Friday, June 19, 2009

Chess is the No. 1 game for Pinoys

Friday, June 19, 2009

Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THE game of chess is a global phenomenon with over 700 million players in 160 countries and is being played in such lonely outposts as the Gobi desert, Antarctica, underneath the sea in submarines and in the International Space Station.

There are 235 million people playing chess in the Internet and about seven million who play in official tournaments. These are staggering numbers and it is obvious that it is the most popular game, more than any other Olympic sport.

Chess is huge in India and China, the two most populous nations, and growing in South America and Africa and more so in
the Philippines. Another trend is that more women and children are playing compared to a decade ago.

The Social Weather Stations or SWS is a public opinion polling body in the Philippines. It is a private, independent, non-partisan, non-profit scientific institute, which conducts social surveys and social science research and other educational activities, using world-class professional standards.

Mahar Mangahas is the current president and CEO. He recently came up with an article about the popularity of chess in the Philippines.

Former Fide president Florencio Campomanes asked him if there was any survey made on how many Filipinos play chess and their age patterns.

Mangahas said there was a survey between March 30 and April 2, 2008 of Leisure Time and Sports for the International Social Survey Program, of which Social Weather Stations is a member.

Such surveys only cover adults, or those aged 18 and up.

The survey asked, “Thinking about games rather than sports or physical activities, what type of game do you play most frequently?”

Chess was the number one answer, about 15.6 percent. This translates to 8.5 million adult chess players nationwide, based on a population of 54.1 million Filipino adults. This figure does not include those below 18, which is substantial.

It was found out that 20 percent of the adults in Metro Manila and 18 percent in Luzon know how to play the game. That is higher than the 12 percent in Visayas and Mindanao.

Another important point is that chess is more of a man’s game (26 percent) than a woman’s game (5 percent).

Also, chess gets less popular as people get older—with 21 percent in the 18-24 age group playing, 20 in the 25-34 group, 17 in the 35-44 group, 13 in the 45-54 group, and five among those 55 and up.

And if you think that the sport is played mainly by the “tambay” or the lower classes, then you don’t understand chess culture in the Philippines .

SWS also pointed out that “the popularity of chess grows with education and socio-economic class.”

It is the favorite game of only one percent of those who didn’t finish elementary school; 10 percent of those who spent some years at high school, 20 percent of those who spent a few years in college, and 26 percent of college graduates.

Only 11 percent of class E adults, compared to 24 percent of class ABC adults, call chess their favorite game.

With the introduction of chess in the curriculum for Grades 3 to 6 and all levels of high school, the number of chess- playing Filipinos will increase by at least 20 percent or even more.

This will increase the readership of Chessmoso by leaps and bounds as Cebu has a population of about 2.5 million,of which 2 million are in Metro Cebu.

KIMKIM SIMUL. The Philippines and Cebu’s newest International master and pride Kimkim Yap conducted a 15-board simul exhibition at the town plaza in Bogo just recently.

Lito Fernan Mawigsaca was the sole winner, while Joel Lim managed to eke out a draw.

Sponsors of the event were Hon. Junie Martinez, R and F Pharmacy and Dodong Dy Farm. Many thanks also to the organizers Dr.Ben Rodriguez and Joe Nuñez. It’s nice to know that we have important and big supporters of chess outside the city.

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