MANILA, Philippines - For all his valuable contributions to the sport, Filipino Grandmaster Eugene Torre was bestowed the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Asian Chess Federation.
“I am humbled, happy and very grateful to receive this award,” the 62-year-old Torre, who is Asia’s first grandmaster, told The STAR in a text message yesterday.
The Asian Chess Federation, headed by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifah Al Nahyan, staged the first annual Asian Chess Excellence Awards last June 25 at the Danat Hotel in the United Arab Emirates.
Torre’s contributions to Philippine chess are unmatched.
At 22, he became Asia’s first grandmaster following a silver medal finish in the 1974 Chess Olympiad in Nice, France. Two years later, in a tournament in Manila, he defeated then world champion Anatoly Karpov.
Torre went on to lead Philippine chess to greater heights, and helped promote the sport in the Asian region under the guidance of then FIDE president Florencio Campomanes of the Philippines.
He took part in 20 Chess Olympiads, 19 of which were consecutive, sharing the coveted record with Hungary’s Lajos Portisch. When the 41st Olympiad is held in Norway in August, Torre will man Board 4 for the Philippines.
“This recognition has further acknowledged the contributions we Filipinos, foremost of whom was Florencio Campomanes, have done for the promotion of chess in Asia,” said Torre.
The top officials of the ACF, including deputy president Casto Abundo of the Philippines, said the award is “in recognition of his (Torre) success as Asia’s first grandmaster and his many victories and world records.”
Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao received the “Chess Patron of the Year” award “in recognition of his inspiration to sports fans around the world and his support for the Asian Continental Championships inspiring millions of youths to learn chess.”
Torre was also cited for his efforts to further promote the sport through the Eugene Torre Chess Foundation.
Also honored by the ACF was the Ruler of Sharjah, H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi as the “Man of the Year” for his “generous donation” that helped build the biggest chess club in the world.
Viswanathan Anand of India was named “Player of the Year” while reigning world champion Hou Yifan of China was “Woman Player of the Year.”
Another Chinese grandmaster, Yu Yangyi, received the “Best Junior Player of the Year” for ruling the World Junior Championship and Asian Indoor Games.