THE establishment of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) is expected to usher in another “Golden Age of Philippine Chess.”
This was the observation of both Asia’s first grandmaster Eugene Torre and PCAP founding president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria when asked about the newly-formed professional chess league recognized by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“I consider this establishment of PCAP as another milestone for Philippine chess,” said Torre during his speech in the virtual edition of the 2020 Philippine Professional Sports Summit organized by GAB yesterday.
Torre, who made history by becoming Asia’s first grandmaster during the Nice Olympiad in 1974, said PCAP will benefit a lot of Filipino chess players by providing them with the opportunity to play the game as a professional.
“I think it’s another remarkable achievement for both PCAP and GAB to establish this professional chess league. They are now raising our chess players to the same stature as other well-known professional athletes, like in the PBA,” added the 69-year-old Torre during the day-long event which also gathered several stakeholders in different professional sports.
Torre lauded both Atty. Elauria and GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra for taking the initiative to form the first-ever professional chess league in the country.
“With 24 member-teams in the PCAP, there will be about 240 players — and even 240 families — who will greatly benefit for this opportunity to have a career in chess,” explained Torre, one of eight GMs included in the PCAP Draft scheduled later this month.
“This partnership of PCAP and GAB in pushing for the professional chess league is good example of the importance of working in harmony to achieve our goals,”added Torre.
“As I’ve always said, there are three kings in life — the physical king, mental king and of course, the spiritual king, which should be at the center. All three should work in harmony. With PCAP and GAB working together, I can see a winning position for all of us.”
Mitra, on the other hand, welcomed the decision of PCAP to establish the first professional chess league.
“This is really a welcome development in professional sports in the country. The Filipino chess players are the biggest winners in this PCAP initiative,” said Mitra, who also presented Torre the first-ever professional chess license issued by GAB recently.
Other prominent athletes who participated in the sports summit are world billiards champions Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante, former world boxing champion Gerry Penalosa, motocross hero Jovie Saulog and PBA stars LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra and Matthew Wright of Phoenix Super LPG.
Among the guest speakers were PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, Ronald Mascariñas of Chooks-to-Go 3×3 basketball tournament; Mikhail “Coco” Torre of the Philippine Football League; Ricky Palou of the Premier Volleyball League; Jack Imperial of Pilipinas Golf Tour, Inc.; and Atty. Elauria.
The event was hosted by veteran sportscaster Bill Velasco and Kara Mallonga.