GM Torre supports Wesley So’s bid in the United States

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EUGENE Torre, Asia’s first chess grandmaster, thinks that the next Wesley So for the Philippines may not arrive in the near future but believes So made a right decision in leaving the country to seek “greener pastures” in the United States.

“Kung feeling niya ( Wesley So) na makabubuti sa kanya ang pagpunta niya sa US, huwag natin kontrahin,” said Torre yesterday at the weekly “Usapang Sports” hosted by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.

“He has found his second family there and I am very happy for him.”

Although the 67-yearold Torre admitted it would have been better if So continued to play for flag and country, the 25year-old chess master is doing thing.

“Deep in his heart, he knows he is Filipino and he is proud of his heritage,” said Torre, who is now the head coach of the Philippine chess team. “In fact during awarding ceremonies and other formal events, Wesley So wears Barong.”

In 2014, So decided to play for the United States which he believes could support his bid to become the best chess player in the world.

So’s Elo rating peaked at 2822 in March 2017, placing him at number two in the world. He is currently ranked fifth in the world with an Elo rating of 2765.

So popped up into the discussion after Torre promoted in the forum the upcoming 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships ( 2nd Manny

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best Pacquiao Cup).

Although there are many Filipinos vying for the championship here, their Elo ratings paled in comparison with the foreigners coming here to play for the Asian Continental such as China’s GMs Wang Hao (2730), Wei Yi (2728) and Ni Hua (2683), Iran’s GM Parham Maghsoodloo (2689), and India’s GM Baskaran Adhiban (2682) and GM S. P. Sethuraman (2664).

Only three Filipino GMs are slated to join the tournament: John Paul Gomez (2450), Darwin Laylo ( 2427) and Joey Antonio (2431).

The 17th Asian Continental is scheduled on December 9- 19 at the Tiara Hotel in Makati City.

A total of $ 50,000 prize money will be given away including $10,000 to the men’s champion and $ 6,000 to the women’s winner.

REY NILLAMA

USAPANG SPORTS. (from left) Former PSC commissioner Tisha Abundo, TOPS president Ed Andaya, GM Eugene Torre and GM Jayson Gonzales at the Usapang Sports forum hosted by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) yesterday at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.

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