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“Masters” clash in chess at the Porta Vaga roof deck

Photo courtesy of Pigeon Lobien

A chess master and an artist known as the “Master” in Baguio art circle will face off Wednesday at the roof deck of the Porta Vaga Mall using chess pieces as high as four feet done by a master sculptor who passed away earlier this year.

International Master Haridas Pascua will have his first face to face game since the pandemic started but will look across a 10 feet “board” in his showdown with noted Ibaloy artist Roland Bay-an in the Chess Skirmish at said mall just beside the queen of Roman Catholic church here, the Baguio Cathedral.

The two chess lovers will use the work of the late artist Allan Cosio who died last April in their showdown at 9AM.
Pascua has been sidelined since the Covid-19 pandemic has stopped all sports competitions and has since then concentrated on online chess tutorials to earn for his renwed attempt to get to the magic 2500 Elo rating to be accorded the Grandmaster title.

Pascua was supposed to play in the International Chess Federation or Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) 44th Chess Olympiad which is supposed to be played in August 5-18 last year in Khanty-Mansiyak, Russia but was postponed for next year due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“I am trying to earn for my international campaign,” Pascua earlier told this writer. “Pang-ipon po for future tournaments since wala po naming sponsors (I am trying to earn for future tournaments specially that I don’t have sponsors),” said the former board two national junior player, behind top board and now super GM Wesley So, who now plays under the American FIDE banner.

And that he can do at home while in quarantine due to the enhanced community quarantine which the city government declared for the city in compliance with the Luzon wide ECQ by the president. Despite the postponement of the Chess Olympiad, Haridas, who was born in Mangatarem, Pangasinan until moving here for his high school, said that he continues to train.

“As of now tuloy tuloy pa din [ang] training and aiming for GM title pa din. Ang next tournament sana sa Thailand this month pero na move (As of now, my training continues and aiming form my GM title. My next tournament supposedly is in Thailand, but then it was moved also),” said Pascua.

And this time, Pascua is very much motivated after getting married late last year.

“Mas motivated ako ngayon kasi mas lumaki na ang responsibility ko not only as a chess player and also as a husband (I am more motivated now with more responsibility not just as a chess player but also as a husband),” he quipped.

Bay-an is avid chess player and so his moniker “master” in the art circle.

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