2017 CBSA Haining International Snooker Open
23rd-27th October 2017 / Haining City Gymnasium, China
***CLASSIFIED INFORMATION - THE HAINING OPEN***
Just like last year, the Haining Open appears to be one big secret.
This tournament was originally part of the professional circuit; the now defunct Asian Tour to be exact. In 2014 Stuart Bingham defeated Oliver Lines 4-0 for the title and in the following year home hero Ding Junhui ousted out Ricky Walden 4-3.
Despite the AT no longer taking place, it seemed Haining still wanted to host a notable snooker event. In 2016, under the organisation of the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA), they held a non-ranking and apparently invitational tournament that still boasted a group of top tier stars playing alongside Asian amateur opposition. It concluded with Matthew Selt denying Li Hang 5-3 in the final. I believe the event was also part of a Chinese National Tour.
The problem was that most of the players, fans, bloggers and writers of the sport didn't know anything about it. Coverage on social media was almost non-existent and trying to find any information in the English language was virtually impossible.
Fast forward 12 months and we are in the same position again, although it is clear the competition has once more been scheduled to act as a 'warm-up' for the lucrative International Championship that will be held in Daqing starting Sunday.
After searching Facebook, Twitter and the almighty World Wide Web, it looks like the same set up as last year but this time the line-up is more impressive as World Champions Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham have both made the trip.
Other professionals in the draw are Craig Steadman, Eden Sharav, Tom Ford, Ross Muir, Elliot Slessor, Gary Wilson, Xiao Guodong, Cao Yupeng, Tian Pengfei and defending champion Selt.
Action runs from Monday to Friday, however I understand there was 6 days of qualifying prior to the main 115 player draw which features 10 different represented countries.
More snooker is great, but given the intriguing cast in China this week, easier access to the tournament would be great too!
Written and published by Michael Day on the 24th October 2017