The Fallen Eagle
Carlos Torre Repetto was born in Yucatan, Mexico, in 1904. He is considered one of the brightest geniuses of the game of all time. His games are usually measured and qualified as jewels of beauty in books and journals. The Masters of the epoch compared him to Capablanca. In contrast, his life was marked by tragedy, a physical illness whose injuries affected his central nervous system, and suddenly stopped his climb to the peak of world chess. The chess life of the best Mexican player of all time is similar to other shooting stars of chess history, such as Paul Morphy and Rudolf Charousek, who for one or another reason just left a sample of their enormous potential.
He learned to play chess at the age of six, and in 1915 he went to the United States to attempt to prove himself against America's best chess players, winning the Louisiana Championship in New Orleans 1923 and also winning Detroit 1924. In the same year, Torre took third place in New York. In 1925, he took tenth place in Baden-Baden and tied for third/fourth place with Frank Marshall, behind Aaron Nimzowitsch and Akiba Rubinstein, in Marienbad. In the same year Torre took fifth/sixth place with Savielly Tartakower in Moscow and second/third place in Leningrad. In Chicago 1926, he tied for second/third place with Géza Maróczy, behind Marshall and won, ahead of Jose Joaquin Araiza, in Mexico City.
But his name is linked to one of the best and most famous gems of chess history. We are talking about his game against Emanuel Lasker during the Moscow Tournament in 1925. There he produced and created a new tactical idea: “The Windmill” or “El Molino.” His opinion about this game, even with a brilliant finish, an example in many textbooks, is very unconventional: "I do not think it was a good game, both made several mistakes, that was one of my worst games, and also the worst of Lasker.” Really very, very few people would give this honest opinion!
Also, he invented “The Torre Attack”; very popular among those chessplayers who do not like studying opening theory! It is characterized by the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 or 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bg5. The ninth World Champion Tigran Petrosian was one of the opening's best specialists. Additionally Carlos Torre introduced the Mexican Defence to chess theory in a match against Fritz Sämisch, in Baden-Baden 1925: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6!?
One of his most well-known phrases was the next one:
"The development of our ability is not that we become erudite in openings and expert in the endgame, because there is no development without harmony ... we should principally strive to play all stages equally well, that is, to play chess..."
Taking into account that Carlos Torre left chess at the age of just 21 years, it is impossible to know where he could have gone under “normal” circumstances, but it is quite conceivable that he could have fought for the world championship.
In 1977 FIDE awarded him the International Grandmaster title based on his results in the mid-1920. Torre was the first Mexican to ever achieve this title. Every year his birth city celebrates an international tournament in his memory.