PHILIPPINE chess formally entered the professional era yesterday with revered Grandmaster Eugene Torre being given the first professional license by the Games and Amusements Board.
GAB professional games division chief June Bautista symbolically awarded the license to Torre, Asia’s first GM, in an online session witnessed by leading officers and players of the GAB and the local chess community.
Witnessing the milestone event were GAB chairman Baham Mitra, National Chess Federation of the Philippine executive director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe, Professional Chess Association of the Philippines president Atty. Paul Elauria and International Master Rico Mascarinas.
“I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for another milestone in my chess playing career. It is indeed a great honor to be recognized by the government and my chess colleagues as the first government-licensed player in the Philippines,” Torre said in accepting the license.
Elauria said there are already 22 teams, with around seven to 12 players each, seeking to secure their GAB licenses, adding they intend to kick off their inaugural competitions in 2021.
He said that this development “makes PCAP the biggest professional league with around 200 to 220 players,” adding that their vision was that all of the players involved will have salaries and supported by corporate sponsors.
“This is why we are drawing a uniform players contract to protect both teams and players under the PCAP,” Elauria said.