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Chess in the Philippines has always had fans, but the question is whether the fanbase is growing or not.

Chess in the Philippines 2024

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The recent results in chess tournaments show increasing interest towards chess in the Philippines. Filipino Grandmasters, International Masters, and FIDE Masters climb higher in the rankings, delighting players and fans of the game. Read on to learn how this influences the game’s popularity and what its future will be.

If you decide to try a new hobby, then know that playing chess in the Philippines is one of the trendy options. The ancient game is drawing attention because it is available to everyone, and there is no special equipment required besides the chess board and pieces.

In this blog post, you can find out how the Chess Olympiad 2024 results for the Philippines prove that the game’s popularity is yet to increase even more.

Chess in the Philippines has always had fans, but the question is whether the fanbase is growing or not.

History of Chess in the Philippines – How the Game Crossed Time

Today, anyone can join the thousands of people playing chess in the Philippines. All you need is a chess set, some free time, and an opponent. If we caught your curiosity, here is why chess is still so interesting to players in this country:

Chess QuestionAnswer
When was chess first played in the Philippines?There is no information on when Filipinos first played chess, but the 1st Philippines International Chess Tournament was in Manila in 1973.
What chess tournaments can Filipino players participate in?There are many international tournaments by FIDE and other organizations, the Philippines Chess Olympiad and other Filipino tournaments.
What is the highest title a Filipino player can achieve?Grandmaster (GM), followed by International Master (IM), FIDE Master (FM), and Candidate Master.
How do I become a Filipino National Master in chess?Hold a chess master’s rating of over 2200 for over 300 USCF-rated chess games in tournaments.
Is there a chess federation for Filipino players?There is the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines and the Professional Chess Trainers Association of the Philippines (PCTAP, INC).
Is there a money prize in Filipino chess competitions?Playing chess in the Philippines brings fame and respect. Some tournaments have monetary rewards or material prizes alongside the recognition documents.
Who can play chess in the Philippines?A Filipino chess player can be anyone regardless of age, occupation, gender, or status. Even 3 or 4-year-old children familiar with the rules can play and enter a competition.
Where can I play chess in the Philippines?There are chess clubs, chess rooms, locations in the park where players gather, and anywhere else where you can set the chess board without the pieces falling off. On online chess sites, you can play against a computer or a player living on the other side of the world.

Considering all this, it is easy to understand why people are so fond of this strategy board game. Each person ranked as a Filipino chess player has taken his fascination to another level by becoming a professional.

The worldwide popularity of the logical game is the reason for the creation of many international competitions. Before reaching those peaks, Filipinos can enter the Chess Olympiad in the Philippines and other national tournaments.

Is Chess Popular in the Philippines?

The first Filipino chess grandmaster paved the road for many young players. Today, there are thousands of professional chess players and even more casual players. Here is what a chess PH Master says about it:

Chess is very popular in the Philippines; in every corner, you see people playing without clocks, just enjoying the game.
-FM Alekhine Nouri

Obviously, a game of chess has nothing to do with luck, however, gamblers often place wagers on chess games at the best sports betting sites in the Philippines for 2024. During the rich chess history, there have been ups and downs, but the game resists time and adversities.

Where Do People Go to Play Chess in the Philippines?

If you decide to play chess in the Philippines, you can do so by joining one of the 65 chess clubs registered at the National Chess Federation of the Philippines. There are 23 clubs rated 5 stars and 6 rated 4 stars.

If you prefer to be free from the restrictions of taking time to visit the land-based chess rooms, then know that 26 chess clubs have online chess sites. There are also many international sites open for Filipino players.

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Are There Any Filipino Grandmasters?

There is more than one Filipino chess Grandmaster, and they all astonish the crowd in every feasible way. For example, GM Eugenio “Eugene” Torre became the first Filipino and Asian player who qualified for the Grandmaster title.

NM Florencio Campomanes is the only non-European FIDE president (1982-1995). GM Barbossa So is a three-time U.S. Chess Champion and three-time Philippine Chess Champion. And that is just part of the list of Philippines’ chess Grandmasters.

Alekhine Nouri is another name you may see as the best Filipino chess player. He became the youngest Filipino and international FIDE Master and current Philippine Juniors Champion.

The girls also astonish the crowd. In 2017, Janelle Mae Frayna became the youngest Filipino chess Grandmaster – Woman Grandmaster by FIDE and the current Philippine Women’s Chess Champion.

On June 9th, 2023, the 10-year-old Nika Juris Nicolas became the first female chess National Master. It is expected this to be one of the many future achievements of the young player.

Most Popular Chess Tournaments

We can find a lot of sports news about chess in the Philippines about the current best players in the world ranking. There are even PH online casinos that also offer sports betting services and provide players with the opportunity to bet on and support their favorite players in international and Filipino competitions.

Chess Tournaments in the Philippines

The first official chess championship in the country was held in 1908 during President Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government. The first winner became the Filipino Cabinet Secretary General Fernando Canon.

During the last century, the championships ranked Filipino players and showed who were the National Masters. Today, there are online, in club, and national championships organized by the Philippines Chess Federation.

Filipino Chess International Masters

Every Filipino chess grandmaster has participated in an international chess competition and has a spot in the international ranking. The largest tournaments are the Chess Olympics, Grand Swiss, and FIDE tournaments.

The rank lists change constantly because many competitions and games help players improve their scores. Here is a list of the most popular Filipino players in 2023:

  • Julio Catalino Sadorra: FM (2004), IM (2007), GM (2011)

  • Oliver Barbosa: IM (2008), GM (2011)

  • Mark Paragua: IM (2001), GM (2005)

  • Paulo Bersamina: FM (2011), IM (2014)

  • Darwin Laylo: IM (2006), GM (2007)

  • Janelle Mae Frayna: WFM (2013), WIM (2014), WGM (2017)

  • Marie Antoinette San Diego: WFM (2012), WIM (2017)

  • Jan Jodilyn Fronda: WIM (2014)

  • Bernadette Galas: WIM (2013)

  • Shania Mae Mendoza: WFM (2014)

Considering all the above, it becomes clear that in the last 20 years, chess in the Philippines has drawn attention. The glory of the Filipino players grows as they take over higher positions in international competitions.


Chess in the Philippines has always had fans, but the question is whether the fanbase is growing or not. We answered this and a few other questions below. If the answers are not enough, the links will lead you to the special blog post dedicated to the popularity of chess.

It is hard to rank all existing Filipino chess players. It is recorded that people played chess in the Philippines over 200 years ago, which is part of a millennial history of chess. Today, GM Eugenio ‘Eugene’ Torre is considered the best Filipino chess player.

During the last decades, more Filipino chess players have participated in international competitions. This creates the question is playing chess in the Philippines popular, and the amazing results prove that the game’s glory and fanbase grows. We are yet to see how the young players will perform in future tournaments and how many titles they will bring home.

There are millions of chess players worldwide, and they all dream and work hard to get the highest possible title in the game. Many names on the list are Grandmasters from the Philippines. Some of the best Filipino chess players are Eugenio Torre, Janelle Mae Frayna, Julio Catalino Sadorra, and more.

To become a National Master (NM), you need to win the chess tournaments in the Philippines and hold the high-ranking position for a certain number of games. Don’t be surprised to see that more than one Filipino chess Grandmaster does not have a Filipino NM title.

The first step is to win almost every chess tournament in the Philippines and hold the title for the required time. Becoming a Filipino National Master is a major step, but even without it, you can win international chess tournaments and become Grandmaster, FIDE Master, and International Master.

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