Filipino Grandmaster Eugene Torre finally joined the World Chess Hall of Fame in a glittery ceremony at the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station in Missouri Wednesday.
The 70-year-old Torre received the plaque bearing his image and biography with no less than Philippine-born American chess wizards Wesley So and his wife, Maria Lina, in attendance.
He was actually named into the hall along with Hungarian Judit Polgar and Poland-born Argentine Miguel Najdorf last year, but it was only now that his name was immortalized as one of the sport’s greatest players along with world champions Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.
What made it truly special was the fact that Torre emerged as the first male player to get inducted into the Hall.
“I am thankful and honored to be an inspiration not just to Filipinos and Asians, but also to the whole world,” Torre, who became Asia’s first GM in 1974, said.
Torre holds the record of most number of Chess Olympiad appearances – 25 – from 1970 to 2018, including 23 as a player.
He won silver in board one behind the world champion Karpov and three bronze medals in the 1974 Nice Olympiad.
But he considers his 2016 bronze medal as his best performance in board one, which is also the same year So took the gold while playing for the United States.
“I have a performance rating of over 2800 on nine wins and two draws,” Torre, who acted as coach in 2008 and 2018, said.