by RONALYN BANAKEN
After his stint in an international tournament in Abu Dhabi, University of Baguio (UB) alumnus International Master Haridas Pascua is now just 38 points away from becoming a Grandmaster, the highest title accorded by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), or the World Chess Federation.
Pascua earned his final norm – his last one to becoming a Grandmaster – at the 22nd Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival Masters’ Tournament on Aug. 23-31.
Pascua, 22, currently has an Elo rating of 2462. The required Elo for a Grandmaster is 2500. The Elo rating is the scoring system used by FIDE in assigning points to players according to their performances.
Norms (qualifying standards) and Elo rating are two major considerations in awarding FIDE titles. A player must display a striking performance in a tournament – usually lasting a week or more – to be able to earn points converted to their Elo equivalent.
“It’s tougher than you think,” said Pascua. “The number of points that you get from a single tournament entirely depends on your performance. If you performed poorly, you get a deduction.”
He is set to compete in five tournaments – two international and three local – in the coming months to earn the needed 38 points.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to put in a good play,” he said.
If he becomes a Grandmaster, Pascua will be the 17th Filipino to have received the title.
FIDE, which connects the various national chess federations around the world and acts as the governing body of international chess competition, was founded in 1924 in Paris, France and is headquartered in Athens, Greece. It currently has 158 member associations, including the Philippines’ National Chess Federation.
Haridas graduated from UB in May last year under the program Associate in Computer Technology – Multimedia and Web Development. He has travelled the country extensively and has been to the US, Russia, India, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, among others, in his bid to secure the Grandmaster title. Once achieved, the title is generally held for life.
Pascua in Abu Dhabi
Pascua in another match during the Abu Dhabi tournament
Pascua goes against Hungary’s Grandmaster Richard Rapport in a match in Abu Dhabi