Hossein Vafaei (Persian: حسین وفایی ایوری; born October 15, 1994) is an Iranian professional snooker player. He was the first Iranian professional snooker player in the history of the game. His attempts to travel to the United Kingdom to qualify for the major tournaments on the snooker calendar were denied due to visa problems, but he gained a UK visa in February 2015.
|Born||15 October 1994|
|Nickname||The Persian Prince|
|Highest ranking||31 (September 2019)|
|41 (as of 4 May 2021)|
2019 China Open (qualifying)
2020 UK Championship
|Best ranking finish||Semi-finals (2017 China Open, 2019 Welsh Open, 2019 China Championship)|
He participated in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in the snooker singles competition and was beaten 4–1 by Dechawat Poomjaeng in the last 16. In December 2010, he played in the World Amateur Snooker Championship and reached the last 16, where he lost 5–1 to Leo Fernandez.
In April 2011, he reached the final of ACBS Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship, but lost 7–3 to Cao Yupeng. Later in the month he participated in ACBS Asian Snooker Championship, however, he could not advance past the group stage. He competed in Group C, and finished in fourth place with one win and three losses.
In September 2011, he received a wildcard to participate at the Shanghai Masters, but could not advance to the first round as he lost 5–1 against Fergal O'Brien. In December, he won the World Amateur Snooker Championship by defeating Lee Walker 10–9 in the final. He won the title at the age of 17 years and 81 days, which made him the youngest ever winner of the tournament, breaking Ian Preece's record.
Vafaei received a wildcard to participate at the 2012 World Open, but lost 5–2 against Mark King. In April 2012, he won ACBS Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship, by defeating Zhang Anda 6–2 in the final. He reached the semi-finals of ACBS Asian Snooker Championship, where he lost 6–3 to Aditya Mehta.
Attempt to turn professional
He received a main snooker tour card courtesy of his World Amateur win to participate in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons. However, due to visa problems he could only participate in the Six-red World Championship in Thailand, where he lost in the last 16 to Judd Trump, and APTC Event 2 in China, where he lost to Li Yuan in the last 64. It was a similar story in his second season as he only played in the World Games (lost 3–0 to Lü Haotian in the first round) and the Six-red World Championship (failed to advance beyond the group stage).
2014 IBSF World Under-21s Championship
In May 2014, Vafaei qualified as the top seed of his group at the 2014 IBSF World Under-21 Snooker Championship by losing only one frame in the preliminary stage. He then beat Poland's Mateusz Baranowski 7–3 in the semi-finals, compiling the first 147 in the history of the tournament in the process. He won the title by defeating Josh Boileau 8–3 in the final.
Special dispensation for the 2014/15 season
In June 2014, Vafaei received a special dispensation to compete on the Main Tour for the 2014/15 season. In late February 2015, it was confirmed that Vafaei had gained a visa, leaving him able to enter the 2015 World Snooker Championship, where he lost 10–3 to Anthony McGill in the opening qualifying round.
The 2015 Australian Goldfields Open was the first ranking event of the 2015/2016 season and Vafaei qualified for it by beating Charlie Walters 5–3, Zak Surety 5–3, Lee Walker 5–4 and Dominic Dale 5–3. In his debut at the venue stage of a ranking event, Vafaei played Michael White in the opening round where he lost 5–3. He played in the UK Championship for the first time (losing 6–1 to Luca Brecel in the first round) and the Welsh Open (losing 4–2 to Robin Hull in the first round).
Vafaei enjoyed wins over Rod Lawler, Zak Surety, Sanderson Lam and Scott Donaldson at the Northern Ireland Open to reach his first ranking event quarter-final, where he lost 5–3 to Mark King. He also had a good run at the Welsh Open as he beat Lam, Christopher Keogan and Ali Carter to advance to the fourth round and he was defeated 4–1 by Judd Trump. A month after the Welsh Open, Vafaei also had a good run of form at the China Open, defeating Joe Perry 5–2, Ben Woollaston 5–4 and Rory McLeod 5–3. This booked him a place in the second ranking event quarter-final of his career within the space of a few months. His opponent was to be Judd Trump and Vafaei (the world number 74) was able to keep the world number two at bay and win by 5–3. He lost his first semi-final 6–1 to Mark Williams. After overcoming Hatem Yassen 10–1 and Matthew Selt 10–6, Vafaei was one win away from qualifying for the World Championship, but narrowly lost 10–8 to Tom Ford. He finished the campaign inside the top 64 in the world rankings and retained his place on the tour.
