Eugene Torre named head coach of PH team to Chess Olympiad

MANILA, Philippines – Eugene Torre will not play in September's Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia but will be the Philippine team's head coach.

The chess grandmaster (GM), who will not see action in the Olympiad for the first time since 1970, will look to help the national squad improve from its worst finish of 58th place in the last edition of the biennial event in 2016. 

A source said that National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) head Prospero Pichay "hesitated" not to field the 66-year-old but the need to start rebuilding the national team under Torre's guidance clinched matters.

Torre will be mentoring the national squad composed of US-based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, Olympiad veteran John Paul Gomez, country's lone woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna and Olympiad stalwart Catherine Secopito.

The men's team will be backed up by national champion Haridas Pascua, Emmanuel Garcia and Mari Joseph Turqueza while the women's squad will be reinforced by national champion Shania Mae Mendoza, Marie Antoinette San Diego and Bernadette Galas.

NCFP treasurer Cliburn Anthony Orbe said the team is a mixture of experience and young blood.

"Hopefully they will perform well in the Olympiad. Hopefully they will give their best in training. Hopefully they will perform more than what is expected of them," he said. –