THE 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) pre-season tournament gets underway Saturday with 12 exciting matches featuring all 24 member-teams in both the Northern and Southern Divisions.
The warm-up tournament is expected to serve as a preview of the inaugural competition of the first-ever professional chess league scheduled to begin on Jan. 16.
PCAP founding president- commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said the 24 teams divided into the North and South Divisions were randomly paired for the event set at 7 p.m.
Based on the pre-season matchups, it will be Cagayan against Zamboanga, Manila against Iloilo, Antipolo against Toledo, Pasig against Cebu, Rizal against Cordova, Olongapo against Surigao, Laguna against Iriga, Caloocan against Camarines, Cavite against Mindoro, Quezon City against Negros, San Juan against Lapu-Lapu and Isabela against Palawan.
Each team will field a total of seven players, with two titled players, one female, one senior and three homegrown players.
They will play one blitz (3+2) and one rapid (15 miniutes play to finish).
Notable matches to watch will pit GM Julio Sadorra of Manila against GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. of Iloilo; GM Mark Paragua of Camarines against IM Paulo Bersamina; GM Eugene Torre of Rizal against Edsel Montoya of Cordova; GM John Paul Gomz of Laguna against NM Glenn Artuz of Iriga; GM Darwin Laylo of Pasig against NM Elwin Retanal; GM Oliver Barbosa of San Juan against NM Merben Roque.
The all-female Palawan team, led by WIMs Shania Mae Mendoza and Catherine Perena-Secopito, will test its mettle against Isabela, bannered by NM Jerome Belico.
The competition is sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.
Being a professional league, all PCAP players and coaches are required to apply for a license with the GAB, the government regulatory body, before the league opening on Jan. 16.
Earlier, the 69-year-old Torre became the first player to receive a professional chess license from GAB — symbolic gesture given to the Asia’s first grandmaster.