Filipino chess legend Eugene Torre is now a Hall of Famer.
Torre, the first grandmaster (GM) from Asia, was officially inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame on Oct. 5 at the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station in Missouri. The 70-year-old chess icon was accompanied by his wife, Maria Lina, and Philippine-born American GM Wesley So at last week’s induction ceremony.
Torre now joins an elite group recognized as the greatest to ever play the game, which include Gary Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Robert James Fischer and Boris Spasky.
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“I share this honor with my countrymen and all Asian players because my motivation from the start was really to inspire them,” said Torre during his acceptance speech.
It was first revealed that Torre was among the inductees alongside Hungarian Judit Polgar and Argentine Miguel Najdorf during an FIDE Council meeting on April 19, 2021.
Torre is considered a trailblazer not just in the Philippines but also in Asia. In 1974, Torre became the first Asian to qualify for the grandmaster title at 22 years old after winning the silver medal in the 21st Chess Olympiad in Nice, France.
In 1976, Torre captured the world’s attention when he became the first to defeat a reigning world champion in Anatoly Karpov.
Torre also bagged bronze medals in the 1980, 1986 and 2016 Chess Olympiad, as well as a silver medal in the 2010 Asian Games in China.