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PCAP eyeing 'all-star tour' once COVID-19 situation eases up

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 (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Due to the fact that the Philippines is an archipelago, it has been tough to organize a fully home and away professional league, which was exposed following the demise of the MBA and the other regional leagues that came afterward during the 2000's.

While inter-city leagues have sprawled out these past years, almost all of them seemed to have learned where the MBA went wrong and mostly went away with the home and away format.

The debuting PCAP is no exception to that.

Commissioner Paul Elauria confirmed on Monday that even if the COVID-19 situation in the country is expected to ease up in the coming months with a growing number of local government units procuring the vaccine for the said sickness by February the soonest, the world's first professional chess league is not expected to go fully home and away anytime soon.

"At the beginning, it will be very impractical to do that because we have teams from Zamboanga going to Cagayan. So medyo mahirap at least initially," Elauria said on Monday during the press launch of one of the teams actually situated in a separate island from mainland Luzon, the Palawan Queen's Gambit.

One feasible solution Elauria proposed to give the teams way outside of Mega Manila a chance to put up PCAP events in their respective places is a special tour similar to the so-called "Vis-Min Invasion" of the MPBL.

"What we're thinking of is having special events. Maybe twice, three times, or four times in a conference, all the teams will go together in one place and hold over the board games during the weekend," he further said, even likening it to the NBA All-Star Weekend.

Elauria then bared that Puerto Princesa could be the first host city of the PCAP's "all-star tour".

"Probably, we'll start with Palawan as our gesture to the help extended to us by the province and [Games and Amusements Board] chairman Baham Mitra," he revealed.

GAB, through the leadership of the former Palawan governor, provided the needed assistance for PCAP to finally come into fruition.

Elauria then said that PCAP is also considering Cebu, Manila, Tuguegarao, and a city in Isabela as possible next stops for its tour.

For now, the games, which will begin on Saturday, will take place online, which means the players would have the luxury of making their best moves at the comfort of their homes.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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