Plan ahead

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Plan ahead

Stephen Hendry played some of the best snooker of his career when he beat Ken Doherty to win his third Royal Liver Assurance UK Championship at Preston last year. A favourite among the players, the UK championship is the most prestigious ranking tournament after the World championship. This year's event at the Guild Hall from 17 November to 3 December will be contested by the world's leading 32 players plus 32 qualifiers.

In the run-up to Christmas, the UK Championship is flanked by two attractive tournaments. The Benson and Hedges Championship, starting in Edinburgh on Monday, may not count the top 16 in the world rankings among the 192 professional players competing, but the winner automatically receives a wild-card entry to the important invitation event, the Benson and Hedges Masters at Wembley in February.

The European Open has been moved from its December slot to February and the German Open takes its place. Held at the Frankfurt Messe from 4 to 10 December, it is no small event, with pounds 230,000 in prize-money, of which the winner receives pounds 40,000.

Booking forms for the Embassy World Championship, at Sheffield from 20 April to 6 May, will be available in early December and can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the Crucible Theatre.