MANILA — With “avid chess player” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo present, officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) signed on Thursday a deal that would pave the way for Filipino chess grandmasters to train teachers in the “game of kings and queens.”
DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus and NCFP president Prospero Pichay signed an agreement for the chess organization to help the DepEd institutionalize the teaching of chess from Grade 3 until high school so that the country would achieve “90 percent chess literacy” and regain its “chess supremacy in Asia.”
“It is because chess is considered a game that encourages a higher level of thinking that DepEd this year will start teaching it in elementary and high school,” Lapus said during the signing held at the DepEd central office in Pasig City.
The event also marked the creation of the National Chess Academy (NCA) which will serve as the training venue for chess teachers, students, coaches, and arbiters. It will also organize age-group tournaments in all regions.
Lapus added that chess has been one sporting event where Filipinos had a greater chance of producing “super grandmasters.”
“Just like Wesley So, our youngest and highest rated Filipino grandmaster who is just a few notches away from the elite club of world chess,” he said.
Lapus said the NCA would hold office at the De La Salle University under the supervision of NCFP Vice-President and Former Commission on Higher Education chair Rolando Dizon, FSC.
The academy’s executive director will be Bong Belen, whose school in Tanauan, Batangas, the First Asian Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH) will serve as the main training center, according to Lapus.
After the signing, Lapus and Pichay presented their agreement to the President, who graced the signing that was also attended by Filipino grandmasters Eugene Torre and Buenaventura Villamayor.
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