Lingayen – Young Pangasinense chess enthusiasts, who were trained during a four-day chess clinic sponsored by the provincial government last September will gather together again for the staging of the 5th Pangasinan Age Group Chess Championship (PAGCC) on October 10-11 at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center, here.
A tournament sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), PAGCC is a brainchild project of Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. which seeks to discover chess talents at the grassroots level in the province.
For years, the project that is conducted in partnership with the Pangasinan Chess League (PCL) has extended its scope as it accommodated young chess players who hail from nearby cities and provinces in Northern Luzon.
PAGCC, a component tournament of the Pangasinan Chess Festival (PCF), has seven age categories: 20 and under, 18 and under, 16 and under, 14 and under, 12 and under, 10 and under and 8 and under. Participants may avail of free-of-charge registration.
Other component tournaments of the PCF include: 5th Pangasinan Chess Championship slated on November 7-8 and the 7th Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. Cup Open Chess Tournament scheduled on December 11-13.
It was learned from Provincial Sports Director Modesto Operanadi that the staging of PCF became instrumental to the career growth of Pangasinense chess sensation.
The most celebrated is Haridas Pascua of Mangatarem town, who completed the third and last GM norm last August in Abu Dhabi Chess Festival, but still needs to earn 48 more points to upgrade his existing Elo chess rating from 2452 to 2500 to be formally declared as the 16th GM of the Philippines and the first Pangasinense to attain said feat.
At 21, Pascua was feted as the second Pangasinense International Master (IM) — 57 years after when the late Rodolfo Tan Cardoso of Alaminos City, the first chess IM in Asia, got the title.
Women Fide Masters Cherry Anne Mejia of San Jacinto and Samantha Glo Revita of Rosales are also close to becoming International Masters.
Many other participants of the chess clinics and tournaments organized by the province have become varsity players of top schools in Manila.
By Dexter A. See