It was a great shock last week to hear of the death of George Miltiadou on 6th December at the much too early age of 64. George had been having treatment for an aggressive form of cancer for some months, although most of the backgammon community were unaware that he was ill.
I’m not sure when I first met George, but I think that the first time I played him was at a Gammonitis tournament probably in 2005. I remember the match to this day because I was expecting to beat the newcomer but in fact George beat me, and also because he chatted to me happily throughout the match while I became more and more unhappy as the score moved inexorably in his favour! Over the following years I realised that George would have chatted happily during that match even if he had been losing, because he was always good-humoured. George joined the UKBGF in 2015 as a 3-year Premium member and played in the UK Open Masters flight in 2014 and 2015. In recent years he also played at Blackpool, BIBA, London Players League and various London clubs.
Nicky Check remembers:
“George was a popular member of the backgammon community being an active member of the Croydon and Battersea backgammon clubs and a Biba member for many years. Everybody liked George, he was always good company. George also played in a few tournaments overseas and loved all the banter. I was lucky enough to go to Monte Carlo and Cannes tournaments with him several times a few summers ago with some other backgammon friends and we had a great time, even though George never stopped talking for the whole 2 weeks!!! He was never short of a good story, either about backgammon or life. He made everyone laugh and never said a bad word about anyone. I will always remember him, because I have adopted a couple of his sayings.”
Eric McAlpine remembers:
“George was a proud family man whose biggest passions were Chelsea Football Club, backgammon, fishing and horse racing. He also enjoyed politics and current affairs, world markets, gardening and flowers – he had an immaculate garden. It’s tragic, painful, and extremely unfair. I will miss him deeply.”
George had several backgammon successes over the years, including relatively early in his backgammon career when he came second to Dod Davies (pictured above) in the final of the Consolation at the Gammonitis Live Challenge Finals in August 2005. To quote from the tournament report published soon after this event, “If George Miltiadou was disappointed to be out of the Main he didn’t show it and attacked the Consolation field with a vengeance, knocking out Rosey Bensley and Andy Bell to reach the final. There he met friend and rival Dod Davies who was on a mission to take the Live Challenge title by a clear margin….Dod coached George through the finer technicalities of tournament play and George added his own colourful commentary. George came second, but to take the finalist trophy in the Consolation is a result to be proud of in only your third live event…”
But probably George’s biggest win was the Main Intermediate flight at the 2008 Nordic Open, being the only non-Dane in a field of 78. As well as the cash prize I remember that George won a backgammon board, which for some reason he asked me to bring home to the UK for him.
George’s funeral will be held tomorrow (21st December) and will be attended by his family and a few close backgammon friends. George’s family will be made aware of this obituary, so that they will be able to view any comments which players may wish to post below.
George’s friendly demeanour and banter will be greatly missed by the whole backgammon community.