World Snooker Championship

Professional Snooker Championship (1927 to 1934)

The first championship was held in 1927 and was called the Professional Snooker Championship. It was the first important professional snooker tournament although the English Amateur Championship has been contested since 1916. Ten professionals entered including most of the leading billiards players. The draw was made at the start of the season and the players made their own arrangements about the dates and venue for the matches, although it was decided in advance that the semi-finals and final would be in Birmingham. Matches were over 15 frames with the semi-finals over 23 frames and final over 31 frames. The first match played was between Melbourne Inman and Tom Newman at Thurston's Hall, Leicester Square in London. The snooker was played as an added extra to the main event, a billiards match played over two weeks. The match started on Monday 29 November 1926 and one frame of snooker was played at the end of each session. Inman won 85, the match finishing on the Monday afternoon, a week after it started. One other match was played in connection with a billiards contest but the remaining matches were snooker-only matches. With minimal prize money, players mainly made money from their share of the gate receipts. Because of this it was common for "dead" frames to be played after the result of the match had been decided. The final between Joe Davis and Tom Dennis was played over four days in early May at Camkin's Hall in Birmingham. Davis won the first seven frames and led throughout, taking a winning 167 lead on the third day, eventually winning 2011. The highest break of the tournament was 60, made by Albert Cope in his semi-final match against Davis, in a dead frame after Davis had won the match. Davis made a 57 break of the final.

The 1928 Championship was played on a challenge basis, with the other 6 entries playing off for the right to challenge Joe Davis in the final. Davis met Fred Lawrence in the final, winning 1613. The challenge system was dropped in 1929. Davis met Tom Dennis in the final, played in Dennis's home town of Nottingham. Davis made a new record break of 61 on the way to a 1712 victory. The same pair met in the 1930 final, played for the first time at Thurston's Hall in London. The final was extended to 49 frames played over 6 days. Davis won comfortably, 2512, with a day to spare and made a new record break of 79. With little prospect of success and little prospect of financial gain, most of the professionals saw little point in entering the championship and, despite an upsurge in interest in snooker, there were only two entries for the 1931 championship. Davis and Tom Dennis met for the fourth time, the event being played in Nottingham. Dennis led 1916 at one stage but Davis won 9 of the next 11 frames to take the Championship 2521.

There were three entries in 1932 including New Zealander Clark McConachy. McConachy met Joe Davis in the final, played at Thurston's Hall. Davis took the title 2518 and set a new record with a break of 99, missing out on his century after he snookered himself. There were five entries in 1933 including 47-year-old Willie Smith who entered for the first time and met Joe Davis in the final. Smith had won the World Billiards Championship twice. The match was played at Davis's own snooker hall in Chesterfield. The match was close until Davis pulled away in the later stages, as he often did, winning 2518. There were just two entries in 1934, Davis being opposed by Tom Newman, six times World Billiards Champion. The match was held partly in Nottingham before finishing in Kettering. Davis won 2522, although Newman led 1413 at one stage.

Thurston's Hall era (1935 to 1940)

Joe Davis

In the early years of the championship, snooker had been seen, in the professional game, as secondary to billiards but from the mid-1930s snooker dominated. The 1935 Championship introduced some significant changes. It was the first to incorporate "world" in its name, being called the World's Professional Snooker Championship. There was also a change in the organisation of the event with the matches being played consecutively at the same venue, Thurston's Hall in London. Previously the draw had been made early in the season and the players made their own arrangements about the dates and venue of matches. The change in format proved a great success and Thurston's Hall became the primary venue for professional snooker matches. In the period from 1935 to 1940, nearly all World Championship matches were played there and with good attendances the professionals could make some money from their share of the entrance charges. Because of the importance of gate receipts, dead frames were played out, whatever the state of the game. This had often been the case in the early championships but now became universal.

There were 5 entries in 1935 Championship. Joe Davis beat Willie Smith 2821 in the final, having earlier taken a winning 2520 lead. Davis recorded the first century break in the history of the championship, 110 in his semi-final match against Tom Newman. The break was made in a dead frame but was still regarded as a championship record. The success of the 1935 championship resulted in a record 13 entries for 1936. A number of younger professionals entered for the first time, including an Australian, Horace Lindrum, the nephew of Walter Lindrum, the reigning World Billiards Champion. Joe Davis and Horace Lindrum won all their matches easily and met in the final. Davis had won one of his matches 292 after taking a winning 160 lead. Lindrum won his semi-final by the same score, 292, making a break of 101, although, like Davis's record 110 break, it was made in a dead frame. In the final Lindrum led 2624 at the start of the final day and then won the first frame on the last day. However Davis won the last ten frames in a row to win 3427, having won the match 3127.

