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Manila, Philippines


Photo courtesy of David Llada

First Asian Chess Grandmaster Eugene Torre continues to make history as he becomes the first Filipino and first Asian Male to be inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame of the World Chess Federation.

GM Torre, alongside Polish-Argentine GM Miguel Najdorf and Hungarian GM Judit Polgar, was among the nominees in the World Chess Hall of Fame honored to join other notable chess players in history such as Bobby Fischer, Nona Gaprindashvili, Garry Kasparov, Alexander Alekhine, Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Tal, Bors Spassky, Jose Capablanca, and many more.

Torre’s illustrious career flourished when he became a chess grandmaster at the age of 22 — gaining the highest possible title for a chess player. The first Asian Grandmaster qualified for the title in 1974 at the 21st Chess Olympiad in Nice, France. In 1976, he was the only chess player to beat the then-reigning World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov. And in 1980, he was ranked No. 17 in the world chess rankings.

By this time, it can already be considered a blunder not to recognize the world class talent of Filipino chess players.

The country produced the first Filipino to reach the 2600 FIDE rating in Mark Paragua — the youngest Filipino chess grandmaster who gained the title at the age of 20. In 2017, the Women Chess Grandmaster Title was awarded to Janelle Frayna, making her the first ever Filipina to achieve such high rating from the World Chess Federation. Former Philippine top chess player Wesley So is currently ranked as No. 9 in the world chess rankings. He represented the country until he transferred to the US Chess Federation in 2014 due to his disillusionment over the system in the Philippine Chess Federation at that time.

Propitiously, the country is rectifying the game in Philippine Chess today, as recently, the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) launched the country’s first Professional Chess League featuring several finest chess players in the country — providing a platform for Filipino chess talents to develop their skills and further excel in the sport.

In no time, it will be impossible not to notice and be captivated by the whiz of Filipino chess talents.


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