International Challenge of Champions

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The International Challenge of Champions is an annual nine-ball pool tournament held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. It has always been broadcast on ESPN and is sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association.

As of 2009, four invited notable players compete in this single-elimination event. Different from other pool tournaments, this is a winner-take-all event. The winner earns the entire purse ($25K) and the title of "Champion of Champions."


Each match is compose of two sets; each of them is race to 5 and in alternate break. Players lag to determine who shall break in the first set. The player who loses that set will break in the second.

A 30-second shot clock rule is used. This means a player must make a shot within 30 seconds lest the other player will receive ball-in-hand. Each player, however, can call for an extension but only once per rack.

Unlike other 9-ball tournaments, a player must call the 9-ball before pocketing it. Failing to call the shot or the 9-ball going in another pocket other than the one called will result the 9-ball being respotted and the player loses his turn at the table. Also, a player can't win a rack by pocketing the 9-ball in the break.

To win a match, a player has to win both sets. If the sets are split (one player winning the first but other player winning the next), players again lag to break at the one rack decider.


Chao Fong-pang holds the most wins (3) in the tournament.

Year Winner
1991 United States Mike Lebron
1992 United States Buddy Hall
1993 United States Allen Hopkins
1994 United States Nick Varner
1995 Taiwan Chao Fong-pang
1996 Germany Ralf Souquet
1997 Germany Oliver Ortmann
1998 Taiwan Lee Kun-fang
1999 Philippines Francisco Bustamante
2000 Germany Oliver Ortmann
2001 Taiwan Chao Fong-pang
2002 Philippines Efren Reyes
2003 Philippines Francisco Bustamante
2004 Germany Thomas Engert
2005 Taiwan Chao Fong-pang
2006 United States Johnny Archer
2007 Netherlands Niels Feijen
2008 China Fu Jian-bo
2009 Finland Mika Immonen
2010 Finland Mika Immonen
2011 United Kingdom Darren Appleton
2012 United Kingdom Darren Appleton
2014 Germany Thorsten Hohmann
2015 United States Shane Van Boening
2016 United Kingdom Jayson Shaw


  • The Int'l Challenge of Champions, as of 2009, has been the only winner-take-all tournament still running. A similar tournament includes the Texas Hold'em Billiards Championship but has been changed and was only short-lived.
  • The tournament is also known as the being the only one to have used the Elephant Beautiful Balls, a brand of billiard balls with a patented swirly colored design. These were last applied in the 2002 edition of the event. From there, standard balls from Aramith became the norm ever since.