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Torre sets another milestone

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Bronze in Baku gives Asia’s first GM his fourth medal.

Grandmaster Eugene Torre added another milestone to his legendary career by winning his fourth medal – a bronze on board three – at the close of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad Tuesday in Baku, Azerbaijan.

In his 23rd appearance – the most by anyone in chess history, the 64-year-old Torre played all 11 matches, winning nine and drawing twice for a tournament-best 10 points.

His output was a full point clear of the next best performer GM Eric Hansen of Canada and 1.5 points better than Philippine-born Wesley So who earned the gold on the third board.

He finished the event with a performance rating of 2836. His live ELO rating is now 2494 after starting the tournament with 2447.

Torre said the last time he won nine matches in a tournament was in the 1974 Nice Olympiad where he also drew 10 games.

“Ganun kadami laro noon kasi may qualifying pa,” said Torre who earned the silver on board one that year and became Asia’s first GM.

He also won bronze medals in the 1980 Malta Olympiad and 1986 Dubai Olympiad.

Despite Torre’s sterling performance, the Filipinos finished the 11-round Swiss System team event in 58th place with 6 points, four points behind champion United States.

Ukraine and Russia took the silver and bronze medals.

India was Asia’s top performer in fourth place while dethroned champion China settled for 13th place.

Sharing the spotlight with Torre is Janelle Mae Frayna who became the country’s first woman grandmaster. She also obtained an international master title which would be awarded if she reaches an ELO of 2400.
Frayna’s live rating is 2320.

Despite a final round loss to Lithuania, the Filipinas celebrated their best finish in the Olympiad in 34th place, a big improvement from 64th two years ago in Tromso, Norway.

The women’s squad won six matches, including a shock upset of four-time champion Georgia in the second round. It lost four and drew once for 6.5 points.

China won the women’s crown with 10 points followed by Poland and Ukraine.

GM Jayson Gonzales, who acted as women’s team captain, lauded the team’s unity and camaraderie.

“For each one of us, this is the best Olympiad,” Gonzales said. “We are so happy because of having one spirit, harmony and one accord.”

Gonzales made special mention of the exploits of Torre and Frayna and the support given by delegation head Ruel Canobas and former Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares.

The delegation returns tonight via Turkish Airlines. (REY BANCOD)

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