Among major upcoming sporting events, the first week of NBA Playoffs get underway, the World Chess Championship is in Bulgaria, the women's Fed Cup tennis tournament moves into the semifinal stage, and sailing's Fireball World Championship is in Barbados.

Basketball: NBA Playoffs
April 17 onwards
Various locations, USA

The NBA postseason starts on April 17 with 16 teams aiming for the NBA Finals, 12 of them present in last year's playoffs. Each matchup is a seven-game series, and the first four are scheduled in batches over April 17-25 to allow greater TV coverage, split between ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT, and NBA TV. Any further games required before the knockout stages will be held over the week of April 26-May 2.

Motor sports: Red Bull Air Race
April 17-18
Perth, Australia

The second Red Bull Air Race of the season stops off in Perth, Australia, flying over the Swan River with qualifying on April 17 and the racing itself on April 18. Last season's champion, British aviator Paul Bonhomme, is already leading the pack after placing first at this year's opener in Abu Dhabi. Race footage will be shown on One and Fox Sports in Australia, Channel 5 and Sky Sports in the UK, RTL and Motorvision in Germany, and J-Sports in Japan. Those countries that do not have television deals tied up can watch a live video on the Red Bull Air Race website. One-day grandstand tickets are AUD$45 (€30) on the Saturday, AUD$95 (€65) on the Sunday. Children are approximately half price, and there are also more luxurious hospitality arrangements available.

Formula One: Chinese Grand Prix
April 18
Shanghai, China

This year's hopefuls in the driver and manufacturer championships will head to Shanghai for the fourth race in the 2010 Formula One calendar. Though Felipe Massa leads the world championship after three races, only four points separate the top five drivers - Alonso, Vettel, and Button each have a win under their belts (unlike Massa), and Rosberg's decent finishes see him through to 5th. Out of the previous six Chinese GP winners, only Vettel and Hamilton are still racing for the same team, as Schumacher is now at Mercedes GP, Alonso at Ferrari, Barrichello at Williams-Cosworth, and Hakkinen now in the WRC. A two-day F1 Paddock Club pass sets spectators back €2,685 ($3,585), only marginally pricier than a one-day ticket. or

Intellectual: World Chess Championship 2010
April 21 - May 12
Sofia, Bulgaria

Two of the world's best chess players compete in a 12-game match schedule for the WCC's €2 million prize. World number four Veselin Topalov, FIDE World Champion 2005-2006, goes head-to-head with number two and current reigning world champion Vishy Anand. There was considerable indecision regarding the location of Topalov's qualification match, in which he beat world number three Vladimir Kraminik who was the World Champion of the then rival PCA organization. The WCC 2010 games will be broadcast live from the competition's official website.

Sailing: Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally
April 23 - June 28
Istanbul, Turkey

The aim of the amateur EMYR is to cover 1585 nautical miles (1825mi / 2940km) over the course of 67 days, taking in Northern Cyprus, Syria, the Lebanon, Egypt, on the way from Turkey's capital Istanbul before finishing in Herzliya in Israel. Twenty-four ports in total make up the six-country course, which also includes 12 world heritage sites.

Sailing: Fireball World Championships
April 24 - May 7

Barbados welcomes some of the best and fastest two-person sailing crews for these World Championships, an annual competitive meet for racers using the Fireball class of sail boat. Small, 16ft length boats with a three-panelled hull, these boats are at their stablest when in motion and their highly adjustable rigging means that despite their size, they offer a high degree of customization to crews. Nearly 20% of the FWC's crew members are women, as gender does not confer a competitive advantage. The Barbadian FWC also has links to a local Fireball hire service for those who would like to take part but find themselves without a suitable steed. Registration costs £375 (€430) for participants, with a pass to the social events also avaiable to non-sailors at £95 (€110) for adults, £55 (€65) for juniors and free for chidren.

Tennis: Fed Cup Semifinals
April 24-25
Rome, Italy and Birmingham, AL, USA

The Italian and WTA number 11 Flavia Pennetta will be joined by Sara Errani, Francesca Schiavone, and Roberta Vinci in hosting the Czech Republic's WTA Doubles number 8 Kveta Peschke and her compatriots Iveta Benešová, Petra Kvitová, and Lucie Šafárová at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli. Meanwhile, WTA joint number one Liezel Huber of the USA will be playing with Christina McHale, Melanie Oudin, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Birmingham, Alabama against the Russian ladies' team of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova and Anna Chakvetadze.

Endurance: Ironman South Africa
April 25
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The only event in the Ironman 2010 series to take place on the African continent, Ironman South Africa represents the only regional opportunity for African triathlon enthusiasts to secure a place at October's World Championships in Hawaii. To date, 1,855 competitors have been registered for the race, which starts with a 2.4mi / 3.8km swim in Nelson Mandela Bay, a 112mi / 180km cycle west past the Airport to Sea View and back again along the coastal Marine Drive, before finishing off with a 26.2mi / 42.2km three-lap fast and flat run in and near the Nelson Mandela University grounds.

