Asia’s first Grandmaster Eugene Torre of the Philippines

Eugene Torre of the Philippines was nominated for the World Chess Hall of Fame by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), becoming the first male from Asia to be given such an honor.

Asia’s first Grandmaster Torre, 69, joined Polish-Argentine GM Miguel Najdorf and GM Judit Polgar of Hungary as the 2020 nominees of FIDE for the Hall in online proceedings held early this week.

The list was recommended by FIDE’s historical committee composed of chairman Willy Iclicki of Belgium, Andrzej of Poland, Berik Balgabaev of Kazakhstan and Casto Abundo of the Philippines, and approved by the FIDE Council.

“I’m very proud to be the first Asian male player to be honored with this,” said Mr. Torre in Filipino of his FIDE nomination.

Mr. Torre said it is a good development for players in this part of the world to be recognized for their achievements in the sport of chess.

“It’s a welcome development that Asians are being recognized in chess despite the fact that we are young in the sport compared to the Russians, Americans and Europeans,” he said.

“We have a lot of Asian world champions like Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand of India, Xie Jun of China and Filipino US-based Wesley So (World Fischer Random Champion),” added Mr. Torre, who became a Grandmaster at the age of 22 in 1974.

He follows Ms. Xie who was bestowed the honor in 2019.

The World Chess Hall of Fame was established in 1984 in St. Louis Missouri, but it was in only 2001 when it inducted the first five players nominated by FIDE, namely, Jose Raul Capablanca of Cuba, Wilhem Steinitz of Austria, Robert James “Bobby” Fischer and Paul Morphy  of the United States and Emmanuel Lasker of Germany.

Among the other legends in the Hall of Fame are Tigran Petrosian, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Botvinik, Boris Spassky, Mikhail Tal, Alexander Alekhine, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov. – Marlon Bernardino