UNIVERSITY of Baguio’s Haridas Pascua seeks to improve his Fide ranking in the Battle of GM’s chess championship on March 23 at the City State Tower Hotel in Ermita, Manila.

The high school senior UB student with an ELO rating of 2358 will be in a tough field for the 10-day competition. Pascua is a native of Pangasinan.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

At stake in the 10-day competition are trophies and cash prizes totaling P660,000.

Two-time champion GM Wesley So (ELO 2656) heads the list of grand masters in the tournament, which offers P200,000 to the champion.

Expecting to figure prominently in the title chase and prevent a third straight title by So are fellow World Cup participants GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. (ELO 2572) and GM Darwin Laylo (ELO 2527).

Also joining are GMs Eugene Torre (ELO 2506), Mark Paragua (2497) and Jayson Gonzales (2441); IMs Ronald Dableo (2464), Richard Bitoon (2458), Oliver Dimakiling (2441) and Rolando Nolte (2420); and NM Alcon John Datu (2220).

The participants in the women’s division are WIM Beverly Mendoza, WFMs Chardine Cheradee Camacho, Shercila Cua and Catherine Perena, Cherry Ann Mejia, WNMs Loreshyl Cuizon, Daisy Rivera, Christy Lamiel Bernales, Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Jedara Docena, Rulp Ylem Jose and Mikee Charlene Suede.

The runner-up will receive P100,000 and trophy, the third placer P70,000 and trophy, the fourth placer P50,000 and the fifth placer P30,000.

Cash prizes will also be given to the sixth to 12th placers: P20,000 (sixth), P15,000 (seventh) , P10,000 (eighth), P6,000 (ninth), P4,000 (10th), P3,000 (11th) and P2,000 (12th).

In the women competitions, the total cash prize of P150,000 will be given with the champion bringing home P50,000 and a trophy.

The runner-up and the third placer will get P30,000 and P20,000, respectively.

Cash prizes will also be given to the other finishers.