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Palawan’s own “Queens’ Gambit” became the world’s first all-female professional team, set to “mark in the inaugural season” of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines.

Homegrown Marife Dela Torre, Yanika Eli Seratubias, and Jesibel Maberit alongside Women International Masters (WIM) Marie Antoinette San Diego, Catherine Pereña-Secopito, and Mikee Charlene Suede; with Women International Master-elect Shania Mae Mendoza; and Women National Masters (WNM) Carmelita Abanes, and Cecilia Cuizon have qualified for the PCAP conference pegged to start on January 2021.

Team owner Jojo Mitra and manager-coach Susan Neri, in a press statement on Sunday, said that it was time for the Philippines to “know that the lack of women in the sport is the reason why there are very few masters”.

“In choosing to field an all-female team, we will garner more interest from Filipinas to play chess,” Mitra said.

“Chess is not just for men. It’s time women play and show that all’s fair in the game,” Neri added.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra, who attended the first-ever players’ selection ceremony organized by the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP), the lone professional chess league in South East Asia, at the Quezon City Sports Club, highlighted the importance of playing chess as it promotes neutrality because the rule of the game does not require one to be physically gifted.

“Some people kasi you know are little short to play basketball or little heavy to play football, but here you know you can be tall, short — it’s a mind game — eh huwag nating sabihin na di tayo athletic, hindi tayo pwede mag chess”, Mitra said in a separate statement.

About 24 teams and a pool of players of around 350 applicants participated the selection ceremony, according to the officials of the league.

Those aspirants who fell short would be given another chance to join the upcoming conferences of PCAP in 2021.

“Many of the among applicants will be selected by the teams and some of them — if they will not be selected by the teams, it doesn’t mean that they cannot anymore play in PCAP — there will be three conferences this year, as in any of these conferences, the players have the opportunity to still play and in the next year, there will be another season,” said PCAP commissioner lawyer Paul Elaria in a statement.

The event was graced by sports icons and sports leaders, such as Grandmaster Eugene Torre, SGM Wesley So, Grandmaster Joey Antonio, PCAP Commissioner Michael Chua, and PCAP Founding Commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria.