Everything you need to know about the Championship League (invitational) as the biggest names in the game eye the coveted title in Leicester.
The Championship League invitational is a professional non-ranking snooker tournament, played annually and featuring professional players from the WST (World Snooker Tour). The 2023 staging of the competition will take place between Monday 19th December 2022 and Thursday 2nd March 2023.
The usual contenders head-up the betting with Judd Trump and Neil Robertson the joint 13/2 favourites. Mark Selby, fresh from his English Open success, is available at 8/1, Jack Lisowski 9/1 and priced up at 11/1, with a plethora of other players also available at longer odds.
Leicester’s Morningside Arena will play host to the 2023 competition, with the event having previously been staged in numerous cities across of England. Stock, in Essex, Coventry, Barnsley, Milton Keynes and Leicester have all hosted the tournament since its formation in 2008.
Seven groups of seven players produce seven winners who play in one further group to determine the winner of the Championship League (invitational).
In each group every player will play each other once in a best of five frame match (21 matches) after which the top four players will contest in the play offs; semi-finals and final over the best of five frames.
Players will be awarded one point for each match won, then most frames won and the least frames lost in the league series will determine their position in the league table. Dead frames will not be played in either the league or knock-out stages.
The play-off winner will progress to the Winners’ Group while the players coming sixth and seventh in the group will be relegated and will not feature in any further group matches.
Therefore after the group has played its total 24 matches (21 League matches plus play offs semi-finals and final) three players will leave and be replaced by a further three players for the next group.
Scotland’s John Higgins will hope to land the title for a fourth time in 2023, having reigned supreme in the 2022 event – courtesy of a 3-2 victory over Stuart Bingham.
The non-ranking version of the event was launched back in 2008, and was established to provide additional competition and an additional qualifier to the Premier League Snooker competition, which dissolved in 2012.
Winners - £3,000
Runner-up - £2,000
Semi-Final - £1,000
Frame-win (league stage) Winners - £100
Frame-win (play-offs) - £300
Highest break - £500
There have been eight maximum breaks in the history of the tournament, with Shaun Murphy compiling the first against Mark Davis in 2014. Barry Hawkins achieved the second maximum 12 months later against Stephen Maguire, whilst David Gilbert and Fergal O'Brien added their names to the list in 2015 and 2016.
Mark Davis produced the fifth 147 during the 2017 staging of the event, before becoming the first player to achieve the feat twice in the Championship League (invitational), following up his superb clearance against Neil Robertson with another against John Higgins. In 2018 Belgian star Luca Brecel made the seventh maximum in the competition's history, whilst David Gilbert added to the tournament tally in 2019.