Pro chess league set to commence

Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) founding commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra, Commissioners Ed Trinidad and Mar Masanguid, and GAB legal division chief Atty. Ermar Benitez during the announcement of PCAP going to be a professional sports league. GAB
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--A new chapter is set to unfold in Philippine chess.

Looking to boost the game locally, Atty. Paul Elauria founded the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines, the first professional chess league in the country.

Elauria, alongside other PCAP officials and the top men of the Game and Amusements Board, launched the new league on Thursday.

"The staging of PCAP will boost the development of professional chess and professional sports as a whole," GAB commissioner Ed Trinidad said while reading the agency's resolution that formalizes PCAP's foundation during the league's online press launch.

What makes PCAP more exciting is that the new league is a regional one.

"LGU-based ito, so we will have two players who are either born or permanently residing [in the city they will represent]," Elauria said.

He added that he is open to having the teams take turns in hosting a PCAP leg.

Aside from the two homegrown talents, a PCAP member team will also consist of two masters, one woman, and one senior woodpushers, but Elauria said that they may open another slot for people with disabilities.

To balance the lineups among the non-homegrown players, he said that PCAP will hold a draft.

"Magkakaroon ng drawing of lots ang lahat ng participating teams, and based on the drawing of lots, there will be an order of selection," Elauria bared the style of drafting, which is similar to that of the NBA.

In total, 12 clubs expressed their intent in joining the inaugural season.

Meanwhile, Elauria added that he prefers holding the matches over the board instead of online, which has been the trend among chess players amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, he is targeting an early 2021 start to PCAP.

"Once the pandemic stabilizes or we will be in a better situation, we would prepare over the board tournaments," Elauria added.

He clarified that he is not ruling out online chess depending on what PCAP's board of governors will resolve about the mode of the games.

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