Qualifying was introduced for the first time in 1937 and, with 9 entries, two players were chosen to play a qualification match to reduce the field to 8. The two were Fred Davis, Joe's younger brother and Bill Withers, an unknown Welsh professional. Withers won the match 1714, a defeat that Fred put down to ignoring his worsening eyesight. Unfortunately for Withers he met Joe in the quarter-finals. Davis won the first two frames before Withers won the third, doubling the final black to win the frame. This was to be Withers last frame as Davis won the next 14 to win the match 161. Davis then won the remaining 14 dead frames, to win 28 frames in succession. Davis and Horace Lindrum were not troubled in reaching the final, which was a repeat of 1936. Lindrum led 1713 at the half-way stage, but Davis recovered to win the match 3229. Davis made a break of 103 in the final, the first championship century in live play.

Horace Lindrum chose not to enter in 1938 and Joe Davis won easily, beating Sidney Smith in the final. In his semi-final Davis made breaks of 104 and 96 in successive frames and finished the winning frame in the final with a 98 clearance. Brothers Joe and Fred Davis met at the semi-final stage in 1939. Joe won but Fred had the satisfaction of making a 113 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 3725 early on the final day. The 1940 Championship was played during the "Phoney War" stage of World War II. Joe and Fred Davis met in the final. Joe led 1510 but then Fred won 11 frames in succession. to lead 2115. On the final day Joe made a 101 break to take a winning 3735 lead. The spectators cheered for nearly a minute when Joe made his century. In October 1940, during The Blitz, Thurston's Hall was destroyed by a parachute mine which demolished the south-western corner of Leicester Square. No tournaments were played during the remainder of World War II.

Post-war era (1946 to 1952)

The championship resumed in 1946 and Joe Davis met Horace Lindrum in the final, a repeat of 1936 and 1937. 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 1,250. The match was extended from one week to two, allowing up to 30,000 spectators to be accommodated with prices ranging from 5s to £3. Davis maintained a small lead throughout and won, early on the final day, leading 7362. Davis made six centuries in the final, setting new championship records of 133 and 136. The event proved a financial success for the players, Davis receiving £1,800 and Lindrum £550 together with the championship table and all the equipment, their share of the gate receipts.

In October 1946 Joe Davis announced that he would "retire" from the World Championship. Davis had never lost match in the championship from its inception in 1927. 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 1947 championship. 13 had to play in a qualifying competition, the winner joining the other 7 in the quarter-finals. 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. The final was again over 145 frames and was played from 13 to 25 October. Donaldson got off to a good start, leading 4428 after the first week and eventually taking a winning 7349 lead early on the 11th day. The first qualifying match for the 1948 championship started just 5 weeks later. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson again reached the final. This time it was Davis who got off to a good start, leading 4527 after the first week. The second week was closer but Davis eventually took a winning 7349 lead on the 11th day. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson met again in the 1949 final. Donaldson led 3933 after the first week but Davis pulled ahead on the second week and eventually took a winning 7358 lead.

After three finals at Leicester Square Hall the 1950 final moved to Blackpool Tower Circus, moving out of London for the first time since 1934. The final was reduced to 97 frames over 8 days. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson met, yet again, in the final. The score was level at 1818 after three days but Donaldson pulled ahead to lead 4539 at the start of the last day. Donaldson won 4 of the first 7 frames on the final day to lead 4942 and win back the championship. The 1951 final was a repeat of the 1950 final, same venue and another Fred David/Walter Donaldson contest. Davis led 4428 after six days and, although Donaldson won 8 of the 12 frames on the seventh day, Davis won comfortably early on the final day.

