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PBA-inspired pro chess league to be launched

Eugene Torre
GM Eugene Torre

HERE’S good news for all local chess players.

The first-ever Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) will be formally launched at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17 via Google meet.

No less than Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra will welcome PCAP founder-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria and other officers during the introductory press conference for the country’s first professional chess organization.

Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. and WIM Bernadette Galas have been invited to talk about the new league aimed at providing a new platform for outstanding Filipino players.

Torre personally also welcomed the formation of the professional chess league.

“This will surely benefit a lot of players, who want to play the game and at the same time earn a living for the family,” said Torre in an interview with People’s Tonight.

Mitra will give inspirational remarks, along with GAB commissioners Mar Masanguid and Eduard Trinidad and GAB legal counsel Atty. Ermar Benitez.

“PCAP will be to chess what the PBA and NBA are to basketball,” said Elauria, who conceived the idea as early as few years ago.

Elauria said PCAP will be composed of approximately 32 LGU-based but privately-owned chess teams with eight to 10 male and female players under contract.

Each team will field six regular players composed of two titled players, one female, one senior and two homegrown players.

As professionals, all participants will have to apply for a GAB license to be eligible to play, according to Elauria.

All GAB-licensed players will then be included in the PCAP Draft where participating teams can pick as many as 10 members. The order of the draft will be determined by drawing of lots.

As per agreement with GAB, all players will get standard contract with minimum and maximum salaries based on salary caps agreed by all the teams.

Initially, the competition will be limited to online chess due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over-the-board tournaments will be held next year.

Based on the format, the participating teams will be divided into two conferences: Northern Conference for Luzon-based teams and Southern Conference for Visayas and Mindanao-based teams.

The tournanents will have elimination and playoff stages.

Among the LGU-teams which have confirmed their participation are Baguio Lion Kings, Bataan Marching Heroes, Bulacan Bloody Bishops, Cagayan Valley Kings, Makati Red Gambits, Manila Noble Knights, Mindoro Golden Tamaraws, Palawan Beach Masters, Pampanga, Pasay, Subic Knightmares and Tarlac Top Guns.

Also interested to join are ARMM, Batangas, Bohol, Cavite, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, General Santos, Ilocos, Iloilo, Laguna, Leyte, Misamis, Negros, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, Surigao and Zamboanga.

“We’re inviting everyone who loves chess to join us in this landmark project to professionalize Philippine chess,” said Elauria.

“We believe that this is the start of a new era aimed at helping our chess players to be placed in the same stature as other professional athletes.”