June 5, 2023

Filipino International Master Paulo Bersamina has topped the chess tournament that was held online, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, organized by fellow Baguio IM Haridas Pascua.

The tournament, played on the free chess online server Lichess, has attracted other top chess players not only from the Philippines but also from other countries in Southeast Asia.

The participants competed at the virtual IM King Hari Arena that started at 7 p.m. on April 10, according to the 26-year-old chess wizard from Baguio, who hails from Mangatarem, Pangasinan.

FIDE Master Austin Jacob Literatus trailed Bersamina while IM Joel Pimentel and IM Daniel Maravilla Quizon came third and fourth, respectively.

Completing the top 10 finishers are non-rated players Mark Jay Bacon, Michael Concio, Jr., Timothy So Koa, Kyle Ochoa, and FM Yinn Long Wong.

Foreigner Harrison Lye is the 10th overall winner.

Pascua, who had been representing Baguio and the Philippines in international tournaments, was overwhelmed with the number of participants. This made him decide to make the activity a monthly event.

Pascua, whose GM title was approved conditionally by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) or World Chess Federation, needs to reach the minimum Elo rating of 2500 to become a full-fledged GM.

He has already secured the three required GM norms but his Elo rating remains below 2500.

He will soon become the 20th Filipino to become a GM since Eugene Torre became the first GM from Asia in the 1970s. – Harley F. Palangchao