World Tenpin Bowling Championships

The World Tenpin Bowling Championships is an international event that sends out invites to all countries that are a part of World Bowling to take part in the competition. The first Championships were held in 1954 in Helsinki. Men from seven federations participated. The following three Championships, which were held in 1955, 1958, and 1960, featured only men.

Women didn’t participate in the Championships until 1963 in Mexico City. From then until 2003, the Championships only took place once every four years. In 2005, as more and more federations became involved, the event was divided into separate events for men and women. In 2009, however, a decision was made to reintroduce the unisex event with 36 countries for both men and women. The first unisex event Championships since 2003 was held in 2013.


There have been numerous changes to the championships over the years. In the championship’s earlier years, men participated in four different categories: a four-man team, an eight-man team, doubles, and masters. The masters was the last category to undergo changes, and only recently, with the championships dividing into two separate events. Before 2015, the top 16 players bowled a 16-game Round Robin, which saw the best three players after that stage proceeding to taking part in a stepladder final. Between 2013 and 2015, the All-Events top 24 men and woman progressed to the Masters event. The masters format reverted to matchplay style (best of three) in 2017.

Dual pattern

The Championships moved to a “dual pattern format” lane conditions in 2005. These patterns are selected from a number of World Bowling-certified oil patterns. These patterns are categorised as either “short”, “medium”, or “long”. Each Championships participant bowls an equal number of games on both patterns. Each masters match takes place on alternating lane patterns. The match’s highest seed can choose which of the patterns he wishes to start playing on. The premise of having two lane patterns is designed to promote more versatility in the Championships. It forces each bowler to attack the patterns from different angles and apply different styles to their platy, such as ball choice, hand position, and ball speed.

Single format

In previous tournaments across the world, the use of a single pattern for the entire event would be more suited to certain bowlers and so came to be regarded as unfair. Therefore, it was determined that having two lane conditions would be fairer when it came to deciding the championship’s best bowlers. A number of other championships across the globe have assumed its format, including the Asian Championships, the Commonwealth Championships, the Asian Games, the World Ranking Masters, and the Men’s and Women’s European Championships. In December of 2015, however, World Bowling states that only a single lane pattern will be used for future World Championships, which ended the dual pattern format.


The World Bowling Executive Board decided that Kuwait will host the 2021 Combined World Championships after Hong Kong hosted the Men’s World Championships in 2018 and Las Vegas was named as the host of the 2019 host to the Women’s World Championships.