The World Matchplay professional non-ranking snooker tournament was established in 1952 as an alternative to the World Snooker Championship and last held in 1992.
The Professional Matchplay Championship was set up in 1952 as an alternative to the Billiards Association and Control Council/World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association professional World Snooker Championship by some of the professional players following a dispute with the governing body. Fred Davis won the first five editions of the tournament, but didn't participate in 1957. The 1957 event was won by John Pulman, and after this the event was discontinued due to a decline in the popularity of snooker.
A one-off event called World Professional Match-Play Championship was staged in 1976. Eddie Charlton promoted the event in Melbourne with WPBSA approval. Charlton beat Ray Reardon 31–24 in the final.
In 1988 Barry Hearn resurrected the event as an invitational tournament, called World Matchplay, for the provisional top 12 players, and it ran for five years. The event was held at the Brentwood Centre, Brentwood between 1988 and 1990, before moving to the The Dome, Doncaster, for the last two years. The 1988 event was the first snooker tournament to offer a top prize of £100,000.
It was sponsored by Everest in 1988 and 1989, and Coalite from 1990–1992. It was televised between 1988 and 1992 by ITV as a replacement for the World Doubles Championship.