Pankaj Advani starts favourite in 6-Red National Snooker c’ship

The Indian cueist will be among 195 participants in the tourney hosted for the first time by the Tamil Nadu Billiards and Snooker Association.

Pankaj Advani recently won the IBSF World Snooker title in Doha.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Prominent Indian cueists will participate in the seventh National 6-Red Snooker Championship for men and women that begins here on Saturday. The playing field includes defending champions Pankaj Advani of PSPB and Amee Khamani of Madhya Pradesh.

Advani, who recently won the IBSF World Snooker title in Doha, will be the favourite to clinch the title. Other participants include current World No. 2 Kamal Chawla, Ishpreet Singh, Faizal Khan, Alok Kumar, Manan Chandran and Chennai cueist Rafath Habib, and among women, Amee Kamani, Vidya Pillai, Chitra Magimairaj and Arantxa Sanchis.

Tamil Nadu’s teenage prodigy S. Shrikrishna, who won all six titles in the TNBSA state ranking tournaments recently for the third successive year, and four titles in last week’s nationals at Bengaluru, would play in the qualifying rounds.

Read: Keerthana, Shrikrishna shine at National Snooker & Billiards Championship

195 players have registered for the men’s qualifying rounds which would be held under the double-elimination format, Tamil Nadu Billiards and Snooker Association (TNBSA) General Secretary N. Ganesh told reporters here on Thursday. The main draw begins on December 20, according to chief referee for the event, R. B. Ganesh.

Recognition for previous Nationals performances

The participants are divided into 12 groups and four from each group would join 17 players who have made it to the main draw based on last year’s performance in the Nationals. The 65 players in the main draw would be divided into 16 groups and matches would be played in a best-of-seven format.

The top two from each group would qualify for the knockout phase that begins with the round-of-32. These matches will be played in the best-of-nine frames format; the pre-quarterfinals and quarterfinals will also be played likewise. This format changes to best-of-11 for the semifinals, and to best-of-13 frames for the final.

In the women’s section, 28 players were divided into two groups of 12 each and top four from each group would qualify for the knockout phase, which begins with the quarterfinals.

The tournament is being hosted by TNBSA for the first time.