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Teaching chess for a living for IM Pascua with no tournaments

THE HARI AND THE KING. A game between International Master Haridas Pascua (right) and Frank Cimatu, known as King, during the Chess Skirmish at the Porta Vaga Roofdeck last Wednesday. Pigeon Lobien

While the Covid-19 rages on with more infections and more contagious variants coming in and no tournaments, face to face, that may allow him to earn ELO rating points, International Master Haridas Pascua make do with teaching chess online.

Pascua is seeking the ELO rating 2500 points to become a full pledged Grand Master after completing his three norms in 2015.

“It may take a while,” said the 28 year old University of Baguio alum, who last played for the Philippine Team in the online World Cup.

Pascua said that he spends at least eight hours a day teaching from first time to intermediate players, some of them from foreign countries.

“It is what preoccupies me now,” admitted Pascua, who earns quite well from his tutorials, during the Chess Skirmish at the roof deck of Porta Mall last Wednesday.

Pascua last saw action on an actual board in February last year for one of the five slots of the Philippine team for the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad set at Khanty-Mansiyak, Russia which has been since postponed.

The pandemic has cut Pascua’s foray in international soils as he tried to chase the elusive 2500 mark.

His ELO rating has remained at 2418.

The Wednesday Chess Skirmish saw Pascua playing using a 4-foot king and queen pieces on a 12 square feet board made by the late sculptor Alan Cosio.

The event backed by Mangaywan and the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation – Baguio led by councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales was meant to promote chess and the art work of the late sculptor, an avid chess player.

Chess playing has practically stopped in the city with the Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League cancelled for almost two seasons now and the Baguio Center Mall organized Non-master chess tournament put on hold due to the pandemic.

The event was also backed by councilor Philian Weygan – Alan, RNG Luzon, Alan del Rosario and Jonathan Myl.

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