Eugenio "Eugene" Torre (born November 4, 1951) is a Filipino chess player. In 1974, at 22 years old, he became the first Asian to qualify for the title Grandmaster by winning the bronze medal in the Chess Olympiad held in Nice, France. He is considered the strongest chess player the Philippines produced during the 1980s and 1990s, and has been playing for the Philippines on board 1 in eighteen Chess Olympiads.
Torre in 1984
|Born||November 4, 1951|
|FIDE rating||2437 (October 2020)|
|Peak rating||2580 (January 1983)|
|Peak ranking||No. 20 (January 1983)|
In a tournament in Manila in 1976, Torre was then the only one to beat the then-reigning World Champion Anatoly Karpov in a game that has become part of Filipino chess history. In 1982 he gained a spot in the World Chess Championship candidates matches, where he lost to Zoltan Ribli. He served as Bobby Fischer's second in the 1992 match against Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia.
Torre shot to prominence in 1976 as a possible future title challenger after winning a strong four-man tournament in Manila ahead of World Champion Anatoly Karpov – thus becoming the first player to finish ahead of Karpov in a tournament since the latter became world champion. In the summer of 1976, three grandmasters traveled to Manila, Philippines to participate in the Marlboro-Loyola Kings Challenge chess tournament. They were (in order by Elo): World Champion Anatoly Karpov (2695) from the Soviet Union, Ljubomir Ljubojević (2620) from Yugoslavia, and Walter Browne (2585) from the United States. They were joined by grandmaster Eugenio Torre (2505) from the Philippines for a double-round robin event. The average rating of the players qualified the tournament as a category XV event.
The result was surprising and momentous due to the inspired play of Torre. Not only did he defeat the world champion in the second round, but he went on to finish clear first ahead of Karpov, a feat no one had yet accomplished since the latter had become world champion. His success in the tournament earned Torre a place in history. The final standings and crosstable are as follows:
|1||Torre||–||1 ½||½ 1||1 ½||4½|
|2||Karpov||0 ½||–||1 ½||½ ½||3|
|3||Ljubojević||½ 0||0 ½||–||½ 1||2½|
|4||Browne||0 ½||½ ½||½ 0||–||2|
The high point of his career came in the early 1980s when he was ranked world No.17; successfully going on to qualify as a candidate for the world championship after tying for first with Lajos Portisch during the 1982 Toluca Interzonal.
Torre has the distinction of being the first Asian player to earn the title of International Grandmaster. He qualified for the Candidates Matches for the 1984 World Championship. In that preliminary stage, the contenders play matches against each other to determine who will challenge the world champion. Torre was eliminated when he lost his match against Zoltán Ribli by a score of 6–4.
After losing his quarterfinal candidates match to Ribli in 1983, Torre became disillusioned with chess and more or less went into semi-retirement. He went on to become a minor celebrity due to his daily one-hour TV programme Chess Today.
In 1984, Torre was selected to play in the second USSR vs. the Rest of the World competition held in London, England. The USSR team was led by the world's two (2) highest ranked players at that time, Garry Kasparov (2710 Elo) and Karpov (2700 Elo) while the Rest of the World was led by Viktor Korchnoi and Ljubomir Ljubojević both with 2635 Elo rating. Torre had an Elo rating of 2565 for this tournament where he contributed 2 points in 3 games, all against Andrei Sokolov, winning 2 and losing once.
