CHESS is a sport for all.
In fact, the game of chess promotes equality as it does not require one to be physically gifted to excel.
Speaking at the first-ever Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) Player’s Draft at the Quezon City Sports Club last Sunday, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra called chess as a great equalizer.
“I know some people may be a little short to play basketball or a little heavy to play football. But in chess, you can be tall or short and light and heavy but still play the game. It’s a mind game,” said Mitra during the virtual player’s draft participated in by PCAP owners, managers, coaches and players.
“Lahat pwede maglaro ng chess.”
He said PCAP will help in the development of chess.
“I think the establishment of PCAP will help both in the development of chess and the players themselves. Malaki ang maitutulong nito hindi lang sa professional level pero pati sa grassroots,” explained Mitra, adding young chess players will now have something to look forward to after their graduation.
Mitra, who was appointed by President Duterte as GAB Chairman in 2016, also underscored gender equality in chess when female players can play against their male counterparts on even terms.
A three-time lawmaker from Palawan, Mitra also noted the all-female team to be fielded in by Palawan.
To be known as the Palawan Queen’s Gambits, the team will be bannered by World Chess Olympiad veterans WIMs Shania Mae Mendoza, Catherine Perena-Secopito, Marie Antoinette San Diego and Mikee Suede.
Carmelita Abanes is also listed in the team.
Three homegrown female players will also be added to the team.
PCAP president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said a pool of 350 players have applied for the draft.
Elauria said players who were not drafted by the 24 PCAP member-teams can still play provided they meet the requirements.
“If they were not selected by the teams, it doesn’t mean that they cannot anymore play in PCAP since there will be three conferences in our first year,” said Atty. Elauria.
The highlight of the PCAP Draft was the message given by GM Wesley So, who luaded both the organizers and participant in the first-ever professional chess league.
Asian Chess Federation (ACF) executive director Toti Abundo and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) official Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe also delivered inspirational messagesduring the PCAP Draft.
Abundo recalled organizing several inter-commercial tournaments in the past aimed at helping the players to earn extra income.
Orbe assured the full support of the NCFP, headed by Chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay, for the staging of the PCAP tournaments starting next year.
Pichay had earlier given the go-signal to national team members to play in the PCAP as part of their training for international competitions.
Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre was selected as the No.1 pick overall by Rizal during the colorful player’s draft.
GM Rogelio Antonio, the country’s third GM after Torre and the late Rosendo Balinas, Jr., was taken in as No. 2 pick by Iloilo.
Seven other grandmasters — GMs Julio Catalino Sadorra, Mark Paragua, John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo, Oliver Barbosa, Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. and Roland Salvador — were also selected during the draft.
Sadorra was picked by Manila at No. 12, Paragua was taken in by Camarines at No.13, Cabuyao took Gomez at No. 15, and Pasig nabbed Laylo at No. 23.
Also selected were Barcenilla, (Cabuyao); Barbosa (San Juan) and Salvador (Pasig).