Pascua zooms to share of lead in Johor Chess '17
(Associated Press) - December 16, 2017 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Slowly but surely, International Master Haridas Pascua is closing in on the Grandmaster title that was his for the taking for two years now.

The 24-year-old Pascua, rated 2424 but who needs to reach the 2500 to officially become a GM, downed Uzbek IM Javokhir Sindarov to zoom to a share of the lead with two others after the eighth and penultimate round of the fourth Johor International Chess Open in Johor, Malaysia Friday.

The win sent Pascua, an Information Technology graduate at University of Baguio, in a three-way tie at No. 1 with India’s IM K. Rathnakaran and GM M. R. Venkatesh with 6.5 points apiece.

Rathnakaran, the erstwhile solo leader, was held to a draw by Malaysian IM Yeoh Li Tian, allowing Pascua and Venkatesh, who downed FIDE Master Dang Hoang Son of Vietnam, to catch up on him at the helm.

After eight rounds, Pascua, who clinched the GM title in the Abu Dhabi Open in United Arab Emirates two years back, however, is set to gain just 1.3 rating points as Sindarov, who is rated 2422, was the highest chesser he played in this nine-round tournament.

Pascua, however, could get extra rating points if he could beat or at draw top seed GM Karen Grigoryan of Armenio, whom the Filipino was facing in the final round at press time.

Half a point behind the Pascua-led lead pack with six points another Phl bet, IM Oliver Dimakiling, who turned back Chinese IM Li Bo.

Dimakiling zoomed to a share of fourth spot with five others and will take on Malaysia’s IM Yeo Li Tian for a chance of finishing somewhere on top.

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