IF I were to tell you that one of the greatest Filipino athletes of our lifetime would be
appearing at the Barangay N.S. Amoranto in Quezon City today, would you go there expecting to see:
A) World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.
B) Basketball legend Robert “Big J” Jaworski.
C) Bowling hero Paeng Nepomuceno.
D) Billiards idol Efren “Bata”Reyes.
E) Motocross superstar Butch Chase.
What you find there is none of the above.
But what you would find there is an athlete who, like all the five other greatest Filipino
athletes you probably expected, is also worth mentioning whenever you talk about the greatest
achievers in Philippine sports.
If chess is your game, it’s next to blasphemy not to think about Asia’s first-ever
grandmaster Eugene Torre.
You see, Torre belongs to this rare breed of gentlemen whose achievements in this wonderful
world of sports remain vivid on memory even when you talk about them 40 years later.
-- Made chess history by becoming the first player from Asia to earn a GM title in Nice,
France in 1974.
-- Earned the distinction as the “Poster Boy” of Philippine chess in the 1970s.
-- Played top board for the country in 17 straight Olympiads, a world record. He played
in 1972 Skopje, 1974 Nice 1974 (where he achieved his GM title and led the Philippines to a
then unprecedented 11 th-place finish), 1976 Haifa, 1978 Buenos Aires, 1980 Malta, 1982
Lucerne, 1984 Thessaloniki, 1986 Dubai, 1988 Thessaloniki (where the Philippines recorded its
best finish at seventh place), 1990 Novi Sad, 1992 Manila, 1994 Moscow, 1996 Yerevan, 1998
Elista, 2000 Istanbul, 2002 Bled, and 2004 Calvia.
-- He played on board two twice in 1970 Siegen (behind Naranja) and 2006 Turin
(behind GM Mark Paragua) .
-- Bagged the silver medal on board one behind only world champion Anatoly Karpov of
Russia during the 1974 Nice Olympiad, going undefeated in 19 matches with 10 wins and nine
-- Bagged the bronze medal on board one in the 1986 Dubai Olympiad with 9/5 points/13
games (seven wins, five draws and one loss).
-- Bagged the bronze medal on board one in the 1980 Malta Olympiad with 11 points.
And Torre -- bless his big heart -- is now giving back what chess had given him all his
Now 66, Torre is now actively promoting chess all over the country.
With the help of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), the Iloilo-born
Torre is reaching out to as many young people as possible and convince them to try and play chess.
As Torre would often say whenever one or two people are gathered to pay tribute to him:
“Chess is life. But life is slso chess.”
Indeed, chess life is a good life as Torre himself has so often demonstrated.
He leads a quiet but blissful life with wife Marlene. He follows an exemplary
lifestyle, following a healthy dose of food and taking regular workouts in a gym near his home.
“You have to take good care of both your mind and body, even if you’re not an athlete. You
have to stay physically and mentally fit if you want to stay in the game (life),” said Torre on
the eve of a special 15-board simultaneous exh ibition matches organized by the ERJHS Alumni
Sports Club at the Barangay N.S. Amoranto Hall in Quezon City.
The one-day event, which is held in cooperation with Chairman Von Rommel Yalong of Barangay
Amoranto and the ERJHS Batch 68, will also feature a chess clinic by the Meralco Chess Club,
headed by Rolly Sol Cruz and NMs Efren Bagamasbad and Edgardo Garma.
Participants include students of E. Rodriguez Jr. High School in Mayon Ave. and other
young and aspiring players from Barangay Amoranto and nearby barangays.
“This is one good project worth supporting. The youth would surely benefit for this rare
opportunity to meet and greet GM Eugene Torre,” said Yalong, who will be personally be around to
Added ASC adviser and University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers assistant coach Rene
Baena: “The biggest winners in sports events like this simul-exhibition of Torre and chess clinic
by Meralco are the youth. Get into sports, stay away from drugs.”
If you’re a genuine sports fan -- or even not -- this is a perfect opportunity to
You might have missed Torre play some of his brilliant games in the past.You might have
missed him beat former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia in a strong four-man
tournament in Manila in 1976. Or you might have missed him represent the country in the
But you can again atch Torre up close and personal when he comes for a visit at Barangay
It’ll be fun.
* * *
The Class 68 of the Eulogio Rodriguez Jr. High School will hold its Golden Annivesary
Reunion on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 24 and 25, 2018) at the Seven Gifts Poultry and Farm in
For details, please contact Malou Francisco or Babes Sevilla or Adolfo Tan on Facebook.
Sama-sama Noon Hanggang Ngayon – the E Rodriguez Jr High School -Class 68 - Golden