FILIPINO icon Eugene Torre is batting for standard chess to be a regular event in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The 71-year-old Asia’s first Grandmaster (GM) and playing national team coach is saddened that regular chess was excluded in next month’s Phnom Penh Games calendar and were replaced by Ouk Chatrang or Cambodian chess and Xiangqi or Chinese chess instead.
“Unfortunately, international chess is not part of this year’s SEA Games,” said the face of the sport in the country.
Mr. Torre said classical chess should have been considered since the region has produced strong players not just like himself but also Wesley So, a former World No. 2 ranked chesser who was born in Cavite but is now an American.
“It is my hope that it will become a traditional event in the near future even if it’s just for two medals such as in the standard event for open and women categories,” said Mr. Torre.
“This is nothing compared to the numerous medals at stake in swimming, boxing, athletics and more events that are always part of this biennial sports celebration,” he added.
Despite its absence, Mr. Torre, who will see action in the men’s singles and triple 60-minute events, said they have prepared hard for the event for months now.
“Our representatives had been very busy training so as to get familiarized with the intricacies involved in both games,” he said.
Also part of the squad were GMs Darwin Laylo and Joey Antonio, Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna, International Masters Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Paulo Bersamina and Angelo Young, Marie Antoinette San Diego, Shania Mae Mendoza, Edmundo Gatus, Jackson Hong and Venice Vicente.
The Filipinos are seeing action in four events in xiangqi and seven events in Ouk Chatrang. — Joey Villar