World Darts Championship: Schedule of play released sees Phil Taylor on opening night
Defending world champion Phil Taylor will star on the opening night of this year's tournament on Friday December 13.
Last Updated: 04/12/13 4:50pm
Taylor, who won his 16th World Championship title on New Year's Day when he came from 4-2 down to claim a famous 7-4 victory against Michael van Gerwen, will open his bid to retain the Sid Waddell Trophy against either New Zealand's Rob Szabo or PDPA Qualifier Ian Moss, who will play their preliminary round tie earlier in the night.
The opening night will also feature three-time World Champion John Part - the first Alexandra Palace winner in 2008 - up against Holland's Mareno Michels, the 1995 Lakeside Champion Richie Burnett up against Dean Winstanley and Peter Wright's clash with Joe Cullen.
The World Championship's first round is split across eight sessions in the opening seven days, with one preliminary round contest accompanied by four games from the first round at the north London venue, live on Sky Sports.
The afternoon session of Saturday December 14 sees former World Championship semi-finalists Wayne Jones and Terry Jenkins in action, Stoke's rising star Ian White up against DPA Australian Grand Prix champion Kyle Anderson and former UK Open finalist Mark Walsh taking on top Finnish player Jarkko Komula.
Saturday's evening session will see three former World Championship finalists in action, with 2011 star Gary Anderson taking on the 2005 runner-up Mark Dudbridge, before Andy Hamilton - who lost to Adrian Lewis in the 2012 final - plays either Julio Barbero or Andree Welge.
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld is in action on Sunday December 15 as he faces Jamie Lewis, with former World Grand Prix finalists Dave Chisnall and Brendan Dolan also on stage before Jamie Caven meets ex-Lakeside Champion Jelle Klaasen.
Monday's play sees the eagerly-awaited clash between Belgian brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts, while former Lakeside Champion Steve Beaton meets either South African Devon Petersen or Malaysia's Mohammed Latif Sapup, with Ronnie Baxter taking on Ricky Evans and Mervyn King meeting Darin Young.
World number two Michael van Gerwen begins his bid to reach the final for a second successive year on Tuesday December 17 when he plays the winner of the preliminary round contest between Zoran Lerchbacher and Ben Ward.
2010 World Championship finalist Simon Whitlock is also in action on Tuesday as he plays Ross Smith, while former World Matchplay winner Colin Lloyd plays Oceanic Masters champion Beau Anderson and Vincent van der Voort takes on Matt Clark.
Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis opens his challenge for a third Alexandra Palace title on Wednesday December 18 against experienced Dennis Smith, while World Youth Champion Michael Smith is also in action as he plays Japan's Morihiro Hashimoto or Singapore's Paul Lim.
The first round concludes on Thursday December 19, when three-time Ally Pally semi-finalist James Wade takes on Darren Webster and 2004 World Championship finalist Kevin Painter plays Germany's Tomas Seyler.
World number eight Wes Newton taking on either Gino Vos or Ting Chi Royden Lam, and Mark Webster, a former Lakeside Champion and two-time Alexandra Palace semi-finalist, plays Austria's Mensur Suljovic.
The second round sees 15 of the 16 ties take place before the Christmas break, with one game kicking off the post-Christmas action on Friday December 27 when the tournament resumes.
The third round is held on December 27 and 28, when the first two quarter-finals will be held.
The second pair of quarter-finals will be held on Sunday December 29, with the semi-finals on Monday December 30 and the final taking place on Wednesday January 1, as the winner of the record £250,000 first prize is crowned.
The World Darts Championship starts on Friday December 13, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7pm