Nato in Ungheria a Rimavska Sobota (oggi in Slovacchia) il 23 aprile del 1915, Paul Lukacs è cresciuto a Budapest alla corte di quel gruppo di giocatori ungheresi che rappresentarono l'unico baluardo contro lo strapotere dei giocatori austriaci che negli anni '30 vinsero ben 4 Campionati Europei.
Il giovanissimo Paul prometteva assai bene ma in quel tempo andava montando la marea nazista e i grandi talenti bridgistici del centro Europa si dispersero per tutto il mondo.
Paul emigrò in quello che sarebbe divenuto ben presto lo Stato di Israele nel 1939, ma non trovò talenti al suo livello con i quali confrontarsi e riversò tutto il suo amore verso il bridge dedicandosi alla creazione di meravigliosi problemi a doppio morto.
Paul morì nella sua casa di Tel Aviv nel 1982, eppure, ancor oggi le sue creazioni affascinano tutti i bridgisti che si provano a risolverle.
Born in Hungary in 1915, Lukacs became in his young age a representative of that central-european bridge explosion that brought so many new talents to the international scene.
The thirties were the years of the Austrian “Wunderteam”, which collected four European titles in six years from 1932 through 1937, using the feared “Viennese Club”, a system created by Paul Stern (see info on this colorful player in side-column) and based on the unusual point ratio of 7-5-3-1 instead of Milton Work’s 4-3-2-1. Its hegemony was fiercely contended by the no-less talented Hungarian team, led by the immense skill of Robert Darvas (who was later to write “Right through the pack”, a clear candidate for best bridge book of all time) and where Lukacs was seen as a highly gifted and extremely promising player .Unfortunately the black shadow of Nazism soon put an end to this resurgence and forced the dissemination of its members: Paul Stern went into hiding and later managed to emigrate; his partner, Willy Frishauer, moved to the USA, while Rixi Markus and Fritzi Gordon opted for Great Britain where they would form for many decades the mainstay of their world-class ladies team. Lukacs, instead, made “alia’” to Israel in 1939, where he soon found out that despite the great excitement of living through the years which would lead to the formation of the State of Israel, his erstwhile passion had to be perforce put aside since he was not able to find players of the calibre he was used to.
He did not let that bring him down: his brilliant analytical talent (he was a renowned mathematician) and his love for the game found a totally different and unusual outlet: the single dummy problem.
Lukacs was a common sight at the money bridge table where he would happily spend many hours every day and even managed to represent Israel. He also had a key role in the development of future talents, amongst them one of the best Israeli bridge players of all time: Salek Zeligman, who partnered him after he arrived in Israel from Poland in 1971 and still fondly remembers the way the old master would rejoice when faced with an intricate problem at the table and would methodically proceed to solve it time and again.
In 1982 passed away peacefully in his Tel Aviv house in Hayarkon Street and yet Paul Lukacs’s fame as the most dazzling problem writer ever shines untarnished by the ravages of time.
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