Person of day   -  13 MAY 2021

ANDRZEJ FILIPOWICZ

ANDRZEJ FILIPOWICZ

Andrzej Filipowicz was born on 13thMay 1938 in Warsaw. 

“I was a little over six years old when the Warsaw Uprising began. After 63 days of warfare, the Uprising was defeated, more than 200000 people were killed, the Germans expelled everyone from our capital and destroyed house after house. No one was left in Warsaw. I lived far from the centre, near the Chopin Airport, but even there, Germans wanted to take me, my brother and my grandmother and put us on a train to a camp. But a German soldier let me, my four year-old brother and grandmother jump off the platform and run away. We found a family nearby- outside the city- that was willing to take us in. But then it became dangerous to shelter anyone from Warsaw and we were sent 100 kilometres away. There is a city, Piotrków Trybunalski, and we waited for the end of the War in a nearby village. 

My father taught me to play chess during the occupation. I was about 5. He wasn’t a strong player, but he knew how to play. But he developed an unusual approach to me. He played to his full strength against me. Butwithouthalfofthepieces! Buttohisfullstrength! I had to move a piece if I touched it. When three pawns were left, he would change them for a piece. At seven, I began to outplay him as an equal. It was so fascinating. I will even give a world of advice. We need to play seriously against children! We can level the field by taking away pieces. Ithinkthatitisagoodmethod.” (A.Filipowicz)

In the 1960s, Andrzej became one of Poland’s strongest chess players. He played in 18 finals of the national championship- his best result was a bronze medal in Poznan in 1971. After enrolling at university, Filipowicz played for Poland’s national student team in four world championships and from 1960, he played for his country’s Olympic team, which he fought for seven times- between 1960 and 1966, 1970 and 1972, and 1978.

Andrzej Filipowicz’s greatest achievement with the Polish team was fourth place at the European championship in 1973. Overtaken only by the star teams of the USSR, Yugoslavia and Hungary, the Poles finished above West Germany, England, Romania and Switzerland. At his peak, Filipowicz had Poland’s second highest rating, after Włodzimierz Schmidt. After performing wonderfully at a tournament in Polanica-Zdrój in 1973, Andrzej became an international master. He was a prize-winner in large tournaments in Gausdal and Esbjerg in 1979 and Bagneaux and Rome in 1981. 

In the mid-1970s, Filipowicz began to promote chess in Poland and he was included in the Council of Poland’s chess federation. In 1978, Andrzej was elected Poland’s representative in FIDE, where he was chairman of the Eastern European zone and was one of FIDE’s governing individuals. In today’s terms, he was the chairman of FIDE’s technical commission. He was the third Polish chess player to become FIDE’s honorary member, after Dawid Przepiórka and Miguel Najdorf. In the last century, Filipowicz worked actively to develop a new chess code and was an ardent participant in discussion of nuances of chess rules. He has been an international arbiter from 1984. 

In 1994, Filipowicz finished playing to concentrate on his jobs of arbiter and journalist. The respected arbiter presided over Kasparov and Kramnik’s match for the world championship in 2000, the 2002 candidates’ tournament Brain Games in Dortmund, the 2006 world blitz championship, the candidates’ matches in Elista in 2007, the juniors’ world championship in 2010, the rapid world championships in 2012 and 2013, the 2012 and 2013 Tal Memorials, super tournaments in Dortmund, European rapid championships, Aeroflot tournaments and multiple other competitions. Andrzej Filipowicz is rightly considered one of the highest-regarded arbiters in chess. 

In 1971, Filipowicz defended his dissertation at Warsaw’s University of Technology and became a doctor of technical science. He was editor-in-chief of Chess from 1986-1990, Szachisty 1991-2002 and has written a chess column for Chess Magazine since 2003. The master has written a book about a rare line of the Ruy Lopez: 1.e4 e5 2. Kf3 Kcb 3. Cb5 Cc5 4.c3 d5!?

“You know, perhaps it’s because I can speak two foreign languages: Russian and (slightly worse) English. I also understand other languages and it’s easier for me to communicate with the majority of players. You see, I am not only an arbiter, I played in six Olympiads, eighteen Polish championships and I knew all the famous players from that period- Spassky, Smyslov, Tal, Keres, and famous players from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France and other countries. And it is easier for me to understand a chess player than it is for other arbiters. 

I met with every president of FIDE, except the first one, Alexander Rueb, who left the Federation in about 1949. And most of these presidents are my friends. I played chess with some, like Makropoulos, and I worked in FIDE commissions after 1977 with others. So I have good relations with them. I also have good relations with Ilyumzhinov, who I told that he would be president for twenty five years when he was elected. Before him came Florencio Campomanes, who was my close friend. I first met him in 1960, at an Olympiad in Leipzig and we remained friends for many years. Hewasaverygoodpresident. AndnowKirsanisincharge. I know them all and I’ve worked with almost all of them. 

I have worked as an engineering specialist for steel constructions for twenty-five years. But chess never bored me. My father taught me to play when I was five, and I have continued to play ever since. When I became an arbiter at Intel’s “Kremlin Stars” competition, I told the administrators of RSA that I would settle all problems in half a minute. And I did that, because I told myself that if I settled them slowly, they would just fire me. Of course, there were some difficult moments. Someone (Zurab Azmaiparashvili in his match against Vasily Ivanchuk- ed) once said that, due to my decision, he lost five thousand dollars. But that was the correct decision.” (A. Filipowicz)