By Arman Armero
Manila Standard Today
PATTAYA, Thailand—There’s something about Haridas “Dirty Harry” Pascua that his opponents just cannot figure out.
Locked in a drawish position in the middlegame, Pascua, the country’s top bet in the Under-14, still managed to squeeze out a win over Fide Master Chua Zheng Yuan Terry of Singapore to keep his winning streak intact with only three rounds remaining in the 8th Asean + Age Group Chess Championship at the Jomtien Thani Hotel here.
Pascua, 13, twice refused the Singaporean’s offer of a draw, and in the end, the gambit paid off, as the no. 4 seed Terry turned out to be the first to blink in the tense endgame, with the Filipino threatening to promote a passed pawn on the c-file.
It was the sixth win in as many rounds for the Mangatarem, Pangasinan native, including two “escape” victories that put him 1.5 ahead of his closest pursuers.
“Dalawang beses siyang nag-offer ng draw, pero tinanggihan ko. Sabi ko na lang, kung sino unang magkamali talo. Noong endgame na nga, nagkamali siya kaya nagkaroon ako ng passed pawn,” said Pascua, who completed the win after a marathon 71 moves of a Sicilian.
But even as Pascua was engaging the Singaporean in their battle for upmanship, there were some good news emanating from other fronts.
Jerad Docena, the nine-year old whiz from Tagbilaran, Bohol, outplayed Le Huu Thai of Vietnam in 40 moves of a Pirc to climb into the no. 2 spot in the boys’ Under-10 after collecting 5.0 points out of a possible six, or only half a point adrift of Tran Tuanh Minh, the 23rd seed from Vietnam.
“Mama-mate ko na po siya, kaya po siya nag-resign,” said Docena, a student at Grace Christian School in Tagbilaran.
In the girls’ Under-8, Marie Antoinette San Diego and Samantha Glo Revita also won their respective matches, with San Diego disposing of Nguyen Thanh Thuy Tien to move into a tie for the top two spots with Lin Htet Htet Oo of Myanmar.