News of the World Snooker Tournament

The News of the World Snooker Tournament was one of the leading professional tournaments of the 1950s and widely considered as being more important than the world championship due to the involvement of Joe Davis. The event was sponsored by the Sunday newspaper News of the World. The highest break of the tournament was four times 140 or more, which was unusual at that time.[1]

News of the World Tournament
Tournament information
VenueBurroughes Hall
Organisation(s)World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
FormatNon-ranking event
Final year1959
Final champion(s)England Joe Davis

The tournament had three distinct periods. The first six editions from 1949/50 to 1954/55 were held at the Leicester Square Hall in London. The event was played on a round-robin basis and used a handicap system.[1] Matches were the best of 37 frames and were played over three days. Prize money was £1,500 with £500 for the winner. There were initially 8, and later 9, competitors which meant 28 or 36 matches to be played. With two matches played week after week this meant that the tournament extended over 14 or 18 weeks, although it was somewhat longer because there was also a Christmas break.

Leicester Square Hall closed in January 1955 and, from 1955/56 to 1957/58, the tournament was held at a variety of venues around England and Jersey. The number of competitors was reduced to 6 which meant 15 matches had to be played. Generally each venue was used for a week, with two matches played. Otherwise the format of the tournament remained unchanged.

In late 1958 the tournament changed format. All matches were held at Burroughes Hall in London but the number of competitors was reduced to 4. Instead of a 37-frame match, each played the others in three separate 13-frame matches. There were no handicaps. With only 6 matches to be played the tournament was completed in 3 weeks. The first prize was £400. The final edition, in late 1959, was also played at Burroughes Hall. It used the Snooker Plus rules, with 3 competitors playing 25-frame matches and was also completed in 3 weeks.


The first event was played from September 1949 to January 1950 using a similar format to the 1948 Sunday Empire News Tournament but without the "sealed handicap" aspect. Four players were involved in a qualifying competition, the winner joining 7 others in the main event. The 8 competitors in the main event were Joe Davis, Walter Donaldson, George Chenier, Horace Lindrum, Sidney Smith, Peter Mans and Albert Brown who won the qualifying event. 1949 World Snooker Champion Fred Davis did not enter as he objected to the matches being over only three days rather than the normal six.[2] Each match was over 37 frames. Each player was given a handicap at the start of the tournament. The handicaps were: Davis: −7, Donaldson: 0, Chenier, Lindrum and Smith: 13, Pulman: 14, Mans: 16 and Brown: 19. The player with the higher handicap received a start in each frame, being the difference between the two handicaps. Despite giving a handicap to all the other players, the tournament was won by Joe Davis, who won six of his seven matches. Going into his last match Albert Brown had seemed the likely winner[3] but he lost the match and eventually finished in third place behind Sidney Smith.[4][5]

The 1959 tournament was played under the snooker plus format, a new variant with two additional colours (orange and purple), allowing a maximum break of 210.[6] The format was developed by Joe Davis and made its professional debut at this tournament, on 26 October at the Burroughes Hall in London.[7] Only three players competed, with Davis becoming champion after winning five of his six matches. The experiment was not a success; the 'snooker plus' format was abandoned and the tournament series discontinued.[8]



Year Winner Record Runner-up Venue Season
News of the World Snooker Tournament
1949/50   Joe Davis 6–1   Sidney Smith Leicester Square Hall in London n/a
1950/51   Alec Brown 7–0   John Pulman n/a
1951/52   Sidney Smith 6–2   Albert Brown n/a
1952/53   Joe Davis 8–0   Jackie Rea n/a
1953/54   John Pulman 7–1   Joe Davis n/a
1954/55   Jackie Rea 8–0   Joe Davis n/a
1955/56   Joe Davis 4–1   Fred Davis various venues used n/a
1956/57   John Pulman 5–0   Fred Davis n/a
1957/58   Fred Davis 4–1   John Pulman n/a
1958   Fred Davis 7–2   Joe Davis Burroughes Hall in London n/a
News of the World Snooker Plus Tournament
1959[9][10]   Joe Davis 5–1   Fred Davis Burroughes Hall in London n/a


  1. ^ a b c Turner, Chris. "News of the World Tournament". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  2. ^ "Snooker champion won't play". Dundee Evening Telegraph. 5 August 1949. Retrieved 25 December 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ "Brown should win snooker prize". Portsmouth Evening News. 7 January 1950. Retrieved 25 December 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ "Smith awaits Davis-Chenier result". Aberdeen Journal. 19 January 1950. Retrieved 25 December 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "Davis wins £500 first prize". Aberdeen Journal. 21 January 1950. Retrieved 25 December 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Definitions of terms used in Snooker and English Billiards (search for snooker plus)". Snooker Games. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Snooker Plus". The Glasgow Herald. 27 October 1959. p. 10. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  8. ^ Courcoux, Denise. "Snooker Plus Oct-Nov 1959 (60 years on)". Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Snooker Plus". The Glasgow Herald. 20 November 1959. p. 6. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Snooker Plus". The Glasgow Herald. 23 November 1959. p. 10. Retrieved 8 April 2014.