Following a dispute between the Professional Billiards Players' Association (PBPA) and the Billiards Association and Control Council (BACC), members of the PBPA boycotted the championship. The BACC thought the championship should be primarily a matter of honour, and financial considerations should come second. As a consequence of the boycott there were only two entries, Australian Horace Lindrum and New Zealander Clark McConachy. Both players were well past their best. McConachy had played in the recent News of the World Tournament but had performed badly, losing all 8 of his matches. 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 1950, complaining about his overly generous handicap which gave the public the wrong impression about his ability. Lindrum won the championship easily, reaching a winning 7337 position early on the 10th day, becoming the first non-British player to win the World Championship.

World Professional Match-play Championship (1952 to 1957)

Having boycotted the official championship, the Professional Billiards Players' Association (PBPA) established their own championship called the PBPA Snooker Championship which attracted 9 entries. 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 2919. Donaldson won 16 frames on the last two days but Davis held on to win the championship. Davis made a break of 140 in the final, a record for championship play, beating brother Joe's 136 set in 1946. The second unofficial championship was called the 1953 World Professional Match-play Championship and resulted in another final between Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson. The 71-frame final and was the last held at Leicester Square Hall before it's closure in 1955. The match was tied at 3333 at the start of the final session but Davis was again successful. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson met in the 1954 final, held in Manchester, the eighth successive final between the pair. The final was the most one-sided of the eight finals, Davis taking a winning 3615 lead early on the fifth day.

After his heavy defeat in 1954 Walter Donaldson chose not to enter in 1955. Fred Davis met John Pulman in the final at Blackpool Tower Circus. Davis got off to a good start and held on to win his seventh championship. Fred Davis and John Pulman met again in 1956 final, played again in Blackpool. The match was again close but Davis won for the eighth time. The 1957 championship attracted only four entries and was held over two weeks in Jersey. John Pulman won the title, beating Jackie Rea in the final. 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 1958.

Challenge matches (1964 to 1968)

No world championship, official or unofficial, was held between 1958 and 1963 but in 1964, with the approval of the BACC, the championship was revived on a challenge basis. The first contest was played in Burroughes Hall, London in April 1964 between 40-year-old John Pulman and 50-year-old Fred Davis. Pulman won the 37-frame match 1916 to become the official world champion. Pulman won two further challenge matches played at Burroughes Hall, beating Rex Williams in October 1964 and then Fred Davis again in March 1965.

In late 1965 John Pulman and Rex Williams played a long series of short matches in South Africa. Pulman won 25 of the 47 matches to retain the title. Williams set a new championship record with a break of 142 in the 24th match. After this series of matches Pulman played the South African Fred Van Rensburg, winning 39 frames to 12. Back in England, Fred Davis met John Pulman for the third time. There were 7 separate matches played in Liverpool. Pulman won 4 of the first 6 matches to retain the title.

After April 1966 there were no more contests until Australian Eddie Charlton challenged John Pulman and the pair met in a 73-frame match in Bolton, played in March 1968. Pulman led 1917 at the half-way stage but then pulled ahead and won the match 3728. This was to be the last challenge match as the championship then reverted to a knock-out format.

Knockout tournaments (1969 to 1976)

In 1969 the WPBSA took over regulation of the professional game from the BACC and staged a knockout tournament. 8 professionals entered, 4 from the 1950s and 4 new professionals. The first match, played in late 1968 saw the end of John Pulman's reign as champion, beaten by one of the new professionals, John Spencer. Spencer led 2418 after the final afternoon session and clinched the match by winning the first frame in the evening with a 97 break. Spencer and another of the new professionals, Gary Owen met in the final at the Victoria Hall in London. Spencer won the 73-frame final 3724. Spencer lost to Ray Reardon at the semi-final stage of the 1970 Championship. Reardon went to the win the final against John Pulman to win his first title.

The next world championship was held in Australia in late 1970. 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 again in the semi-final with Spencer winning easily. The other semi-final was between two Australians, Warren Simpson and Eddie Charlton. Simpson caused a major upset by beating Charlton. In the final in Sydney, Spencer led throughout and won the 6-day final 3729. 1972 saw the emergence of Alex Higgins. winning his two qualifying matches he beat John Pulman, Rex Williams and then Spencer in the final to win the title at his first attempt. At 22 years, 345 days Higgins was the youngest world champion. Previously only Joe Davis had won the title while under the age of 30, being 26 years, 27 days when he won in 1927.

