THE GDYNIA OPEN is the last event of the European Tour and a big tournament for three reasons.

Firstly, it will set the 24 qualifiers from the European Tour to play in the Players Championship finals in Bangkok next month.

Second, it is the last tournament to count towards the new World Grand Prix, not a ranking event but carrying a £100,000 first prize and open to only 32 players based on one year’s prize money.

Third, the European Tour is a way for players not finishing inside the world’s top 64 at the end of the season to retain their tour places.

So this tournament, won last year by Shaun Murphy, will have an important role to play not just on the current season for certain players but for their future careers.

Poland, like Germany, is one of the countries where interest in snooker has grown considerably in recent years. One of their own players, Kacper Filipiak, recently made a 147 on an amateur tournament.

The hunt for top class European professionals continues but the Polish public can in the meantime enjoy watching some of the best players in the world.

A large amateur entry meant play began on Wednesday but the professionals enter the fray on Friday, when Eurosport’s live coverage begins.

The first TV match pits world champion Mark Selby against Rory McLeod. Joe Perry faces Matthew Stevens in the second match before Ryan Day plays Ken Doherty.

The likes of Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson and the new Welsh Open champion, John Higgins, play in the other half of the draw on Saturday.


Photographs by Monique Limbos.