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Palawan Queen’s Gambit unfazed

Palawan Queen's
The Palawan Queen's Gambit players, led by Marie Antoinette San Deigo and Mikee Suede, have secured their first professional chess licenses for year 2021. GAB photo

THE Palawan Queen’s Gambit, the country’s first all-female professional chess team, looks to make a big difference in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) First Conference which kicks off on Saturday, Jan.16.

To be led by national women’s team standouts WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Catherine Pereña-Secopito, the Palawan Queen’s Gambit is confident of putting up a good showing in the 24-team,two-division online rapid and blitz chess competitions.

The Queen’s Gambit will open their campaign against the GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr.-led Iloilo Kisela Knights in the first round on Saturday.

Mendoza will man the top board, while Secopito will play board two.

The other members of the team are WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego, board three;WNM Carmelita Abanes, board four (senior); Mikee Charlene Suede and Cecilia Cuizona, top reserves; and Marife de la Torre, Yanika Seratubias and Jesibel Maberit, homegrowns.

Susan Grace Neri will serve as player-coach.

Bernardo Jorge Mitra is team owner-manager.

Last week, the Queen’s Gambit dropped 5-16 decision to the Isabela Knight Raiders in their pre-season match,with Secopito and Mendoza losing to Alvin Aguinaldo in blitz and rapid games, respectively.

Meanwhile, PCAP president Elauria said the 24 teams will be divided into two categories: North and South.

All the Northern Conference teams will have a double round robin. Southern Conference teams double round robin also among themselves. And then we have inter-division single round robin,”said Elauria.

The Top 8 teams of each division will enter the knockout phase. The champion of the North will face the champion of the South Division in the grand finals.