Pascua, Galas capture titles

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Other Sports
  • Read: 503

GM-candidate  Haridas Pascua  and WIM Bernadette Galas  crowned  themselves as the champions in the  2017 Battle of GMs-National Chess Championships at the Alphaland Makati Place.

Pascua, ever so eager to join  the country’s elite and become the country’s next  grandmaster, humbled  IM Ronald Bancod  in the 11th  and final round to  capture the title in the prestigious, 12-player  tournament with 7.5 points on  five wins and five draws.                 
More importantly,  Pascua  earned  the right to join the Philippine team to the  43rd  World Chess Olympiad  scheduled  Sept. 23-Oct. 7 in  Batumi, Georgia.                   
The 24-year-old  Information Technology graduate at  the University of Baguio finished half a point ahead of  erstwhile co-leader IM Paolo Bersamina, who was held to a draw by  United States-based GM Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr.  in another keenly-watched final round encounter.
“I’m very  happy to win the title,” said  the Mangatarem, Pangasinan-born Pascua, who earned his third and final GM norm  in  the Abu Dhabi Masters Open two years ago but still need to  reach an ELO  rating of 2500 to be conferred with the title by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).     
Top seed GM John Paul Gomez outlassed  reigning national junior champion John Marvin Miciano to join Bersamina in second to third places .
Barcenilla finished  in  solo fourth place with  6.5 points.
IM Chito Garma trounced  early sensation Jonathan Jota to share  fifth  to sixth places with his victim with  five  points.
Jota, who rocked the tournament with a  pair of upset victories over GMs Rogelio Antonio Jr., and Darwin Laylo, suffered his third loss since  he defaulted his seventh-round game against Gomez  due to a conflict with the NCAA schedule.
In the women’s division, Galas outplayed WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego to bag the title  with 7.5 points and earned a ticket to the  Batumi Olympiad next year.
Galas, the UAAP Season 78 MVP with La Salle, was half a point ahead of Catherine Perena-Secopito, who was upset by WIM Shania Mae Mendoza.
Despite the loss, Secopito finished second, followed by  WIM Mikee Charlene Suede and San Diego.
Suede whipped WFM Chery Ann Mejia to  join San  Diego with 6.5 points.
Mendoza  wound up  fifth with six points, followed by Christy Bernales and Mejia with 5.5 points.
Notably absent is  the country’s top female player, Janelle Mae Frayna, who  is scheduled to compete in  the Asian Mertial Arts and  Indoor Games.
National  Chess  Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Cong.  Prospero “Butch” Pichay awarded the  trophies and cash prizes to the  winners, assisted by NCFP director Cliburn Anthony Orbe and tournament director Red  Dumuk.
The event is supported  by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) under chairman Butch Ramirez.