The 1973 Championship marked a change in format, with the tournament played over two weeks at a single venue rather than over an extended period. 16 played in the first round, the 8 winners playing 8 seeded players in the second round. In the semi-finals, defending champion Alex Higgins lost 239 to Eddie Charlton while Ray Reardon beat John Spencer 2322. In the 5-day final Charlton led 70 after the opening session but Reardon led 1713 after two days. The match continued to be close but Reardon pulled ahead on the final day to win 3832, for his second title. The 1974 Championship followed a similar format but with somewhat shorter matches and event reduced to 10 days. 60-year-old Fred Davis beat Alex Higgins in the quarter-finals where he lost to Ray Reardon. Reardon met Graham Miles in the 3-day final. Reardon led 1711 after two days and won comfortably 2212.

The 1975 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. Ray Reardon beat John Spencer and Alex Higgins to reach the final where he met Eddie Charlton. 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 168 but Charlton won the first 9 frames on day 3 to lead. Reardon then led 2321 before Charlton won 8 frames in a row to lead 2923, needing just 2 of the last 9 frames to win. However Reardon then won 7 frames in a row to lead again and, although Charlton levelled the match at 3030, Reardon won the deciding frame.

The 1976 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 2415 at the start of the last day and, winning 3 of the first 4 frames, took the title 2716, his fourth successive title. There were a number of problems during the tournament including the standard of the tables. This was the first year the championship was sponsored under the cigarette brand Embassy.

Crucible era starts (1977 to 1980)

In 1977 the championship was played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield where it has remained ever since. 16 players competed, 8 seeds being joined by 8 qualifiers. John Spencer beat defending champion Ray Reardon 136 in the quarter-finals. and met Cliff Thorburn in the final. The final was close with score being 99 after the first day and 1818 after two days. Spencer led 2220 after the first session on the final day and pulled ahead to win 2521 in the final session. Defending champion John Spencer lost to Perrie Mans in the first round of the 1978 championship. Eddie Charlton beat Cliff Thorburn 1312 in the quarter-finals, winning the last 5 frames, but lost to Ray Reardon in the semi-finals. Charlton led 129 after three session but Reardon won all 7 frames in the fourth session and eventually won 1814. In the other semi-final Perrie Mans met 64-year-old Fred Davis and won 1816. Ray Reardon won the final 2518 to win the championship for the sixth time.

Dennis Taylor

The 1979 championship was won by Terry Griffiths. Griffiths had only been a professional for 7 months and played two qualifying matches to reach the Crucible. In the semi-final Griffiths was trailing 1617 to Eddie Charlton, before winning 1917 at 1.40am, and then beat Dennis Taylor 2416 in the final, winning the record first prize of £10,000. Bill Werbeniuk made a break of 142 in his quarter-final match against John Virgo, equalling the championship record set by Rex Williams set in South Africa in 1965. The 1980 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. In the final Cliff Thorburn met Alex Higgins. The match was level at 99 after the first day and level again at 1313 after the final afternoon session. During the evening session the scores was tied at 1616 before Thorburn made a 119 clearance in frame 33 and a break of 51 in frame frame 34 to win the championship.

Steve Davis years (1981 to 1989)

Despite being the number 13 seed, Steve Davis was the favourite for the 1981 championship. Davis won a close match 108 against Jimmy White in the first round and beat three past world champions to meet 14th seed Doug Mountjoy in the final. Davis won the first six frames of the final but only led 108 at the end of the first day. Davis led 1412 at the start of the final evening session and won the first four frames to win 1812. At 23-years-old, Davis was the second youngest champion. Doug Mountjoy set a new championship record of 145 during his semi-final match against Ray Reardon.

The 1982 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 101. In the semi-finals Jimmy White led 1514 and 590 before missing an easy red with the rest. Higgins made a 69 clearance and then won the deciding frame to reach the final. Higgins met Ray Reardon in the final. The score was 1515 before Higgins won three frames in a row to win the championship, finishing with a break of 135.

Cliff Thorburn made the first maximum break in the world championship in 1983 in his second round match against Terry Griffiths. Thorburn beat Griffiths in a final frame decider, a match that finished at 3:51 am, 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. The final against Steve Davis was one-sided with Davis winning 186. The 1984 final was between Steve Davis and Jimmy White, in his first final. Davis led 124 after the first day but White won 7 of the 8 frames on the final afternoon. Davis led 1612 at the evening interval and, despite a comeback from White, Davis won 1816.

