EUGENE Torre became the first Filipino and Asian male player to be inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.
The 69-year-old Torre, who became Asia’s first grandmaster in 1974, was conferred the distinction after the World Chess Federation approved his nomination during an online meeting of the FIDE Council on Tuesday (Manila time).
The Filipino chess great joined women’s Grandmaster Judit Polgar of Hungary and Polish-Argentine Grandmaster Miguel Najdorf on the short list of nominees conferred with the honor for this year.
“It’s a great honor to be included in the revered list of names who I hold in high esteem. This I share with my countrymen,” said Torre, a native of Iloilo, in a statement.
Casto ‘Toti’ Abundo, executive director of the Asian Chess Federation and a member of the FIDE Historical Committee, announced Torre’s latest achievement in the sport that has been synonymous to his name for a long time.
Abundo was part of the nominating committee along with Chairman Willy Iclicki of Belgium, Andrzej Filipowicz of Poland, and Berik Balgabaev of Kazakshtan.
So far, only 37 names have been inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame since it was first established in 1984, although it was only in 2001 that it began to recognize its first batch of inductees nominated by FIDE, namely Jose Raul Capablanca, Emmanuel Lasker, Paul Morphy, and Wilhelm Steinitz, and Robert ‘Bobby’ Fischer, the American Grandmaster who was a close friend of Torre.
Former women’s world champion Xie Jun was the first Asian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.
Among the chess legends already on the list are Mikhail Botvinnik, Tigran Petrosian, Vasily Smyslov, Boris Spassky, Mikhail Tal, Alexander Alekhine, Anatoly Karpov, and Garry Kasparov.