FOR Asia's first GM Eugene Torre, chess is life.
And Torre, considered as the country's most popular chess player, is taking everything in stride even with the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Now 68, Torre has shown a positive attitude in life, especilly during this trying tine. And he hopes Filipinos, and not only his fellow chessers, can learn a thing or two.
“Ang chess ay parang buhay. Ang bawat piyesa ay may kanya-kanyang kakayahan para makamit natin ang inaasam na tagumpay," said Torre in an interview which came out in the official Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) website.
"Kailangan magkaisa para maisulong natin ang tamang tira,” he said
Torre, who made history by becoming Asia's first grandmaster during the World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France in 1974, said that people are like pawns during this COVID-19 crisis.
In chess, the pawns are considered as the foot soldiers of the game. One cannot afford to make many wrong moves and face losing the game.
“Ganun din tayo sa buhay. Naisip ko na tayong mga mamamayan ay para din mga pawns. Dapat na magtulungan tayo para hindi magkaroon ng weakness. Kailangan talaga nating magdasal at huwag bibitaw. Isipin lagi natin na kakayanin natin dahil kapag nanghina tayo, mas humihina yung tirada,” said Torre.
“Naka-depende talaga sa mga mamamayan kung mag-succeed tayo o hindi. Napakahirap ng laban na ito kaya kailangan talaga ng disiplina at magtulungan ang lahat ng piyesa para hindi maka-penetrate yung COVID-19,” he added.
As a top-notch athlete, Torre knows the importance of following the rules.
Kailangan talaga sumunod ang lahat, lalo na sa ipinatutupad na enhanced community quarantine. Kapag sinabing stay at home, stay at home," said Torre, who was enshrined to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Despite the high risk of getting the disease due to his age, Torre is not at all worried.
“Very important yung healthy ang food. Sa umaga, usually fruits, oatmeal with raisins or walnuts, soya milk and brewed coffee. Sa tanghali, meron akong black or brown rice and vegetables. Iwas muna sa karne, sa mga taba-taba,” narrated Torre, who holds the distinction of having beaten then world Champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia in Manila in 1976.
“Swerte nga ako na I am living in a subdivision na pwede akong mag-walking basta may mask and distancing. Very important yun sa akin para ma-maintain ko yung physical conditioning. Kailangan malakas yung immune system natin ngayon.” he added.
Torre is also thankful to the PSC, headed by Chairman William Ramirez, for taking care of the athletes during the pandemic.
He also thanked the frontliners for their roles in fighting the disease.
"Saludo tayong lahat sa ating mga frontliners. Ang success nila ay magiging success din ng ating bansa kya ipag-dasal din natin sila."