Senior citizen father-son duo hoping to give Caloocan PCAP title
Pacifico (L) and Art Villasenor

Senior citizen father-son duo hoping to give Caloocan PCAP title

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - February 14, 2021 - 3:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — Following the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines’ inaugural draft in December of 2020, one of the curious selections was National Master Pacifico Villasenor by the Caloocan LoadManna Knights.

Curious only in the sense that he was — in all likelihood — at the age of 81, the oldest professional athlete drafted in sports.

However, the curiosity didn’t end there. 

Pacifico’s son, Art, was also taken in by the Knights and Art is at 60 years of age — making it a twin draft of senior citizens.

When you go beyond the immediate novelty, the Villasenors are a huge part of the Caloocan team which is leading the Northern Conference of PCAP. 

No, they aren’t here to relive their glory days. They are here to compete.

The elder Villasenor has four wins so far on the senior board. Had he a better grasp of online chess, he’d undoubtedly have much more.

His frustrations aside, Villasenor is just happy to be a part of PCAP.

“Matagal na rapat nangyari ito,” he said about the formation of PCAP. “Malaking tulong ito sa Philippine chess. Masaya ako na naabutan ko pa ito.”

Villasenor garnered his National Master title in 1969 and actively competed in an era when chess — for over the next several years — made waves in international and local circles.

This was when Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky captured the world’s imagination with their stirring battle for the World Chess Championship of 1972, and when Eugene Torre became the first Filipino Grandmaster. 

His son, Art, on the other hand, quietly followed in his father’s footsteps in spite of being told to concentrate on a career in the corporate world “as there was no money in chess.”

“My father had all these chess books that were given to him at that time as a privilege of being a National Master,” recounted the son. “He also kept all these clippings and since he didn’t teach me how to play chess, I had to learn on my own. When he wasn’t around, I would read and study his books and clippings.”

The son found his own groove and first showed his capabilities in college chess. Art competed for Adamson University in the UAAP and later for San Miguel-Magnolia in commercial chess leagues while his father first competed for Meralco and then later, San Miguel’s Beer division.

They nearly went up against each other but went their separate ways in the 1993 Far East Bank National Chess Tournament.

“My father hasn’t actively competed in almost 20 years,” related Art. “I think his last was around 2002.”

The intricacies of online chess aside, Art is happy to be teammates with his father in Caloocan. 

“I am very happy to be with him in PCAP,” summed up Art. “My father is in his 80s. Naiinip na sa bahay. Nung nagkaroon ng PCAP, na-revive yung interest niya at na revive yung hilig niya sa chess.”

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