MotoGP: Japanese Grand Prix
April 25
Motegi, Japan

The Twin Ring Motegi track, so called because it incorporates both a speedway circuit and a road course within its bounds, is host to only the second race of the 2010 MotoGP season on April 25. Though its sharp turns and short straights are not universally popular with riders, they can approach 350km/h down its long straight. For spectators planning to watch in person, there are six grandstands, and standard three day passes cost between €97/$130 and €168/$226 each, depending on grandstand location and comfort required.

Intellectual: World Sudoku Championship
April 29 - May 2
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Now in its fifth year, competitors at the World Sudoku Championship are chosen to represent their country by their nationally approved World Puzzle Federation organization, listed on the World Puzzle website. Up to six individuals and one three-person team can be sent. Registration closes on April 5: fees of $420 (€310) for competitors and $700 (€520) for guests include accommodation in the official Championship hotel.

Cricket: ICC World Twenty20
April 30 - May 16
Various locations, West Indies

Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Ireland join the world's nine top seeded teams on the West Indian islands including Barbados, St Lucia, and St.Kitts & Nevis to contest the Twenty20 title over a series of short matches. After a week of warm-up games, the Super 8s commence the tournament's knock-out stage from May 6 onwards, building up to the climactic semi finals on May 13 and then the final on May 17. Sky Sports and the BBC cover the competition in the UK and Ireland, Eurosport in mainland Europe, ESPN in Asia and India, while Fox and Sky also have Australia. Canadian and Afghani viewers can catch the matches on ATN - distinct yet similarly titled broadcasting companies.

Motorsport: Gumball 3000
May 1-7
London, UK - New York, USA

The Gumball motor rally travels 3000 miles (4,828 km) from London to New York, via the European cities of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, before flying over the Atlantic and continuing the seven-day tour through Quebec City and Toronto. The Gumball 3000 is well known for attracting wealthy and famous participants: Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire), Dizzee Rascal, Jade Jagger, Tony Hawk, Xzibit and Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs are all confirmed entrants for 2010. Upwards of 100 cars will be travelling from point to point, most of them super-expensive supercars done up in Gumball livery, though it's not uncommon to see more diminutive vehicles. Idris Elba, for one, has taken to the spirit of the rally by comandeering a Mini Cooper as his ride.

MotoGP: Spanish Grand Prix
May 2
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

After the Japanese Grand Prix, MotoGP sheds its usual fortnightly schedule and immediately sets up camp in southern Spain for the third meet of the season. Weekend passes bought via the MotoGP website start at €63/$75 for general admission and go up to €107/$128 in the best grandstand. Tickets are also available from the Circuito de Jerez' own site. or

Formula One: Spanish Grand Prix
May 9
Barcelona, Spain

A week after MotoGP burns rubber near the southwestern Spanish city of Jerez, Formula One's dignitaries and heroes return to the Circuit de Catalunya in the region's capital, Barcelona, the site of the last pre-season testing before the championship begun with the Bahrain GP in March. Schumacher has won the GP six times, three more than the next closest multiple winners, and none of whom are still racing. Three-day grandstand passes run from €411 to €629. or

Sports Industry Awards
May 13
London, England

Hosted by the Sports Industry Group and called 'the Oscars of the sports world' according to British newspapers The Observer and The Times, the 14 awards categories include Venue, Best TV Commercial, Brand, Newspaper, Technological Innovation, and Sports Participation Event of the Year. Though the Gold and Diamond packages have now sold out, the standard £3,995 (€4,565) deal includes a three-course dinner, champagne reception, complimentary drinks, and a table at the ceremony for ten persons.

Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour
May 14
Giza, Egypt

The historic Egyptian pyramids welcome the freestyle motocross tricksters of the X-Fighters World Tour for the second of six global events. Ten km to the north of Cairo, the five FMX riders will showcase their skills in front of the Great Sphinx for the assembled crowds. Tickets are 75 EGP (€10) for those standing, or 150 EGP (€20) for a seated view.

Tel Aviv Marathon
May 14
Tel Aviv, Israel

With shorter 5km and 10km runs available, and a winner's prize fund of $4,500 for both male and female participants, the Tel Aviv marathon traces a route along the Israeli coastline before cutting through the city beside the Yarkon River to the Ganei Yohoshua Park and back out again. Originally scheduled during the Jewish Passover festival, the marathon's final dates were settled on in February, in part to fulfil the wish of race sponsor Adidas to have the event both start and finish in the city's Charles Clore Park.