but all non-seeded players would have to start in the first of three qualifying rounds. Previously players seeded 17 to 32 only had to win one qualifying match to reach the final stages.
The overall championship would increase from to players, with the additional places made available to former world champions and players from emerging countries. Before there were a number of different formats used for the Championship. In and , 24 players played in the final stages at the Crucible. The top 8 seeds had a bye in the first round while seeds 9 to 16 played in the first round against 8 qualifiers.
From to , the first three years at the Crucible, only 16 players reached the final stages, 8 seeds playing 8 qualifiers in the first round. The 'modern' era is considered to start in , when the championship reverted to a knock-out tournament format from a challenge format. In the modern game, the best record is that of Stephen Hendry , who won seven times in the s. Steve Davis won six times in the s, as did Ray Reardon in the s. Barry Hearn has stated on a number of occasions that he wishes for the tournament to remain at the Crucible forever, providing it continues to draw large numbers of visitors and revenue to the city of Sheffield.
In it was announced that the Crucible would continue to host the event until Except for two championships played in Australia, all championships from to were sponsored by tobacco companies. In and the championship was sponsored by John Player under the brand Player's No. The Gallaher Group sponsored under the brand Park Drive from to , while from to Imperial Tobacco sponsored under the brand Embassy. Legislation in placed restrictions on tobacco advertising, including sponsorship of sporting events. Embassy received special dispensation to continue snooker sponsorship until Since all championships have been sponsored by betting companies.
In Before the world championship moved to the Crucible in , TV coverage was very limited. In the s, the BBC occasionally showed snooker on television, including minute programmes of the and finals, with commentary by Sidney Smith.