Mark Selby
Selby aims to defy history at the Crucible by claiming back-to-back crownsGetty Images

Reigning champion Mark Selby will begin attempts to defy World Snooker Championship history at the Crucible against Norwegian debutant Kurt Maflin.

No first-time winner has claimed back-to-back titles since the tournament moved to its Sheffield home in 1977, with the world number one facing qualifier Maflin in round one, who knocked out six-time champion Steve Davis on his way to reaching the showcase event.

Five-time winner Ronnie O'Sullivan starts his campaign against another debutant in Craig Steadman, who knocked out Jamie Burnett in qualifying, while John Higgins faces Robert Milkins.

The stand-out ties from the opening round of competition sees Ding Junhui face Mark Davis, Mark Williams take on Matthew Stevens and Mark Allen clash with Ryan Day.

Davis, Jimmy White and Ken Doherty were among the big names to miss out on the main draw after being knocked out through three rounds of intense qualifying as the field was whittled down to 32 for the blue-ribbon event in the snooker calendar.

The World Snooker Championship kicks-off in Sheffield on 18 April.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: "There are no bad players at the Crucible. They have gone through the toughest regime. The top 16 are there on merit on what they have done during the year.

"The 16 qualifiers, no one has gone through more pain and suffering. This is going to be wide open, I'm glad I am not a bookmaker for once. I am looking for a lot of shocks and I think the top players are under a huge amount of pressure."

World Championship draw in full:

Mark Selby v Kurt Maflin, Stephen Maguire v Anthony McGill, Joe Perry v Zhang Anda, Shaun Murphy v Robin Hull, Barry Hawkins v Matthew Selt, Mark Allen v Ryan Day, Ali Carter v Alan McManus, Neil Robertson v Jamie Jones, Ding Junhui v Mark Davis, John Higgins v Rob Milkins, Marco Fu v Jimmy Robertson, Judd Trump v Stuart Carrington, Ricky Walden v Graeme Dott, Stuart Bingham v Robbie Williams, Mark Williams v Matthew Stevens, Ronnie O'Sullivan v Craig Steadman.