EVEN at 60, Eugene Torre, Asia’s first Grandmaster, is still at it.
Torre will be appearing in a record 21st stint in the World Chess Olympiad as he is set to take the place of fellow GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, who begged off to continue his studies at Texas Tech University where he is taking B.S. Applied Mathematics.
Chess’ own version of the Olympics is slated August 27-September 10 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Torre finished a strong third in a tie with International Master Oliver Dimakiling with 20 points at the end of the 2012 National Open Chess Championships, the qualifying tournament for the Olympiad.
Dimakiling, however, earned the third and last automatic berth to the national men’s team following a superior tiebreak with Torre.
GM Mark Paragua topped the tournament, with Sadorra settling for runner-up honors.
“This is unexpected. I never envisioned myself representing the country in the biggest stage of chess competition as a senior citizen,” said Torre, a brand-new grandfather, who will break a tie with Hungarian GM Lajos Portisch for the most number of stints in the Olympiad.
Portisch has played in 20 consecutive Olympiads, while Torre has represented the country in 19 straight Olympiads and 20 overall. The Filipino first saw action in the Olympiad in Siegen, Germany in 1970, and the latest in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia in 2010.
Torre won his last four matches in the 15-match marathon to catch up with Dimakiling in third place.
The National Chess Federation of the Philippines exercised its option to pick the last player in the team by tapping GM Oliver Barbosa.
The country’s top player, GM Wesley So, a shoo-in to the team, will man the top board followed by Barbosa, Paragua, Torre and Dimakiling.