In memory of Giorgos Kleitsas
On 16th October 2019 we lost one of the most loved and respected members of the international backgammon community, Giorgos Kleitsas.
Giorgos was a world class backgammon player, as well as a top bridge and chess player. Thanks to him , as my doubles partner, we reached the final of the World Doubles Championships in Monte Carlo the last two years in succession. This is what most people knew him for.
To the ones who knew him better however, he was a modern day philosopher and saint.
His heart was always radiating kindness and his mind was deep and incisive.
Giorgos could skate through two and a half millennia of human knowledge with great ease and charm.
A brilliant mathematician by training, he was also a great interlocutor whose repertoire ranged from the giants of the ancient world (Democritus, Herodotus, Aristotle etc.) to those of the last couple of centuries (Proust, Derrida, Niels Bohr etc.).
Conversations with Giorgos were a real learning experience. His social media posts, almost on a daily basis were testament to a sensitive soul and a beautiful mind.
But there was also the lighter side in him. A great dancer and story-teller.
Athena Zographos, Joe Russel, Jörgen Granstedt and I were all in fits of laughter during our daily dinners in Monte Carlo last summer listening to some salty stories from his experiences of travelling to backgammon tournaments, always related with humour and affection towards the people involved.
I never met a person who disliked him!
I feel privileged to count myself as having been one of his best friends.
His honesty and naïveté were phenomenal and this is why I was protective of him at times.
For his friends and his sister, who lost brother and mother in the space of two days, the loss is incalculable.
I just hope to find the strength to complete his ambitious project of an exhaustive five volume treatise on backgammon (covering every aspect of the game) on which I had promised to assist him. It is the least I can do to honour his memory, spread his knowledge and assure his sister that Giorgos’ memory and contribution will stay with us forever.
Rest in peace my friend Giorgos.
By Plato Tserliangos (21st October 2019)