Olympiads, Team Championships and Asian GamesEdit
From 1970 to 2010, the former business administration undergraduate from Mapúa Institute of Technology donned the national colors 20 times in the World Chess Olympiad, 19 of which were consecutively, to break the old record of 18 consecutive held by Heikki Westerinen. His 20 non-consecutive appearances tied the record set by Hungary's Lajos Portisch. During that 40-year period, he manned the top board for Team Philippines a record 17 times except in the 1970 (Siegen, Germany), 2006 (Turin, Italy) and 2010 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia) editions. In that stretch, Torre had played in 236 games winning 86, drawing 111 and losing 39 games for a grand total of 141½ points. The high point of his Olympiad career was winning the Bronze Medal four times in the Individual Standings, thrice while playing in Board 1: at the 21st Chess Olympiad (1974 Nice, France) where he went undefeated in 19 games (nine wins and ten draws) for a total of 14 points for a 73.7% winning percentage and a high 2622 performance rating (as compared to his Elo rating of 2450); 24th Chess Olympiad (1980 Valletta, Malta) where he scored 11 points in 14 games (nine wins, four draws, and one loss) for a winning percentage of 78.6% and performance rating of 2683 (2520 Elo), and lastly in the 27th Chess Olympiad (1986 Dubai, UAE) where he garnered 9½ points in 13 games (seven wins, five draws, and one loss) with a 73.1% winning percentage and 2637 performance rating (2540 Elo), and once as a player in Board 3 at the 42nd Chess Olympiad (2016 Baku, Azerbaijan) where he finished again undefeated in 11 games (9 wins and 2 draws) for a winning percentage of 90.9% and a very impressive performance rating of 2836 (2447 Elo) at the age of 65. Team Philippines achieved its initial highest finish of 11th place at the 1974 Chess Olympiad which was improved on by the 1988 Philippine Team.
In 1988, Torre captained the Philippine team to its best-ever 7th-place finish in the Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, Greece. breaking the previous high of 11th-place finish at the 21st Chess Olympiad. Torre finished with 9 points on 6 wins, 6 draws and 2 losses manning Board 1 with a high performance rating of 2620 as compared to his Elo rating of 2555. His teammates then included International Masters (IMs) Rico Mascariñas and Rosendo Balinas who played Boards 2 and 3, and then 3 untitled players namely Rogelio Antonio (Board 4), Eric Gloria (Board 5) and Rogelio Barcenilla (Alternate).
At the 39th Chess Olympiad held at Khanty-Mansiysk in 2010, Torre manned Board 4 for the Philippines and played 7 games where he scored 4½ points with 3 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss with a performance rating of 2460 which was a shade below his Elo rating of 2489. In 2012, Torre participated in his record 21st Olympiad appearance at the 40th Chess Olympiad breaking his tie with Lajos Portisch held at Istanbul, Turkey. He manned Board 3 in this edition of the Olympiad. He scored 3½ points in 7 games on the strength of 2 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses. He recorded a very high performance rating of 2611 in this Olympiad, higher than his 2469 Elo rating. In 2014, Torre again manned Board 3 for Team Philippines in the 2014 Tromso Olympiad for his record-setting 22nd appearance in the said tournament. He scored 5½ points in 9 games posting 3 wins, 5 draws against a solitary loss. He recorded a performance rating of 2527 and gained 9.9 Elo points in the said Olympiad. His Elo rating then was 2438.
In the 2016 42nd Chess Olympiad held at Baku, Azerbaijan, Torre played in his 23rd Olympiad, further extending his record, where he played on Board 3 for the Philippines. He played in all 11 games, the only Philippine player to do so, winning 9 games and drawing 2. He had a very high performance rating of 2836 and won the bronze medal for Board 3 just behind former teammate Wesley So of the United States and Zoltan Almasi of Hungary. He gained 46.9 Elo rating points increasing his Elo rating from 2447 to 2494. At the conclusion of the 2016 Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, Torre had already played a total of 270 games with 103 wins, 124 draws and 43 losses for a grand total of 165 points (61.1% winning percentage). He has also won 4 bronze medals already in his storied Chess Olympiad career: 21st Chess Olympiad (Nice, France), 24th Chess Olympiad (1980 Valleta, Malta), 27th Chess Olympiad (1986 Dubai, UAE) and 42nd Chess Olympiad (Baku, Azerbaijan).
Asian Chess Team ChampionshipsEdit
He also has taken part in six Asian Chess Team Championships (1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1993). Torre has an outstanding record at this tournament where he won the gold medal 4 times: for his score in the 1977 (Auckland, New Zealand), 1979 (Singapore), 1981 (Hangzhou, China) and 1983 (New Delhi, India) editions. He also won the bronze in the 1993 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) competition. In all six team championships, Torre manned the top board for Team Philippines. He has played a total of 43 games scoring a total of 35½ points built around 29 wins, 13 draws and a solitary loss for a winning percentage of 82.6%.
