Torre's comeback?

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
Chess in Asia has been somewhat neglected by Western media, but the region actually deserves more attention and ChessVibes intends to do better. This time it wasn't the Philippine super talent Wesley So who caught our eye, no, it was his 56-year-old compatriot Eugene Torre, who scored his best result in years.

Eugene Torre, born as Eugenio on November 4, 1951 is considered the strongest chess player the Philippines produced through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1974 he was the first Asian player who earned the title of International Grandmaster by winning the silver medal at the Olympiad in Nice. Two years later in Manila, Torre (not to be confused with the Mexican player Carlos Torre) scored a very convincing Black victory against the then reigning world champion:



During his now 4 decades long career, Torre has played in 19 consecutive Chess Olympiads, one more than Heikki Westerinen's record but one less than the 20 non-consecutive appearances made by Hungary's Lajos Portisch. However, at the 2008 Dresden Olympiad Torre will be non-playing team captain.

In recent years Torre made the news as being one of the few friends of the late Bobby Fischer. Torre worked on Fischer's team in his 1992 rematch with Boris Spassky and much later he conducted the infamous interviews on Filipino radio with Fischer.

Two weeks ago, Torre showed the world that he once was a world-class player by winning the 3rd President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) Cup. The tournament was held 6-13 September at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Paranaque City. The 9-round Swiss was the strongest entry seen in the Philippines in recent years with a field that included 21 international grandmasters and participants from 10 countries.

Among the top seeds and favourites were GM Murtas Kazgaleyev (KAZ), GM Zhang Zong (SIN), GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili (GEO), GM Li Chao (CHN), GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (IRI), and GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (VIE).

The local challenge was as usual led by young sensation GM Wesley So, still at 14 the world's youngest grandmaster and currently on track to a 2650+ rating. He was supported by evergreen veteran GM Eugene Torre, new star International Master John Paul Gomez who topped the Olympiad qualifying tournament, and GMs Jayson Gonzales, Mark Paragua, Bong Villamayor and Darwin Laylo.

Torre won the tournament with 7 points out of 9. Li Chao (currently playing in the Chinese team against the Russians) and Zhang Zhong (formerly Chinese but now playing under the flag of Singapore) scored the same amount of points but Torre was declared the winner on tiebreak.

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Here are two victories by Torre against strong opponents:



The National Chess Federation of the Philippines has begun a tradition of organising back to back GM Opens, and the USD 40,000 PGMA Cup held from 6-13 September 2008 was followed by the USD 30,000 Prospero Pichay Jr. Cup from 13-20 September 2008, which was won by GM Li Shilong.

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