Chess

PSC stages nationwide para chess tilt with over 150 entries

Lynde Salgados
The 2021 Philippine Sport Commission-Pilipinas Para Games Online Chess Competition is a three-day event inspired by the success of the country's para pawn pushers on the international stage

Over 150 players across the country will duel it out in the nationwide grassroots chess competition for people with disabilities starting Friday, November 19.

The 2021 Philippine Sport Commission-Pilipinas Para Games (PPG) Online Chess Competition is a three-day event is inspired by the success of the country’s para pawn pushers on the international stage.

The para chess program, with the PSC’s all-out support, produced a first ever Filipino world chess champion in wheelchair-riding Fide Master Sander Severino, who won the online 2020 International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) tournament and finished with a team bronze in the recently held 4th World Chess Championship, among others.

Para chess team national coach, National Master (NM) James Infiesto, however, clarified that only amateur players can participate in order to level the playing field.

“Members of the national Paralympic team are no longer allowed to play as we give chance to promising and mostly undiscovered talents from the different provinces in the country,” Infiesto told Rappler.

“We are launching this project in a continued effort to address our need for a truly comprehensive grassroots sports development program for our para athletes, and continuously harness their full potential,” said PSC Oversight Commissioner for para athletes Arnold Agustin.

Originally staged in three regional legs, the online chess competition is now held in one nationwide event in six categories: Visually Impaired B1 Completely Blind Men, Visually Impaired B1 Completely Blind Women, Visually Impaired B2 Partially Blind Men, Visually Impaired B2 Partially Blind Women, and Physically Impaired Men, and Physically Impaired Women.

The PPG is also held in partnership with the Philippine Paralympic Committee and the Integrated Philippine Association of Optometrists on the classification of registered para athletes.

Winners will receive medals, certificates of excellence, and cash incentives.

To prepare the national para coaches and technical officials for this competition, a para chess online technical workshop was held on November 7, featuring six of the country’s chess legends in Grandmaster (GM) Eugene Torre, GM Thomas Luther, GM Jayson Gonzales, International Arbiter (IA) and International Organizer Casto Abundo, and IA and NM James Infiesto as resource speakers.

“In a pandemic, we are focusing on chess as it appears to be one of the best solutions for our para athletes to get themselves going again in sports,” said Agustin. – Rappler.com