In the 1977 edition, Torre played 7 games, going undefeated with 5 wins and 2 draws for a winning percentage of 85.7 and a tournament performance rating (TPR) of 2615 as compared to his 2550 Elo rating winning the gold medal. He also won the gold medal in the 1979 edition going undefeated once again by winning 5 games and drawing 1 for a winning percentage of 91.7 with a TPR of 2671 (2520 Elo ); in the 1981 edition where he was again undefeated with 4 wins and 2 draws for a winning percentage of 83.3 and a 2604 TPR (2525 Elo), he again brought home the gold medal; and lastly, in the 1983 edition he scored a near perfect score of 8½/9 winning 8 games and drawing 1 in another undefeated tournament with a winning percentage of 94.4% and an outstanding TPR of 2743 (2570 Elo) on the way to another gold medal.
It was in the 1986 edition where Torre suffered his only loss against Malaysian International Master (IM) Liew Chee Meng in the fifth round. It was also in this edition that Torre did not win any medal of any color when he placed a dismal 6th place in Board 1 scoring 4 points by virtue of 3 wins, 2 draws and the loss against Meng for a winning percentage of 66.7 and a TPR of 2431 (2540 Elo).
In the 1993 edition, he bounced back by going undefeated once again scoring 6½ points in 9 games, winning 4 and drawing 5 for a winning percentage of 72.2% and a TPR of 2584 (2540 Elo). This bronze medal capped Torre's magnificent record in the history of the Asian Chess Team Championships.
Asian Cities Chess ChampionshipsEdit
In 2002 and 2004, Torre also manned the top board for Team Philippines in the 13th (Aden 2002) and 14th (Manila 2004) editions of the Asian Cities Chess Championships. The 13th edition was held at Aden, Yemen where Torre scored 5½ points in nine games on the strength of three wins, five draws and one loss while Manila, Philippines hosted the 14th edition where he scored 5 points in eight games (four wins, two draws, and two losses). He has scored a total of 10½ points in 17 games on 7 wins, 7 draws and 3 losses for a winning percentage of 61.8%.
Team Philippines won the Gold Medal in the 2002 edition while they placed 3rd, good for the bronze medal, in the 2004 edition.
In the 16th Asian Games, Torre helped the Philippines finished second behind China, beating the Indian team in the semifinals to secure the silver medal. He played 8 games as a reserve scoring 5½ points on the strength of 4 wins, 3 draws and a solitary loss for a winning percentage of 68.8% and a TPR of 2470.
World Student Chess Team ChampionshipsEdit
In 2006, Torre participated in the 2nd San Marino International Chess Open where he tied for fourth through eleventh places with 6½ points in nine rounds where he eventually placed seventh after the tie-breaks becoming the highest-placed Filipino in the tournament. He had a performance rating of 2612 and won €1,000 for his seventh-place finish.
In 2010, Torre competed in the 3rd Calgary International Chess Championships held at Alberta, Canada where he flashed his vintage form by finishing in a tie for second through fourth places on the strength of four wins, four draws and a solitary loss against GM Victor Mikhalevski, the tournament top seed with Elo Rating of 2614. Torre had an Elo Rating of 2506 during the said tournament.
In 2011, Torre joined two prestigious international chess championships in the Philippines, the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championships and the 2nd Chairman Prospero A. Pichay, Jr. Cup International Open Chess Championships. He finished in a tie for 15th–21st places in the Asian Zonals eventually placing 18th after tiebreaks (5 points out of nine games on four wins, three losses, and two draws). It was a poor finish for Torre as he had a four-game winning streak from rounds 2 to 5 after an opening round loss to FM Haridas Pascua to take the lead after five rounds but faltered in the last four rounds where he scored only 1 point (two draws and two losses). He had a low performance rating of 2344 in this tournament. In the 2nd Pichay Cup, he improved a little bit by scoring 6½ points in 10 games to finish in a tie for 11th–18th places eventually finishing in 14th place (four wins, five draws, and one loss). This is another heartbreaker as he was stalled by five draws despite losing only one game to Chinese Lu Shanglei. In this tournament he had a performance rating of 2496.
