International Championship Snooker 2023 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The biggest ranking event of the snooker season so far begins on Sunday when the stars of the sport head back to China for the International Championship, the first really big event with an elevated format this term.

This tournament hasn’t been staged for four years because of the pandemic but the last time it did take place it was Judd Trump who lifted the trophy. He returns looking to defend the title and win a fourth straight ranking event.

Recent Winners

2019 – Judd Trump

2018 – Mark Allen

2017 – Mark Selby

2016 – Mark Selby

2015 – John Higgins

2014 – Ricky Walden

2013 – Ding Junhui

2012 – Judd Trump

The Format

One of the reasons why this is the highlight of the early part of the season is because it is a longer format than most events these days. The first round, including the heldover matckes, through to the quarter finals are the best-of-11 frames and then the semi-finals take place over two sessions and the best-of-17 frames on Friday and Saturday before the tournament concludes on the second Sunday of the competition when the finalists battle it out over the course of 19 frames for a first prize of £175,000 and ranking points.

Top Quarter

Judd Trump is the defending champion in this tournament and as ever in a snooker event he becomes the number one seed and the main man in the top quarter of the draw. He is seemingly unbeatable these days and if the draw goes to the ranking it will be Kyren Wilson who will look to end the Trump run in the quarter final but John Higgins and the former British Open champion Ryan Day will not be here to make up the numbers.

None of the top 16 players in this section are guaranteed to have things their own way because there are some good lower ranked players on show here. Stephen Maguire was a ball or two away from beating Trump in the Northern Ireland Open quarter final and he takes his place in this section while Dave Gilbert is also here. Dangerous outsiders such as Michael White, Joe O’Connor, Jackson Page and Hossein Vafaei will all look to show their worth here.

Second Quarter

Mark Allen is no stranger to a win on Chinese soil and the 2018 winner of this tournament is the big player in the second quarter of the draw. Allen probably hasn’t been at his best this season and that will certainly interest his potential quarter final opponent Mark Selby, who is another player who has a great record in China. The task of those two was made slightly easier in qualifying when Robert Milkins came a cropper but the European Masters winner Barry Hawkins is in this section.

As ever there are plenty of dangerous players from outside the top 16 in this quarter with Marco Fu potentially the best of those, especially if he continues the form he has been showing in recent times. The Chinese pair of Xiao Guodong and Cao Yupeng are more than capable of doing a bit of damage here as is Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. Matt Selt has shown good form recently while Tom Ford and Ricky Walden have already made quarter finals this season.

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Third Quarter

Ronnie O’Sullivan has already won a tournament in China this season and he’ll look to double his tally from the third quarter of the draw this week. If everything goes to the rankings then he would be in line to meet Neil Robertson in what could be a blockbuster quarter final. Ali Carter has reached the final of the Wuhan Open this term and will look to go one better from this quarter while Jack Lisowski will look to improve on his run to the semi-final of the Northern Ireland Open from this section too.

Anthony McGill tends to fare better in the longer formats so it will be interesting to see what he offers up from this quarter. The World Championship quarter finalist Si Jiahui and Zhou Yuelong will look to go well in their home tournament while Stuart Bingham will hope for a big week as he pushes for his top 16 spot back. Matthew Stevens, Ken Doherty and Sam Craigie are others who could catch the eye while Daniel Wells will look for a big week too.

Bottom Quarter

As ever when he isn’t the defending champion of a tournament the world champion Luca Brecel will head up the bottom quarter of a draw. That is the case here and if everything goes according to the rankings then the world champion will face Shaun Murphy in what would be another juicy quarter final. The home star Ding Junhui will be one of the top 16 players out to stop that from happening while the classy Mark Williams is the other.

This is quarter a competitive section of the draw though because it has the Shootout winner and Northern Ireland Open finalist Chris Wakelin in it, while the English Open runner-up Zhang Anda is also in this quarter. Gary Wilson is teetering on the edge of the top 16 and a big week here would do him no harm, while Noppon Saengkham is also within striking distance if he can have a big tournament. Lyu Haotian, Fan Zhengyi and Pang Junxu are among the home players hoping to go well.


After Judd Trump, Barry Hawkins has been the player of the season so far and I think he has landed himself in a lovely part of the draw to attack another title. The two bigger seeds in his quarter are Mark Allen and Mark Selby and neither of those are going particularly well. The other top 16 player would have been Robert Milkins but he has already been knocked out of the event. Hawkins has already won the European Masters in fine style and he was 4-1 up on Trump at the Northern Ireland Open semi-final before losing his way a bit. The positive from that was he knew where it went wrong and I expect him to have put it right in the week since then and if he has he looks to be in a part of the draw where real progress can be made.

Similar can be said of Ali Carter. He has already made a final of the Wuhan Open in this part of the world and he looks to be in a nice section. The first top 16 player he could run into is Neil Robertson but the Australian has already stated he needs a break and his snooker reflects that. There is a feeling Robertson will be bang up for this as it is his last chance to make the Champion of Champions next week but if he is looking for a break I doubt that will really be much of a focus. Carter might run into Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter final and he has already lost to him at the Shanghai Masters this season but Carter was 3-3 with him in that encounter before O’Sullivan put the afterburners on. Carter skipper Northern Ireland last week so he should be fresh as a daisy and feels like a big price in a part of the draw which is very workable initially.


Back B.Hawkins to win International Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Betfair (1/2 1-2)

Back A.Carter to win International Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)

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