In the 1985 final, Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis 1817 on the final ball of the final frame, in one of the most closely contested matches of all time. It finished at 00:19 am. With an audience of 18.5 million, it remains the most watched programme in the history of BBC2, as well as the record post-midnight audience for any channel in the United Kingdom. In the 1986 final Steve Davis met 16th seed Joe Johnson. Johnson led 1311 at the start of the evening session and won 5 of the first 6 frames to win 1812. Johnson had trailed 912 in his quarter-final against Terry Griffiths but won the last 4 frames to win 1312. Joe Johnson and Steve Davis met again in the 1987 final although, on this occasion, Davis was the winner by a score of 1814.

Steve Davis and Terry Griffiths met in 1988 final. The score was 88 after the first day but Davis pulled ahead on the final day and won 1811. Steve Davis made his 7th successive final in 1989 meeting John Parrott. Davis led 133 after the first day and won the first five frames on the final day to win 183. Davis won £105,000 for his victory, a new record.

Hendry dominates (1990 to 1999)

In 1990 Steve Davis failed to reached the final for the first time since 1982, losing in the semi-finals 1614 to Jimmy White. In the final Stephen Hendry beat White 1812 becoming, at 21 years, 106 days, the youngest ever world champion. In 1991 Hendry, the number 1 seed, lost in the quarter-finals to Steve James. The final was between John Parrott and Jimmy White, Parrott winning 1811.

In 1992 Jimmy White became the second player to make a maximum break in the world championship, during his 104 first round win over Tony Drago. Defending champion John Parrott beat 100 Eddie Charlton, the only whitewash in the Crucible era. Stephen Hendry met Jimmy White in the final. White led 148 but Hendry won 10 frames in a row frame to win 1814. In 1993, James Wattana, from Thailand, became the first Asian player to the reach the semi-finals, where he lost to Jimmy White. The final was one-sided, with Stephen Hendry beating White 185. Total prize money reached £1,000,000 for the first time.

In 1994 Jimmy White reached his sixth final, meeting Stephen Hendry for fourth time in the final. Hendry led 51 but White won 6 frames in a row to lead 75. 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 1995 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. In the final, The final was initially close until Hendry won 9 frames in a row to take the score from 55 to 145. Hendry eventually won 189. Hendry made a record 12 century breaks during the tournament.

In 1996 Peter Ebdon reached the final beating Jimmy White, Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan on the way. He met Stephen Hendry in the final. Ebdon led 42 in the early stages but Hendry eventually won 1812 to win his fifth successive title. There were 48 century breaks during the final stages, a new record. In the first round of 1997 championship Ronnie O'Sullivan made the fastest maximum break in snooker history, taking just 5 minutes and 20 seconds. The final was between Stephen Hendry and Irishman Ken Doherty. Doherty led 157 before Hendry won 5 frames in a row. Doherty then won the next three frames to win 1812, ending Hendry's winning run of 29 consecutive matches.

Stephen Hendry lost to Jimmy White in the first round of the 1998 championship. Doherty reached the final again meeting 22-year-old John Higgins. Higgins won 1812, 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 1811. 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.

21st century (2000 to present)

In 2000 Stephen Hendry was beaten 107 in the first round by Crucible debutant Stuart Bingham. In his semi-final Mark Williams trailed 1115 to John Higgins but took 6 frames in a row to win 1715. In the final Williams met fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens. Stevens led 137 but Williams made another comeback to win 1816, becoming the first left-handed champion.


Ronnie O'Sullivan won his first world championship in 2001, defeating John Higgins 1814 in the final. O'Sullivan led 147 before Higgins won four frames in a row. O'Sullivan looked likely to win the title in the 31st frame as he led 1713 and 696. However he missed a red in the middle pocket and Higgins won the frame with a break of 65. 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 1713 in the semi-final of the 2002 Championship, Hendry reaching his ninth final. Peter Ebdon beat Matthew Stevens 1716 in the other semi-final. Matthews led 1614 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 2003 by defeating Ken Doherty 1816 in the final. Prize money peaked in 2003 with the winner receiving a record £270,000 and the 32 Crucible players getting at least £15,000. Ronnie O'Sullivan made the fifth maximum break in the World Championship, becoming the first player to score two 147s in the event.