In June 2014, Torre won the prestigious National Chess Championships – Battle of GMs held at the function room of the Philippine Sports Commission in Vito Cruz, Manila. In so doing, Torre became the oldest Filipino chess player to win a national championships at the age of 62 by scoring 23 points under the Pichay–Torre system or 4½ points under the standard system. He won the title via tiebreak over fellow GM John Paul Gomez. The tournament also served as the qualifying tournament for the 2014 Olympiad to be held in Tromso, Norway in August. This is Torre's record 22nd appearance in the Olympiad.
In 2016, Torre was part of the 2nd batch of inductees of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame cited by the Philippine Sports Commission. In the 42nd Chess Olympiad held at Baku, Azerbaijan he scored an undefeated 10/11, with a performance rating of 2836, thanks to which he won the individual bronze medal on board three.
In 2017, Torre was invited to the prestigious Reykjavik Open by virtue of his strong performance in the 2016 Olympiad. He acquitted himself well in this tournament (won by Anish Giri), scoring 7 out of 10 (7 wins 3 losses) and tying for 11th to 13th places eventually settling for 13th after the tiebreaks. In October, Torre won the 8th edition of the Asian Senior Chess Championship, held in Auckland, New Zealand, in the 65+ category, scoring 9/9 points, a clear 2.5 points from joint 2nd placers Kiwi FM Ewen Green and fellow Filipino Edmundo Legaspi. One year later, he retained his title by winning the 9th edition of the Asian Senior Chess Championship in the same category in Tagaytay where fellow Filipino IM Chito Garma won the 50+ category.
Friendship with Bobby FischerEdit
Torre was a friend of Bobby Fischer. He worked on Fischer's team in the 1992 rematch with Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia. Much later, Torre conducted interviews with Fischer on Filipino radio dzRH MBC Sports Center. Those interviews gained notoriety for Fischer and despair for his fans as he believed he would be killed in the United States after being deported from Japan. Torre was involved in 1996 when Fischer Random Chess was launched.
|This section uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.|
In a tournament in Manila in 1976, Torre beat then-reigning World Champion Anatoly Karpov in a game that has become part of Filipino chess history:
- Karpov vs. Torre, Sicilian Defence, Richter–Rauzer Attack (ECO B67)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. 0-0-0 Bd7 9. f4 b5 10. Qe1 Nxd4 11. Rxd4 Qb6 12. Rd2 Be7 13. Bd3 b4 14. Nd1 Bb5 15. Nf2 h6 16. Bh4 g5 17. fxg5 hxg5 18. Bg3?! (18.Bg5 Qa5! 19.Bxb5! axb5 20.Rd3 Rg8 21.h4 Qxa2 22.Qb4 Qc4=/∞ Ostojić) Nh5 19. Ng4 Nxg3 20. hxg3 Rxh1 21. Qxh1 Rc8 22. Kb1 Bxd3 23. cxd3 Qd4!−/+ 24. Qd1 a5 25. Nh2 g4 26. Nxg4 Bg5 27. Rc2 Rxc2 28. Kxc2 a4 29. a3 b3+ 30. Kb1 d5 31. exd5 Qxd5 32. Nf2 Qxg2 33. Ne4 Be3 34. Nc3 Qc6 35. d4 Qc4 36. d5 e5 37. Qh1 Qd3+ 38. Ka1 Bd4 39. Qh8+ Kd7 40. Qa8 Qf1+ 41. Nb1 Qc4 42. Qb7+ Kd6 43. Qb8+ Kxd5 44. Qd8+ Ke6 45. Qe8+ Kf5 46. Qd7+ Kg6 47. Qg4+ Kf6 48. Nc3 Qf1+ 0–1
Awards and achievementsEdit
- Asia's first Grandmaster at the age of 22
- 1970 Philippine Junior and Adult Champion
- 1974 Nice, France Chess Olympiad, Bronze medalist on Board 1 going undefeated in 19 games with 9 wins and 10 draws
- 1976 The Marlboro-Loyola Kings Challenge, Champion (becoming the first player to finish ahead of Anatoly Karpov since Karpov became world champion)
- 1977 Asian Chess Team Championships, Gold Medal on Board 1 (6 points/7) 5 wins, 2 draws (undefeated)
