TAGAYTAY CITY -- Defending champion GM Eugene Torre celebrated his 67th birthday in style, beating Angelito Camer of Australia at the start of the 9th Asian Seniors Chess Championships at the Tagaytay International Convention Center here Sunday.
Torre, the “Poster Boy” of Philippine chess back in the 70s when he became Asia's first grandmaster, made short work of Camer in only 19 moves of the London opening and less than one hour of play.
“It's a good win. Magandang simula ito para sa akin,” said Torre, who was visibly pleased with his perfornance in the nine-round tournament being held in this popular holiday town overlooking the world-famous Taal Volcano.
Torre later joined his wife Marlin in acknowledging well-wishes from friends and supporters who greeted him on his birthday.
One of the well-wishers was former teammate and retired Judge Rosendo Bandal, who subdued Kian Hwa Lim of Malaysia.
Torre and Bandal, now 70, clash in an interesting match in the second round.
“Magandang laban yan-- Torre versus Bandal,” said former FIDE executive director Toti Abundo, who is also scheduled to conduct a FIDE seminar on Nov. 7.
Sharing the limelight in the tournament hosted by the Tagaytay City government thru Cavite 7th District Cong. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Tagaytay Mayor Agnes Tolentino were comebacking IM Angelo Young, IM Petronio Roca, IM Chito Garma, Cesar Caturla, Carlo Lorena, Efren Bagamasbad and Adrian Pacis.
Young, who topped the rapid chess competition held last Saturday, humbled Timur Kassymov of Kazakhstan to cap a big day for Filipino players.
Roca edged Olympian Mila Emperado; Garma outsteadied FM Amad Ismail of Malaysia; Caturla bested three-time women's champion Helen Milligan of New Zealand; Lorena outplayed Aurel-John Buciu of Australia; Bagamasbad crushed Almahul Chakeyeva of Kazakhstan; and Pacis overwhelmed Edwin Caballero.
Rouzon Roullo battled No. 6 seed FM Muhammad Novian Siregar of Indonesia.
Tournament director Mike Lapitan said the champion in the over-50 category will receive $500, the runner-up will earn $400, the third placer will pocket $300, the fourth $200 and the fifth and sixth placers $150.
In the over-65, the champion will bring home $350, the runner-up $200, the third placer $150 and fourth and fifth placers $100.
The top female players will receive $300 (over-50) and over-65 ($100).
Last year, Torre completed a rare nine-game sweep to capture the title in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Filipino champion finished a clear 2.5 points ahead of Ewen Green of New Zealand and compatriot Edmundo Legaspi.
Wazeer Ahmad Khan of India was the first back-to-back winner when he topped the 2015 edition in Larestan County, Iran, and 2016 edition in Mandalay, Myanmar
The other previous champions of the Asian Seniors are Khosro Harandi of Iran ( 2010, Beirut, Lebanon); Massoud Amir Sawadkuhi of Iran (2011, Bentota, Sri Lanka); Anthonie Pieter Luchtmeijer of Australia (2012, Parramatta, Australia); Bakr Hafez of Jordan (2013, Amman, Jordan); Massoud Amir Sawadkuhi of Iran (2014, Kalutara, Sri Lanka); Wazeer Ahmad Khan of India (2015, Larestan, Iran); Wazeer Ahmad Khan of India (2016, Mandalay, Myanmar); and Torre (2017, Auckland, New Zealand). Meanwhile, Abundo will conduct a FIDE Seminar for International Organizers on Nov. 7-10 as part of the Asian Seniors chess competition in Tagaytay City.
Abundo is the former FIDE Secretary General under the late FIDE President Florencio Campomanes and Executive Director under former FIDE head Kirsan Ilyumzhinov of Russia.