Ronnie O'Sullivan won his second world title in 2004 by defeating Graeme Dott 188 in the final, despite Dott having led 50.

Shaun Murphy won the 2005 championship by defeating Matthew Stevens 1816 in the final. Murphy was only the second qualifier to win the World Championship, after Terry Griffiths in 1979. Murphy won 2 qualifying matches and then 5 matches at the Crucible to take the title.

Graeme Dott beat Peter Ebdon 1814 in the 2006 final. The match finished at 00:52 am, the latest finish in the final. This was the first Championship sponsored by a betting company after the banning of tobacco sponsorship. Dott won £200,000 for his victory with the 32 Crucible players getting at least £9,600, both significant reductions on the 2003 prize money. In the last round of the qualifying competition Robert Milkins had the first 147 break made during qualifying for the championship. Despite his maximum, Milkins lost to Mark Selby.

The 2007 Championship was won by John Higgins who beat qualifier Mark Selby 1813 in the final. The match finished at 00:55 am, even later than the 2006 final and setting another record for the latest finish in the final. Shaun Murphy came back from 712 down to win his quarter-final match against Matthew Stevens, but lost in the deciding frame of his semi-final to Mark Selby.

The 2008 Championship was won by Ronnie O'Sullivan who beat Ali Carter 188 in the final. Both O'Sullivan and Carter had made maximum breaks earlier in the tournament, the first time there had been two 147 breaks in the same World Championship. It was O'Sullivan's third maximum in the Championship.

John Higgins won his third world title in 2009, beating Shaun Murphy 189 in the final. Michaela Tabb refereed the final, becoming the first woman to do so in a World Championship final. There were a record 83 century breaks in the Championship, well ahead of the previous highest of 68. Stephen Hendry won his 1000th frame at the Crucible Theatre, the first play to do so. The championship included the longest ever frame at the Crucible which lasted 74 minutes 58 seconds between Stephen Maguire and Mark King.

The 2010 Championship was won by Neil Robertson who beat qualifier Graeme Dott 1813 in the final, becoming the fourth non-British winner of the title after Horace Lindrum, Cliff Thorburn and Ken Doherty.

John Higgins won his fourth world title in 2011, beating Judd Trump 1815 in the final. 21-year-old Trump became the youngest finalist since Stephen Hendry in 1990. 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 2012, defeating Ali Carter 1811 in the final. On the opening day Hendry made his third maximum break at the Crucible, equalling Ronnie O'Sullivan's record. He announced his retirement from professional snooker following his loss to Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals. Aged 17 years, 45 days, Luca Brecel became the youngest player to compete at the Crucible.

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan retained the title in 2013 despite having played only one competitive match all season. He defeated Barry Hawkins 1812 in the final to win the title for the fifth time. He broke Hendry's record of 127 career Crucible centuries, finishing the tournament with 131. He also became the first player to make six century breaks in a World Championship final.

Mark Selby won the world title in 2014 by beating defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 1814 in the final. Selby won a record £300,000 for his victory; the prize exceeding the previous highest of £270,000 in 2003, although prize money for first round losers remained at £12,000.

Stuart Bingham won the 2015 Championship defeating Ronnie O'Sullivan 139 in the quarter-finals, Judd Trump 1716 in the semi-finals, and Shaun Murphy 1815 in the final to win the first world title of his 20-year professional career. At the age of 38, Bingham became the oldest player to win the title since Ray Reardon in 1978. The tournament set a new record for the most century breaks made at the Crucible, with 86.

