THE best and the brightest players in Philippine chess, led by Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, have applied for the coming 2020 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) draft scheduled on Dec. 20.
Torre, who made history by becoming Asia’s first-ever grandmaster in 1974, is expected to be selected in the first round of the draft, along with the seven other grandmasters seeking to play in the inaugural professional chess tournament early next year.
The 69-year-old Torre also became the first recipient of the professional chess license issued by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra last week.
PCAP president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said the GAB license is one of the requirements before the players are allowed to play in the PCAP tournament.
“The PCAP First Conference will be very interesting, with the country’s leading players, including national team members, expected to play,” Elauria told People’s Tonight.
“Most of the PCAP member-teams are now reviewing the list ahead of the draft.”
Seven other highly-rated players — GMs Mark Paragua, Rogelio Antonio, Jr., Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr., Darwin Laylo, John Paul Gomez, Oliver Barbosa and Julio Catalino Sadorra — have also applied for the draft.
Former national team standout IM Rico Mascarinas is also seeking to play in the PCAP tournament.
Also in the list are GM-candidates Haridas Pascua and Ronald Dableo, IMs Paulo Bersamina, Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Vince Alaan, Yves Ranola, Chito Garma, Ricky De Guzman, Cris Ramayrat, Angelo Young and John Marvin Miciano and titled players Edgardo Garma, Jerome Balico, Mari Joseph Turqueza, Jayson Salubre, Richard Natividad, Ellan Asuela, Cesar Mariano, Elias Lao, Rudy Ibanez, Carlo Lorena, Nelson Mariano III, Emmanuel Emperado, Zulfikar Sali, Deniel Causo, Eric Labog and Karl Victor Ochoa.
Reigning national women’s champion Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Bernadette Galas, Shania Mae Mendoza, Marie Antoinette San Diego, Catherine Perena-Secopito, Allaney Doroy, Cherry Ann Mejia, Kajoy Acedo and Mira Mirano have also applied for the draft.
Twenty-four PCAP member-teams, led by Antipolo, will participate in the draft.
Antipolo will make the No. 1 pick in the draft based on the drawing of lots held over the weekend.
Iloilo will pick second, while Quezon City will choose third.
Also joining the draft are Iriga, fourth; Negros, fifth; Cordova, sixth; Rizal, seventh; San Juan, eighth; Mindoro, ninth; Lapu Lapu, 10th; Surigao, 11th; Manila, 12th; Camarines, 13th; Olongapo, 14th; Cabuyao,15th; Toledo, 16th; Cagayan, 17th; Zamboanga,18th; Gen. Trias, 19th; Isabela, 20th; Cebu, 21st; Caloocan, 22nd; Pasig, 23rd; and Palawan, 24th.