By REUBEN TERRADO
Business Mirror Correspondent
Eugene Torre, the first Asian grandmaster (GM), is all praises for Wesley So, the youngest GM in the world today.
In fact, Torre said the whiz kid’s current accomplishments may be compared with another great who started making a name for himself when he was a kid—the late Bobby Fischer.
“Bobby learned the game on his own like Wesley. And like Bobby, Wesley studied and still is studying on his own at such a young age to improve on his game and excel,” Torre, a best friend of Fischer, said.
Fischer, the only American world champion in the sport’s history, was already making a name for himself when he was only 12, when he was still ranked a National Master. At age 15, Fischer became a GM, or a year older than So, who copped the much-coveted title as a 14-year-old late last year.
Torre said So has all the makings of a future world champion just like Fischer.
“Wesley is a rare find,” Torre said recently. “He has an exceptional talent and has a potential to be a world champion. This is a great opportunity to have a kid like him. He is still young and dynamic. He has a bright future, and we all need to support him.”
So, who is only an incoming third-year high-school student at Saint Francis of Assisi in his hometown of Bacoor, Cavite, emerged as the champion of the recently concluded Battle of the GMs tournament, beating out the rest of the field including Torre, who settled for second, along with International Master Richard Bitoon.
Earlier, he also became the champion of the 10th Dubai Open chess championship, beating out the best and brightest woodpushers in the world.
Torre, 56, said that with So’s emergence, the future of Philippine chess looks bright.
“He is worth emulating. He can serve as the force for the revival of chess in the country,” Torre said.
The National Chess Federation of the Philippines, led by president Prospero Pichay, has bright plans for So, as he is slated to compete in four international tournaments here in the country in order to get a shot at the Super GM.
Presently, So has a 2,540 ELO rating, 60 shy in order to be considered a Super GM.
So is slated compete in international tournaments in Subic, Clark, the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Cup and the Pichay Cup slated later this year.