THE MAN considered as the pillar of Philippine chess for four decades gets his own hallowed place in the Hall of Fame of the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
The country?s oldest media organization will elevate the highly esteemed Eugene Torre, Asia?s first grandmaster, to the Hall of Fame during the SMC-PSA Annual Awards on Jan. 18 at the Entertainment Hall of the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
The 53-year-old Torre joins an elite list of sports greats honored with the same accolade, among them golfers Ben Arda and Celestino Tugot, tracksters Lydia de Vega-Mercado and Mona Sulaiman and basketball stars Lauro Mumar and Caloy Loyzaga.
The Filipino grandmaster is one of the 68 awardees to be honored in the special two-hour program, starting at 3 p.m., that will showcase the best and brightest in local sports last year.
Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao leads seven other recipients of the Athletes of the Year award.
Guest of honor in the affair to be telecast on a delayed basis by NBN-4, but will be covered live by DZSR Sports Radio, is Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose ?Peping? Cojuangco. Providing an inspirational speech is San Miguel Corp. chief operating officer and president Ramon S. Ang.
Philippine Basketball League commissioner Chino Trinidad and perennial Southeast Asian Games karate gold medalist Gretchen Malalad are hosts of the afternoon rites sponsored by San Miguel Corp., SM Mall of Asia, Philippine Sports Commission, POC, Philippine Basketball Association, PBL, Welcoat Paints of owners Terry Que and Raymund Yu, Mikee Romero?s Harbour Centre, Teletech, sportsman Hermie Esguerra, Air21, NBN-4 and DZSR Sports Radio.
Top bands The Dawn Mojofly, Rocksteddy, Join the Club, Dream Kitchen and Pancake 80 are to perform during a post-event party under the direction of leading concert organizer Sazi Cosino.
Those who will be unable to receive their invitations may get it at the awards venue.
Ever since gaining the GM title in 1974, during the World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France, Torre has valiantly carried RP chess on his shoulders.
From 1970 to 2006, the former business administration undergraduate from Mapua Institute of Technology donned the national colors 19 consecutive times in the World Chess Olympiad -- a world record, one better than the 18 held by Paul Westerinen of Finland.
During that 36-year stretch, Torre assumed Board 1 chores 17 times -- also a world record -- and yielded it only twice, during the 1970 edition in Siegen, Germany, and last year in Turin, Italy.
A close friend of former world champion Bobby Fischer, Torre earned a spot in the World Candidates Championships, but lost to Zoltan Ribli of Hungary in their 1983 quarterfinals match up.
In 1988, Torre captained the Philippine team to its best-ever seventh-place finish in the Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The complete list of awardees
ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Manny Pacquiao, Violito Payla, Ronnie Alcano, Joan Tipon, Biboy Rivera, Antonio Gabica, Efren ?Bata? Reyes, Rene Catalan
James Yap (pro basketball); Ken Bono (amateur basketball); Juvic Pagunsan (golf); Santy Barnachea (cycling); JB Hernandez (horseracing); Real Spicy (horseracing)
PSA PRESIDENT?S AWARD
Leo Oracion, Pastor Emata, Romy Garduche
ANTONIO SIDDAYAO AWARD
Dottie Ardina, Cyna Rodriguez, Mia Legaspi, Wesley So
CITATIONS -- Marie Antoinette Rivero, Tshomlee Go, Maria Marna Pabillore, Eduard Folayang, Jeffrey de Luna, Cecil Mamiit, Eric Taino, Kathleen Allora, Veronica Domingo, Manuel Rivero Jr., Godfrey Castro, Genebert Basadre, Michael Bibat, Noel Espinosa, Ramon S. Ang - SMC, Debbie de Villa, Ryan Mendoza, Francisco Bustamante, AF3, Wushu team, Erlina Pecante, Mateo Guidicelli, Dragon Boat team, Yen Makabenta, Juanito Mingarine, Philippine Football Federation, Sports Radio, Masco, Amaya Paz
Recah Trinidad and Anvil Publishing
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
MOST OUTSTANDING NSAs