Asia’s first Grandmaster Eugene Torre of the Philippines was officially inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) in a fitting ceremony accorded to legends at the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station in Missouri on Wednesday, October 4 (Philippine time).
Also inducted with him into the WCHoF were Poland-born Argentine Miguel Nagdorf and Hungarian Judit Polgar while U.S. Chess Hall of Fame inductees Daniel Willard Fiske, James Tarjan, and John Watson were also feted.
Eugene Torre story
The 70-year-old Torre, as described by a chessbase.com story, is Asian chess’ trailblazer for half a century. He has achieved significant continental milestones as the first grandmaster (1974), the first to beat a reigning world champion in Anatoly Karpov (1976), and the first to reach the World Championship’s Candidates stage (1982-1983).
Torre said, “We’re very proud especially as a Filipino and my understanding is that we’re the first Asian male inductee, which is an added honor for us.”
He was accompanied by his wife Maria Lina who shared snapshots of the prestigious event on her Facebook and wrote, “It was such a blessing to witness Eugene’s induction to The World Chess Hall Of Fame. First and foremost, I am thankful to the LORD for granting him this award. Over the years, I have watched him as he invested the time, effort, and energy to support the growth of chess in the Philippines.”
The supportive wife also said, “I’ve seen him encourage children who aspire to be chess champions, and I’ve had first-hand view of the hard work he puts in to spread his love of chess. This award has elevated his morale and is the pinnacle of his chess career. Thank you to everyone for all the well-wishes and messages of congratulations.”
Indeed, Torre’s Facebook was flooded with congratulatory greetings.
Filipino-born American GM Wesley So also witnessed Torre’s induction.
Hall of Fame ceremony
FIDE Special Project Director Willy Iclicki, as quoted by chessbase.com, said, “The 2021 World Chess Hall of Fame inductees exemplify the global impact and inclusivity chess has to offer, and we’re honored to include their contributions to the game’s rich history.”
The Halls of Fame inductees were chosen by players, authors, journalists, scholars, organizers, and supporters of the game for their impact on the sport.
Torre and the rest of the Hall of Famers each received a plaque bearing their image and biography. Their notable games and highlights will also be featured in a digital interactive gallery.
He added, “Thankful and honored to be an inspiration not just to Filipinos and Asians, but also to the whole world.”
Eugene Torre was was Philippine Olympiad team member for a record 23 times, winning three individual medals on board (silver at Nice 1974 and bronze at Malta 1980 and Dubai 1986). He also copped a bronze on board three in Baku in 2016 at the age of 64.
He was also the official second of Bobby Fischer in his 1992 rematch with Boris Spassky.
The WCHOF honors and recognizes the game’s greatest players from the United States and across the globe. It houses both the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame with the induction being held in an annual ceremony in Saint Louis, Missouri, since 2011.
And the inductions were held during the opening ceremonies for the annual U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships since 2012.