World Snooker Championships 2023 Qualifiers: What's the format, how to watch, when is Stephen Hendry playing and has a qualifier ever won?

The quest to join the world’s best snooker players at the Crucible starts now.
Seven-times champion Stephen Hendry is one of the leading names hoping to qualify for the World Championships.Seven-times champion Stephen Hendry is one of the leading names hoping to qualify for the World Championships.
Seven-times champion Stephen Hendry is one of the leading names hoping to qualify for the World Championships.

It may be nearly two weeks until the 2023 Cazoo World Snooker Championship gets underway at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre – players will take to the baize from April 15-May 1 – but some players have already started the journey they dream will end in glory.

The top 16 players in the world rankings automatically qualify for the lucrative tournament, but are joined by another 16 potters who win through the qualifying process.

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And this year sees some big names looking to qualify the hard way.

Here’s everything you need to know.

When are the World Snooker Championships qualifiers held?

The qualifiers take place from Monday, April 3, and end on Wednesday, April 12, just three days before the tournament proper kicks off.

Where do the qualifiers take place?

The 2023 qualification tournament takes place at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.

Can I watch the qualifiers on television?

The World Championship qualifiers will be streamed on the Eurosport website and on Discovery Plus.

Has a qualifier ever won the Snooker World Championship?

Just three qualifiers have ever won the tournament, namely Alex Higgins (1972), Terry Griffiths (1979), and Shaun Murphy (2005).

What famous players are taking part in the qualification process?

Several of the biggest players the sport has ever seen are playing in the qualification rounds this year – led by seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry.

The Scottish legend will be joined by former top 10 players Marco Fu, Ken Doherty, Fergal O'Brien, Jimmy White, Dominic Dale, Matthew Stevens, Graeme Dott, Stephen Maguire, Barry Hawkins and Ding Junhui.

When is Stephen Hendry playing?

Scotland’s Stephen Hendry’s first qualification match is against James Cahill in the evening session (starting at 7pm) on Wednesday, April 5.

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If he wins that game he’ll go on to face Lei Peifan in the afternoon session (starting at 2.30pm) on Saturday, April 8, for a place in the third round.

He’ll need to win four consecutive matches to successfully qualify.

What is the format?

All matches in the qualification tournament are best of 19 frames (first to nine).

The first round sees the players ranked 81-112 play against the 113-144 seeds.

In the second round the first round winners take on the players ranked 49-80.

The third round the 32 second round winners take on the players ranked 17-47.

The final round sees the third round winners drawn against each other for a place at the Crucible.

What is the draw?

Here is the full qualification draw:

Monday 3 April

Round 1

10am and 7pm

John Astley v Steven Hallworth

Himanshu Dinesh Jain v Daniel Wells

Marco Fu v Martin O'Donnell

Andres Petrov v Stan Moody

Jamie O'Neill v Bulcsu Revesz

Dean Young v Haydon Pinhey

Mohamed Ibrahim v Anton Kazakov

Dylan Emery v Hai Long Ma

2.30pm (and 2.30pm, Tuesday 4 April)

Michael Judge v Florian Nuessle

Asjad Iqbal v Jenson Kendrick

Aaron Hill v Baipat Siripaporn

Allan Taylor v Filipp Kalnins

Muhammad Asif v Iulian Boiko

Alfie Burden v Rebecca Kenna

Adam Duffy v Billy Joe Castle

David Lilley v Rory McLeod

Tuesday 4 April

Round 1

10am and 7pm

Andrew Pagett v Gao Yang

Oliver Brown v Ross Muir

Andy Lee v Andrew Higginson

Sean O'Sullivan v Liam Graham

Peng Yisong v Michael Georgiou

Sanderson Lam v Liam Pullen

Dechawat Poomjaeng v Mink Nutcharut

Barry Pinches v Ross Bulman

Wednesday 5 April

10am and 7pm

Ashley Hugill v George Pragnell

Fergal O'Brien v Liam Davies

Zak Surety v Farakh Ajaib

Ken Doherty v Reanne Evans

Ng On Yee v Michael Holt

Ben Mertens v Victor Sarkis

Ryan Thomerson v Ian Martin

James Cahill v Stephen Hendry

Round 2

Wednesday 5 April

2.30pm (and 2.30pm Thursday 6 April)

Craig Steadman v Astley/Hallworth

Ben Woollaston v Jain/Wells

Jimmy White v Fu/O'Donnell

Zhang Anda v Petrov/Moody

Andy Hicks v O'Neill/Revesz

Peter Lines v Young/Pinhey

Mark Joyce v Ibrahim/Kazakov

Ian Burns v Emery/Ma

Thursday 6 April

10am and 7pm

Si Jiahui v Judge/Nuessle

Dominic Dale v Iqbal/Kendrick

Michael White v Hill/Nuanthakhamjan

Wu Yize v Taylor/Kalnins

Stuart Carrington v Asif/Boiko

Alexander Ursenbacher v Burden/Kenna

Jak Jones v Duffy/Castle

Gerard Greene v Lilley/McLeod

Friday 7 April

10am and 7pm

Duane Jones v Pagett/Yang

Jackson Page v Brown/Muir

Louis Heathcote v Lee/Higginson

David Grace v O'Sullivan/Graham

Mark Davis v Peng/Georgiou

Mitchell Mann v Lam/Pullen

Matthew Stevens v Poomjaeng/Mink

Fraser Patrick v Pinches/Bulman

2.30pm (and 2.30pm Saturday 8 April)

Lukas Kleckers v Hugill/Pragnell

Scott Donaldson v O'Brien/Davies

Xu Si v Surety/Ajaib

Hammad Miah v Doherty/Evans

Oliver Lines v Ng/Holt

Julien Leclercq v Mertens/Sarkis

Elliot Slessor v Thomerson/Martin

Lei Peifan v Cahill/Hendry

Round 3

Saturday 8 April

10am and 7pm

Anthony McGill v TBC

Cao Yupeng v TBC

Noppon Saengkham v TBC

Xiao Guodong v TBC

Graeme Dott v TBC

Matthew Selt v TBC

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v TBC

Ricky Walden v TBC

Sunday 9 April

10am and 7pm

Tom Ford v TBC

Jordan Brown v TBC

Chris Wakelin v TBC

Tian Pengfei v TBC

Fan Zhengyi v TBC

Stephen Maguire v TBC

Robbie Williams v TBC

Barry Hawkins v TBC

2.30pm (and 2.30pm Monday 10 April)

TBC [Ding Junhui, Gary Wilson or Ryan Day] v TBC

Yuan Sijun v TBC

Jamie Jones v TBC

Pang Junxu v TBC

Anthony Hamilton v TBC

Jimmy Robertson v TBC

Liam Highfield v TBC

Zhou Yuelong v TBC

Monday 10 April

10am and 7pm

Hossein Vafaei v TBC

Martin Gould v TBC

Joe O'Connor v TBC

Sam Craigie v TBC

Lyu Haotian v TBC

Joe Perry v TBC

Jamie Clarke v TBC

David Gilbert v TBC

Round 4 – to be confirmed



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