- 1979 Asian Chess Team Championships, Gold Medal on Board 1 (5½ points/6) 5 wins, 1 draw (undefeated)
- 1980 La Valletta, Malta Chess Olympiad, Bronze medalist on Board 1 scoring 11 points/14 (9 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss)
- 1981 Asian Chess Team Championships, Gold Medal on Board 1 (5 points/6) 4 wins, 2 draws (undefeated)
- 1983 Asian Chess Team Championships, Gold Medal on Board 1 (8½ points/9) 8 wins, 1 draw (undefeated)
- 1986 Dubai, UAE Chess Olympiad, Bronze medalist on Board 1 garnering 9½ points/13 (7 wins, 5 draws, 1 loss)
- 1993 Asian Chess Team Championships, Bronze Medal on Board 1 (6½ points/9) 4 wins, 5 draws
- 2002 Philippine National Champion
- 2005 Southeast Asian Games, Silver Medal (Men's Standard Team Event)
- 2005 Southeast Asian Games, Bronze Medal (Men's Individual Rapid Chess)
- 2005 5th Bangkok Chess Club Open, 2nd Place (7½/9 lost in tiebreak to Ian Rogers)
- 2006 2nd San Marino International Chess Open, 7th place
- 2008 3rd President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) Cup, Champion (7/9)
- 2010 3rd Calgary International Chess Classic, 2nd place (6/9, tied with IMs Renier Castellanos and Edward Porper)
- 2014 National Chess Championships – Battle of GMs, Champion
- 2010 20th Appearance at Chess Olympiad equaling Lajos Portisch
- 2012 21st Appearance at Chess Olympiad held at Istanbul, Turkey, breaking his tie with Portisch
- 2014 22nd Appearance at Chess Olympiad held at Tromso, Norway, breaking his old record of 21 appearances
- 2016 23rd Appearance at Chess Olympiad held at Baku, Azerbaijan, breaking his old record of 22 appearances.
- 2016 Baku, Azerbaijan Chess Olympiad, Bronze medalist on Board 3 scoring 10/11 points (undefeated with 9 wins and 2 draws), and a performance rating of 2836. He gained 46.9 Elo rating points in this tournament.
- Ranked as high as No. 17 in the world in the 1980s
- Has appeared in the Chess Olympics 20 consecutive times, equaling Portisch
- Played Board 2 for Team Philippines in the 1970 Chess Olympiad at Siegen, Germany behind International Master Renato Naranja
- In the 1972 Skopje Olympiad, he assumed the top board (Board 1) for Team Philippines, a position he held until the 2004 Olympiad held at Mallorca, Spain (a total of 17 Olympiads, a world record)
- Played Top Board in the following Olympiads: Skopje 1972, Nice 1974 (where he received his GM title and led the Philippines to a then unprecedented 11th-place finish), Haifa 1976, Buenos Aires, 1978, Malta 1980, Lucerne 1982, Thessaloniki 1984, Dubai 1986, Thessaloniki 1988 (where the Philippines recorded its best finish at 7th place), Novi Sad 1990, Manila 1992, Moscow 1994, Yerevan 1996, Elista 1998, Istanbul 2000, Bled 2002 and Calvià de Mallorca 2004
- At the 2006 Olympiad at Turin, Italy, gave way to GM Mark Paragua on top board as he played Board 2 for only the second time in his entire Olympics career
- After 23 Chess Olympiads, Torre had recorded 103 wins, 124 draws and 43 losses in 270 games for a total score of 165 points, second over-all in Olympiad history behind Portisch (176½/260 games). However, he now holds the distinction of having played the most games in the history of the Olympiad with 270.
- Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 PSA Annual Awards
- Champion, 8th Asian Senior Chess Championships (65 and over category), Auckland, New Zealand
- Champion, 9th Asian Senior Chess Championships (65 and over category), Tagaytay, Philippines
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