Philippines, 24 May 2018
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Eugene Torre bares plans for advancing Philippine Chess

MANILA (PNA) -- To attain the goals he set in establishing the Eugene Torre Chess Foundation and the Chess Center, also bearing his name, the First Filipino and Asian Chess Grandmaster named six individuals, who he said possess unsullied integrity to assist him in his search for the first from this shore to emerge the world chess champion.

“These men are of proven integrity and financial capability and who, I believe, are capable of helping me achieve the feat I almost did but lost in the homestretch,” the now 62-year-old Torre, who a little over three decades ago succeeded barging into the quarterfinal round of the Candidates Matches, which, then was to decide the challenger to the reigning world champion, said in the SCOOP Sa Kamayan session held June 1 at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura.

He was referring to businessmen-sportsmen Cesar Iligan, head of the Fianchetto Realty, Reginal Tee, patron of new chess sensation Wesley So and owner of the company that makes Gibi and Timberland shoes, among others, banker Alex Marquez, National Chess Federation of the Philippines directors Elmer Sangalang and Ed Madrid and Asian Chess Federation deputy president Toti Abundo.

“Ang mga taong ito, kumbaga, ay made na at wala nang interes na gamitin ang chess for their own personal benefit. So, I think, all that we all want to accomplish in Foundation’s aim of developing at least one from among the talents to be discovered by the Chess Center to becoming a world champion will be accomplished,” Torre told SCOOP members.

Torre, who owns the record as the only man to make 21 appearances in the World Chess Olympiad over the past 40 years, pointed out that the Foundation and the Chess Center will be working hand-in-hand with the latter tasked of identifying new and fresh talents and the former given the job of polishing them besides raising the needed funds for the purpose.

“We will be assisting the NCFP in organizing tournaments in the countryside, hold clinics and seminars with Fide (International Chess Federation) instructors as resource persons,” Torre , who learned the rudiments of the sport from his namesake grandfather at age five, said by way of spelling out the program.

“I would just like to emphasize that not all of our energy will be spent on producing world-beaters,” the many-time Philippine and Asian champion clarified. “One other area we would like our attention to focus on is to develop players who will be good on the chess boards and, likewise, in leading productive lives.”

“Besides producing a Filipino world champion, my other obsession really is to produce players na ang magagaling nilang kaalaman sa paglalaro ay, mai-apply nila sa kani-kanilang buhay towards becoming productive assets to Philippine society,” Torre, who earned his first and second GM noms in a short but successful one year campaign in 1974, reasoned out.

Torre, father to lone daughter Eloise Nicole with wife Marilyn, battled Hungarian GM Zoltan Ribli in a first-to-win 10 encounter in Alicante, Spain in 1982 but failed in a deciding game that would have advanced him into the Final Four had he survived and, perhaps challenge the reigning world champion, Anatoly Karpov, then.

“Lack of fund was the main reason. Then President Marcos promised to help me, but the letter he asked me to send him, I learned later, hindi daw nakarating sa Malakanyang, so I was forced to leave for Spain on my own by welling chess books and some of my properties,’ he recalled.

“Although I failed, hindi na rin naman masama ang narating ko. Being in the top 8 in the world ranking is something to be proud of,” he related. “Since then inisip ko na kung paano ako makatutulong na may makarating higit pa sa narating ko and, hopefully, ma-realize ko ito dito sa Foundation at Chess Center na itinayo namin ng mga natin sa sports.”

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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