Peter Czerniewski was one of the most successful English players of the last three decades. He died on August 29th 2009 at the age of just 60 after losing a two-year battle against cancer.
Peter was born in West Wales of Polish parents but, although he represented Wales as a junior at chess, did not start playing bridge seriously until he was at university in 1968-1970 (Jesus College, Oxford). He played in the ’Varsity Matches of 1969 and 1970 but this was just the start of a distinguished career in competitive bridge. He represented Great Britain in the Common Market Championships of 1987, winning a Gold Medal. He played for England in the Camrose in 1988 with his first regular partner (Barry Rigal) and subsequently in 1996 (with David Price) and most recently in 2009 with Ian Panto, winning the trophy for England.
He has won the Gold Cup, Crockfords Cup, The Spring Fours (three times), the Tollemache (three times), the Lederer (twice), the Brighton 4 Star Teams (twice) and the Grand Masters’ Pairs. He was also a successful rubber bridge player, respected (and feared) at TGRs and other London clubs.
These successes lay alongside his working life as a designer and implementer of computer systems for British Aerospace and other major international corporations.
Peter was a man of great charm who loved, and was loved by, his family and who naturally made friends throughout the bridge world. He had a great intellect and a mind which worked considerably faster than most people’s. Come to think of it, he also had a body which worked faster than most people’s! He was a keen marathon runner and completed an astonishing fifteen marathons during his lifetime, recording a best time of under three hours.
After his retirement in 2007, he had the time to start playing bridge seriously again. He represented England in the Senior Camrose in 2009. He finished in third place in the first division of the EBU Premier League in 2008.
On a personal note, Peter has been my good friend for nearly thirty-five years. I learnt about his illness in the summer of 2008 and have been closely involved with his active bridge life of the past fifteen months. In June 2008 I was a member of the England Senior team in the European Championships in Pau, France, for which Peter was a dedicated NPC. In October 2008, Peter and I were both playing members of the English Seniors team which reached the quarter-final of the World Mind Sports Olympiad in Beijing. I was his NPC for his successful performance for England in the Camrose in January 2009 and we played together in the Schapiro Spring Foursomes in May of this year. Finally, as his swansong, he partnered me in the Brighton Pairs on August 14th until, racked with pain and the side effects of powerful medication, Peter was forced to withdraw. He died peacefully two weeks later surrounded by his family.
Peter lived in North London and is survived by his loving and devoted wife Pam and his two children, Alexandra (22) and Christof (20). He will be sorely missed by them and all in the bridge world who knew him.
31st August 2009
Major International Appearances
Senior World Olympiad: 2008
Camrose Trophy Selections: 2009 (EBU team)
Teltscher Trophy Selections: 2009
Gold Cup Winner: 1991
Crockfords winner: 1984 and 2003
Spring Foursomes Winner: 1989 1990 and 1997
Brighton Four Stars Teams Winner: 1986 and 1995
National Teams Congress winner: 2000 and 2004
Tollemache Cup winner: 1988 1991 1995 and 1996