On April 1, 2023, Włodzimierz Schmidt, the first Polish post-war grandmaster, activist, and chess coach, passed away. Włodzimierz Schmidt represented Poland at 14 Chess Olympiads, he won the title of Polish Classic Chess Champion 7 times.
Włodzimierz Schmidt was a Polish chess player, coach, and social activist. He was born on March 15, 1943, in Warsaw, Poland. Schmidt was best known as the first Polish chess Grandmaster, achieving this title in 1976. He was a prominent figure in the Polish chess community for many years, coaching young players and serving as an organizer for numerous chess events.
Schmidt’s early chess career began in the 1960s when he quickly established himself as one of the top Polish players. He won the Polish Chess Championship twice in 1973 and 1974 and represented Poland in multiple Chess Olympiads. In 1976, he was awarded the title of Grandmaster by the International Chess Federation, becoming the first player from Poland to achieve this distinction.
In addition to his success on the chessboard, Schmidt was an active social activist, supporting various causes such as animal rights and environmental conservation. He was a vegetarian and an advocate for healthy living, which he believes is critical for maintaining a sharp mind and performing well in chess.
Schmidt was also well known as a coach, having trained several generations of young chess players. He was a mentor to many of Poland’s top players, including current top player Radosław Wojtaszek, who has credited Schmidt for his success.
Throughout his career, Schmidt remained a prominent figure in the Polish chess community, serving as an organizer for numerous chess events and tournaments. He also wrote several books and articles on chess, which have been widely read and praised.
Włodzimierz Schmidt’s contributions to the Polish chess community were immense. As the first Polish Grandmaster, he set an example for future generations of players, and his dedication to coaching and organizing helped to grow the game in Poland and beyond. His legacy as a chess player and social activist will undoubtedly continue to inspire many people for years to come.
In 2013, Schmidt appointed 15-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda to represent Poland Futures at the European Team Championships in Warsaw.