By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
International Master Haridas Pascua scored back-to-back wins and gained a share of the lead in the 10th and penultimate round of the “Road To Batumi” chess championships on Friday at the Alphaland Makati Place.
Trailing solo leader IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia by a full point after eight rounds, Pascua pounced on his next rivals Jonathan Jota and IM Chito Garma to improve to 7.5 points on five wins and five draws.
The triumphs tied him with Garcia on top after the 22-year-old settled for draws with Grandmaster Joey Antonio and IM Paulo Bersamina.
The crucial final round is being played at presstime with Pascua up against Grandmaster John Paul Gomez and Garcia squaring off with Jeth Romy Morado.
FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza was only half a point behind Garcia and Pascua with 7 points after drawing with Morado on Round 9 then besting Jota on Round 10, while Bersamina and Gomez are at joint fourth to fifth with 6.5 points.
In women’s side, Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza kept her 1-point lead over Woman International Master Catherine Secopito after beating WFM Michelle Yaon in the eighth and penultimate round.
The win improved her record to 6.5 points.