by RONALYN BANAKEN
University of Baguio’s (UB) top chesser FIDE Master Haridas Pascua shone anew in the National Blitz Chess Championship held at the Philippine Sports Commission Dining Hall in Manila last Dec. 27 – 29.
FM Pascua, an information technology student of the University, finished in a three-way tie for first with International Master Ronald Dableo and National Master John Alcon Datu. The trio each scored seven points and a half in the nine-round Swiss system event to tow the 76-player field.
Pascua finished strongly, defeating reigning Philippines National Games Blitz champion IM Oliver Dimakiling of Cagayan de Oro in the penultimate round and then drew with IM Dableo in the final round.
In the ensuing tie breaks, IM Dableo emerged on top, nosing out Pascua to the second spot. Meanwhile, NM Datu landed third.
A stellar field participated in the tournament – with five Grandmasters, seven International Masters and 14 National Masters in attendance.
Fresh from a stint at the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, Grandmasters Darwin Laylo, Mark Paragua, John Paul Gomez and Rogelio Antonio found the sailing rough throughout the tournament. GM Laylo eventually finished fifth, GM Paragua sixth, GM Gomez 10th and GM Antonio 14th.
Blitz chess is played with a time control of five minutes per player. The tournament was organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
The UB chess team is coached by Engr. Joseph Codiaman and Ronaldo Alvez of the UB Athletics Department.