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Pascua reigns in Battle of Grandmasters

By Jerome Lagunzad

Grandmaster-candidate Haridas Pascua and Woman International Master Bernadette Galas reigned supreme in the 2017 Battle of Grandmasters National Chess Championships that drew to a close yesterday at the City Club of Alphaland Makati Place.

The 24-year-old Pascua, with an ELO rating of 2427, humbled fellow IM Ronald Bancod (2276) in the 11th and final round to capture the coveted men’s division title with 7.5 points built around five wins and five draws.

More importantly, Pascua, an Information Technology graduate from University of Baguio, earned the right to join the Philippine team for the 43rd World Chess Olympiad set from Sept. 23 to October 7 next year in Batumi, Georgia.

“I’m very happy to win the title,” beamed Pascua, a proud native of Mangatarem, Pangasinan who earned his third and final GM norm in the Abu Dhabi Masters Open two years ago but still needs to reach an ELO rating of 2500 to be conferred with the title by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

The title bid of erstwhile co-leader, IM Paolo Bersamina (2397), came up short after he was forced to a draw by United States-based GM Rogelio Barcenilla Jr. (2457) in their keenly-watched final round encounter.

Top seed GM John Paul Gomez (2463) defeated reigning national juniors champion John Marvin Miciano (2212) to finish with 7.0 points, tying Bersamina from second to third spots in the process.

Not to be outdone was Galas (2111), the UAAP Season 78 MVP winner from La Salle who outplayed fellow WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego to bag the women’s title with 7.5 points.

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