Year Winner Runner-up Final score Season
1927 Joe Davis Tom Dennis 20:11  
1928 Joe Davis Fred Lawrence 16:13  
1929 Joe Davis Tom Dennis 19:14  
1930 Joe Davis Tom Dennis 25:12  
1931 Joe Davis Tom Dennis 25:21  
1932 Joe Davis Clark McConachy 30:19  
1933 Joe Davis Willie Smith 25:18  
1934 Joe Davis Tom Newman 25:23  
1935 Joe Davis Willie Smith 25:20  
1936 Joe Davis Horace Lindrum 34:27  
1937 Joe Davis Horace Lindrum 32:29  
1938 Joe Davis Sidney Smith 37:24  
1939 Joe Davis Sidney Smith 43:30  
1940 Joe Davis Fred Davis 37:36  
1946 Joe Davis Horace Lindrum 78:67  
1947 Walter Donaldson Fred Davis 82:63  
1948 Fred Davis Walter Donaldson 84:61  
1949 Fred Davis Walter Donaldson 80:65  
1950 Walter Donaldson Fred Davis 51:46  
1951 Fred Davis Walter Donaldson 58:39  
1952 Horace Lindrum Clark McConachy 94:49  
1952 Fred Davis Walter Donaldson 38:35  
1953 Fred Davis Walter Donaldson 37:34  
1954 Fred Davis Walter Donaldson 39:21  
1955 Fred Davis John Pulman 37:34  
1956 Fred Davis John Pulman 38:35  
1957 John Pulman Jackie Rea 39:34  
1964 John Pulman Fred Davis 19:16  
1964 John Pulman Rex Williams 40:33  
1965 John Pulman Fred Davis 37:36  
1965 John Pulman Rex Williams 25:22  
1966 John Pulman Fred Van Rensburg 39:12  
1966 John Pulman Fred Davis 5:2  
1968 John Pulman Eddie Charlton 39:34  
1969 John Spencer Gary Owen 37:24  
1970 Ray Reardon John Pulman 37:33  
1971 John Spencer Warren Simpson 37:29  
1972 Alex Higgins John Spencer 37:32  
1973 Ray Reardon Eddie Charlton 38:32  
1974 Ray Reardon Graham Miles 22:12 1973/74
1975 Ray Reardon Eddie Charlton 31:30 1974/75
1976 Ray Reardon Alex Higgins 27:16 1975/76
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
1977 John Spencer Cliff Thorburn 25:12 1976/77
1978 Ray Reardon Perrie Mans 25:18 1977/78
1979 Terry Griffiths Dennis Taylor 24:16 1978/79
1980 Cliff Thorburn Alex Higgins 18:16 1979/80
1981 Steve Davis Doug Mountjoy 18:12 1980/81
1982 Alex Higgins Ray Reardon 18:15 1981/82
1983 Steve Davis Cliff Thorburn 18:6 1982/83
1984 Steve Davis Jimmy White 18:16 1983/84
1985 Dennis Taylor Steve Davis 18:17 1984/85
1986 Joe Johnson Steve Davis 18:12 1985/86
1987 Steve Davis Joe Johnson 18:14 1986/87
1988 Steve Davis Terry Griffiths 18:11 1987/88
1989 Steve Davis John Parrott 18:3 1988/89
1990 Stephen Hendry Jimmy White 18:12 1989/90
1991 John Parrott Jimmy White 18:11 1990/91
1992 Stephen Hendry Jimmy White 18:14 1991/92
1993 Stephen Hendry Jimmy White 18:5 1992/93
1994 Stephen Hendry Jimmy White 18:17 1993/94
1995 Stephen Hendry Nigel Bond 18:9 1994/95
1996 Stephen Hendry Peter Ebdon 18:12 1995/96
1997 Ken Doherty Stephen Hendry 18:12 1996/97
1998 John Higgins Ken Doherty 18:12 1997/98
1999 Stephen Hendry Mark Williams 18:11 1998/99
2000 Mark Williams Matthew Stevens 18:16 1999/00
2001 Ronnie O'Sullivan John Higgins 18:14 2000/01
2002 Peter Ebdon Stephen Hendry 18:17 2001/02
2003 Mark Williams Ken Doherty 18:16 2002/03
2004 Ronnie O'Sullivan Graeme Dott 18:8 2003/04
2005 Shaun Murphy Matthew Stevens 18:16 2004/05
2006 Graeme Dott Peter Ebdon 18:14 2005/06
2007 John Higgins Mark Selby 18:13 2006/07
2008 Ronnie O'Sullivan Ali Carter 18:8 2007/08
2009 John Higgins Shaun Murphy 18:9 2008/09
2010 Neil Robertson Graeme Dott 18:13 2009/10
2011 John Higgins Judd Trump 18:15 2010/11
2012 england Ronnie O'Sullivan england Ali Carter 18:11 2011/12
2013 england Ronnie O'Sullivan england Barry Hawkins 18:12 2012/13
2014 england Mark Selby england Ronnie O'Sullivan 18:14 2013/14
2015 england Stuart Bingham england Shaun Murphy 18:15 2014/15

SEASON 24/25
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