Performance and rankings timeline
|European Masters||Tournament Not Held||WD||1R||WD||LQ||2R|
|English Open||Tournament Not Held||A||QF||2R||3R||4R|
|Championship League||Non-Ranking Event||RR|
|Northern Ireland Open||Tournament Not Held||QF||2R||1R||1R||1R|
|Scottish Open||NH||MR||Tournament Not Held||2R||1R||WD||1R||2R|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||NH||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||QF|
|Shoot-Out||Variant Format Event||2R||A||2R||1R||2R|
|Gibraltar Open||Tournament Not Held||MR||1R||A||A||2R||2R|
|WST Pro Series||Tournament Not Held||RR|
|Tour Championship||Tournament Not Held||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ|
|Variant format tournaments|
|Six-red World Championship||NH||2R||RR||QF||A||A||A||A||A||NH|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Australian Goldfields Open||A||WD||A||A||1R||Tournament Not Held|
|Indian Open||Not Held||A||A||NH||LQ||3R||2R||Not Held|
|China Open||A||A||A||A||LQ||SF||WD||3R||Not Held|
|Riga Masters||Tournament Not Held||Minor-Ranking||WD||2R||A||WD||NH|
|China Championship||Tournament Not Held||NR||1R||3R||SF||NH|
|World Open||WR||A||A||Not Held||LQ||WD||A||2R||NH|
|Performance Table Legend|
|LQ||lost in the qualifying draw||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals|
|SF||lost in the semi-finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|DNQ||did not qualify for the tournament||A||did not participate in the tournament||WD||withdrew from the tournament|
|NH / Not held||means an event was not held.|
|MR / Minor-ranking event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
|NR / Non-ranking event||means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking event||means an event is/was now a ranking event|
- It shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
- He was an amateur.
- New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
- Players qualified through special dispensation started the season without prize money ranking points.
- The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2011/2012–2012/2013)
- The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
Pro-am finals: 1 (1 runner-up)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||2017||Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games||Zhao Xintong||2–4|
Amateur finals: 4 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||2011||ACBS Asian Under-21 Championship||Cao Yupeng||3–7|
|Winner||1.||2011||World Amateur Snooker Championship||Lee Walker||10–9|
|Winner||2.||2012||ACBS Asian Under-21 Championship||Zhang Anda||6–2|
|Winner||3.||2014||World Amateur Under-21 Snooker Championship||Josh Boileau||8–3|
- "VAFAEI AYOURI Hossein". Asian Games. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "Hossein Set For Pro Tour". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "IBSF World Under-21 Snooker Championship 2009". Cue Sports India. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Snooker (Men) Individual". Cue Sports India. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "World Snooker Championship 2010". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Asian Championship 2011 - 12th Under-21 Snooker". Cue Sports India. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- 2011 Asian Snooker Championship
- "Shanghai Masters (2011)". WWW Snooker. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
- "Ayouri managed, retained the title in Asia". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
- "Results of 2011 IBSF World Men's Snooker Championship". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
- Turner, Chris. "Various Snooker Records". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "2012 Haikou World Open draw and format" (PDF). worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Haikou World Open (2012)". WWW Snooker. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- 13th Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship 2012
- "2012 Asian Snooker Championship". Cue Sports India. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "The Tour 2012/2013 Season Provisional Qualifying Criteria" (PDF). World Snooker. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Hossein Vafaei Ayouri 2012/2013". Snooker.org. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Hossein Vafaei Ayouri 2013/2014". Snooker.org. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Hossein hits the maximum". IBSF. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- Pathak, Vivek (18 May 2014). "Second world title for Hossein Vafaei". International Billiards and Snooker Federation. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- "Tirapongpaiboon/Ayouri Tour Cards". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "Visa For Vafaei". prosnookerblog.com. Pro Snooker Blog. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- "Hossein Vafaei Ayouri 2014/2015". Snooker.org. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Hotshot Hossein Is Bendigo Bound". World Snooker. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Hossein Vafaei Ayouri 2015/2016". Snooker.org. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- "Iran's Hossein Vafaei makes history in Northern Ireland Open". Tehran Times. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "'Dreadful' King into Northern Ireland Open last four". Romford Recorder. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "Hossein Vafaei Ayouri 2016/2017". Snooker.org. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "China Open snooker: Judd Trump loses to Iranian world number 76 Hossein Vafaei". BBC Sport. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- "China Open: Mark Williams to face Mark Selby in final". BBC Sport. 1 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- "O'Brien Wins Record Two-Hour Frame". World Snooker. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- "Rankings 2016/2017". Snooker.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
- "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 6 February 2011.