It is with deep sorrow and mourning hearts that we have received the news of the departure of a dear friend and co-labourer, Aleksander Leman.
Defying a serious illness, he was active and faithful to his beloved draughts to the end, hoping to participate in the upcoming draughts World forum in Beijing, China.
We salute the long-term organizer of the draughts movement, the international referee, the draughts player and journalist.
Though a man of that calibre can never really be replaced, may there be many to follow his hardworking example.
Janek Mäggi, President of EDC
Farewell to a real sportsman
My total FMJD period I always had to deal with dear old Alexander Lehmann. He was there when I came for the first time, to sort out the World Draughts Federation, at the 1990 General Assembly in Groningen; he was one of the loyal supporters at my election in 1992 in Toulon, France; and he remained on the scene after I had taken my farewell as FMJD president in 2003 in Berlin, and as VP for Africa in December 2006 in Dakar. Alexander was always there, with his broad smile, his steady bonhomie, his enthusiastic welcome and bear-like hug: a real and true Russian, in all the best senses of the word.
His fascination was the 64 Russian/Brazilian version of our game (in fact, mainly the Russian) undervalued in the West, more popular in Russophone countries than we in the West can imagine. Always fully loyal to the ones leading the FMJD, he was the quintessential director of tournaments, heeding the decisions of the board and the president, and – more than anyone else in the 64 section - working hard, very hard. He was the working force at the background, the one who made things happen, who organised, wrote the reports, calculated the ratings and drew up the lists of new titles. Especially the latter, as Henk Fokkink can well testify. Alexander loved titles, and always thought us Westerners too strict, in fact miserly, in giving out titles. From him I learned to appreciate the Eastern European fascination with titles, and from him I learned to appreciate also a forceful way to promote them in meetings. When Lehmann spoke, one had to listen. He always rose to speak, with plenty emotions, gestures taking all the time he needed – which was usually more than the president of the meeting had counted on. I do remember the few times I managed either to shut him down, or to limit his speaking time, for that was always an effort.
His life was draughts, and few sportsmen have lived for their sport as Alexander has done. What I really appreciate about him, is that the sport itself was number one in his book, not the glory of Alexander Alexandrovitch, not the administrative title he could have himself, and not the calling card title he could show off. Therefore I was content that in the end of his career he did become president of the 64 Section, i.e. VP of the FMJD: he deserved it. But that was never his main goal: he was a sportsman and a friend. At the few times we found ourselves at opposing sides of an issue or a decision, he always remained a good friend, loyal to the work done in the past together. In his improvised German he called me after Zwartsluis 2003, and said: ’Wir haben doch gute Arbeit gemacht zusammen?’ Yes, dear Alexander, we all, all of us, have done a good job together, thanks to you!
Wouter E.A. van Beek
Honorary President (président d’honneur) FMJD
"Today I was informed that Alexander Lehman passed away. I believe that this is a great loss for the draught community knowing Alexander quite well and knowing that his life was draughts.
In the CD meeting we have had many good contributions from Sasha and also Sasha has been very important for 64.
I wish the family much strength in the coming time in this great loss.
Today I was informed that our Alexander Lehman passed away. This is a great loss for the draught community.
With great respect I think back to his friendly, but always tenacious manner, of organising tournaments according to the rules. The skilful, but very human manner, in which he allways made sure everyone lifed up to the rules was impressive and an example to each referee.
His enthusiasm and friendship in personal contact, touched me deeply. In memory, I will always cherish our friendship.
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