GM Joey Antonio: Chess more popular than ever
Grandmaster Joey Antonio

GM Joey Antonio: Chess more popular than ever

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - February 5, 2021 - 1:21pm

MANILA, Philippines – “Napakaganda ng response ng tao sa chess ngayon,” exclaimed Chess Grandmaster Joey Antonio during the TOPS Usapang Sports forum online Friday.

In a question fielded by this writer for Philstar.com, Antonio, now playing for the Iloilo Kisela Knights in the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP), addressed a question about the response by the general public to the sport and the newly formed sports body.

“Marami nagme-message,” bared Antonio. “Yung iba gusto na mag-chess at gusto magpaturo sa akin. Dati, yung iba sabi nila na boring yung chess. Pero ngayon gusto nila matuto.”

Antonio’s colleagues in the PCAP also corroborated his observation.

Sharing from his home in Dallas in the US, GM Ino Sadorra weighed in, “Hindi lang sa family and friends. Since the pandemic started, we have seen more people join chess clubs online. Chess.com, the biggest chess website in the world, has seen its membership jump during this time. And grabe yung Queen’s Gambit sa Netflix. Timing na timing ang palabas to encourage young girls. And top players are playing top tournaments.”

Palawan Queen’s Gambit and La Salle Women’s Chess Team coach Susan Neri concurred.

“We have statistics to show that the chess market got boosted by 500% during this pandemic,” said Neri. “The benefits from chess have been appreciated more. I have foreign and local students who are young as seven years old and as old as 43 years of age. Chess has become our common language and the sport has made the world even closer in this time.”

Antonio also believes that the sport has helped keep people off the streets with COVID-19 still wreaking havoc on the entire world.

“Ang chess nakakatulong sa gobyerno para hindi lumabas (ng bahay),” said Antonio. “Kahit maghapon o magdamag ka maglaro ng chess, hindi mo kailangan lumabas kasi magagawa mo na online. Pwede mag-training, maglaro at magturo ng online.”

“Tingin ko chess lang ang may kaya nito. Yung mga contact sports kailangan lumabas ng bahay para maglaro. Pero yung chess sa bahay ka lang, okay na.”

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