Bridgecollection Amsterdam – Memory of Herman Filarski

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On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Dutch Bridge League (2005), the collectors Robert (Bob) van de Velde and Jac Fuchs donated their, to an  important extent complementary, bridge libraries to the Library of the University of Amsterdam. As a neighbor to important chess and draughts (checkers) collections, they are now part of the department Special Collections under the name Bridgecollection Amsterdam. Besides books and magazines the BCA includes archives, brochures, bulletins and other printed materials.

Van de Velde is preparing another donation of more than 3000 titles. To support the BCA, in 2007, the donors established the Herman Filarski Foundation, named after the internationally-known player and writer who was the great stimulator of bridge in The Netherlands.

Its ambition is to develop the BCA as a reference library for the international bridge world, like the chess collection of the Royal Library in The Hague is for the chess world. To achieve this goal, the Foundation is collecting a representative selection of literature in different languages about bridge and about its predecessors like whist, yeralash, vint, bridge-whist, auction bridge and plafond bridge.

Memory of Herman Filarski (1910-1982)

 by Paolo Enrico Garrisi

European Championships in Amsterdam, 1955. The captain of Blue Team, Carl’Alberto Perroux, writes up.

“To say that the organization is excellent is too little. The Dutch Filarski, a sharp critic and a strong player, as chief of the Press Office presents a novelty: the Daily Tournament News, a daily bulletin…”.

That “Daily Tournament News” has been the first tourney’s bulletin in the story of bridge, a tool that today cannot miss but in tourneys of lower importance. And starting since those days, a sincere friendship were established between the Dutch champion and the Italian captain. The Italians will meet again him for many years, as opponent in continental events and as journalist everywhere. Vienna 1957: “…The Dutch line up the great Filarski…”, writes Perroux. Como 1958’s Bermuda Bowl: Filarski reported on his magazine, the Dutch “Bridge”, not only the playing chronicles, but also entertaining notes, as about the Verdi’s Traviata listened at the Teatro Sociale of Como:

“…Many kids and soldiers attended the opera, with great enthusiasm mainly from the popular places…”.

And actually in Italy the cheapest places are normally taken by those people who more love the opera.

Being those years the heyday of the great Blue Team, as journalist Filarski was forced to became the bard of the Italian triumphs, and of upsets as well, as the defeat in Torino 1960’s Olympiad, or the drama in Saint Vincent 1963’s Bermuda Bowl, where the Americans led before the last segment, but their captain reached the “…unlucky decision…” to broke up their best pair, Shenken-Leventritt, so losing a battle that were already won.

In 1977, Filarski was awarded as the personality of year by the IBPA (International Bridge Press Association).


December 25, 2011


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