THE Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) will open its doors to all interested players, including persons with disabilities, in its role as the country’s first and only professional chess league.
PCAP president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said all 24 member-teams are looking into the possibility of adding persons with disabilities to their line-ups in the coming first conference next month.
“As the country’s first professional chess league, PCAP is open to everybody,” said Elauria during the second Philippine Professional Sports Summit organized by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) last Saturday.
“In fact, we have also alloted slots for female and senior players per team. There are also homegrown players,” added Elauria, who attended the virtual session together with Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre.
“We’re also thinking of adding young players in our future tournaments subject to approval of GAB, headed by Chairman Baham Mitra.”
Elauria said that the inaugural tournament next month will be played online, like most of the FIDE-organized competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The birth of PCAP couldn’t have come at a better time. Online chess is thriving during this pandemic when people stay at home to stay safe. The demand for chess software and books are on the rise. Even online chess classes and training,” said Elauria during the session attended by stakeholders of different professional sports.
“As I’ve said, chess is one of the oldest sports we have. And although it is the newest to turn pro, it is very popular right now.The movie about chess, The Queen’s Gambit, is now the most-viewed sports movie on Netflix ahead of Michael Jordan’s “Last Dance.”
“We have a very rich history in chess.Our national hero Jose Rizal played chess. GM Eugene Torre is Asia’s first grandmaster. The late Florencio Campomanes became FIDE president. Wesley So is the world champion in Fisherandom,” recalled Elauria.
“The NCFP (National Chess Federation of the Philippines) was even cited by FIDE as one of most active federations in the world. The new golden age of Philippine chess has arrived.”
Elauria also assured that PCAP will manage the expectations of players.
“The PCAP will still allow them to continue what they are doing before they turn pro. Will be allow them to continue their trade. We will allow them to play in other tournaments as long as there will be no conflict in schedule.”
“Our confidence in PCAP emanates from our confidence in Divine Providence and sincere desire to promote chess and help our players to get a better life,” added Elauria.
Earlier, Torre called the establishment of PCAP as another milestone in Philippine chess history.
“We have many great talents in chess from Lontoc to Campomanes to Cardoso to So. We have achieved a lot in chess,” said Torre in his speech in the same sports summit.
“PCAP will surely keep the fire burning through this professional chess league, which was recognized by GAB in July, 2020,” he added.
Aside from chess, the whole-day virtual summit organized by GAB for the second straight year also discussed the developments in other professional sports,such as basketball, boxing, cycling, e-sports, football, motocross, table tennis and volleyball.