US-BASED Grandmasters Mark Paragua and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. signified their intention to join the inaugural draft of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP).
“It is an honor for me to be one of the pioneers of the first professional chess league in our country,” said the New York-based Paragua.
Barcenilla, now based in Arizona, echoed Paragua’s statement and claimed the PCAP is the best move he ever seen in Philippine chess.
“If I need to fly back home to play in PCAP, I most definitely will. I’m not going to miss a historic moment in Philippine chess,” he said.
The league’s first season will take place online because of the COVID-19 pandemic so both players can play without going back to the Philippines.
But they need to secure licensed to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) with is one of the requirements when GAB approved the licensed and sanctioned the PCAP.
“We will coordinate to GAB as soonest possible time,” said Paragua.
There are plenty of prominent Filipino chess players living overseas, including GMs Oliver Barbosa (New York), Julio Sadorra (Texas), Richard Bitoon (Texas), Enrico Sevillano (California), Roland Salvador (Italy), Joseph Sanchez (France), Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor (Singapore) and Nelson “Jet” Mariano II (Singapore).
All of them are entitled to join the PCAP league.
Currently, 32 LGU-based privately-owned chess teams were expressed their intentions to join the inaugural league which was divided to two conference – the North and South Conference with a minimum of eight and maximum of 10 players each team.
Each team will field six regular players composed of two rated players, one female, one senior and two untitled homegrown. The untitled homegrown players are direct hires by the teams and not included in the drafting.
According to founding commissioner, Atty. Paul Elauria, players will get standard contract with minimum and maximum salaries based on the salary cap agreed by all participating teams.
Already confirming their participation are the Baguio Lion Kings, Bataan Marching Heroes, Bulacan Bloody Bishops, Cagayan Valley Kings, Makati Red Gambits, Manila Noble Knights, Mindoro Golden Tamaraws, Palawan Beach Masters, Pampanga, Pasay, San Juan Preda-Torres, Subic Knightmares, General Trias City, Cavite and Tarlac Top Guns. Also interested to join are ARMM, Batangas, Bohol, Cavite, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, General Santos, Ilocos, Iloilo, Laguna, Leyte, Misamis, Negros, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, Surigao and Zamboanga.