Tim Parfitt writes:
Paul Gilbertson, a friend to many and a very popular member of the backgammon community, sadly passed away on Wednesday 30th May 2018 after a suspected heart attack.
Paul was definitely my best friend in the backgammon world and a good mate out of it. We were only introduced a few years ago by a mutual friend, and because of our love of dogs made an instant connection. Paul’s dog Dexter and my Suki became the best of friends too. For a time he lived close to me in Brighton and I looked after Dexter many times when Paul was often in Monaco helping to start up the Monte Carlo Backgammon Club.
I’m a relative newcomer to the backgammon circuit having only played in tournaments for about four years and first met Paul at a tournament in Antwerp where the backgammon bug really got me.
Thereafter, Paul and I had many fun backgammon trips both within the UK and abroad making many new friends between us, having lots of laughs and downing many enjoyable beers.
Paul suffered from long term depression, had a troubled childhood and only found his true family as an adult. These things certainly played a big part in the rest of his all too short life.
He told me on a number of occasions, including very recently, that he didn’t believe he had any real friends other than me. I told him that he was wrong and that many people loved him. From the outpouring of comments since his passing, this fact is obvious. He was loved and will be dearly missed. It is just a shame that he didn’t realise this while still alive which was clearly a symptom of his illness.
Paul had been working for the past two years on promoting mental health issues through his website project-mind.net. Although he was very positive about the project, his own issues meant that he lacked the confidence to ask for additional much needed support.
As part of that work, he had also developed tournament software which he was still in the process of perfecting, despite it already being used earlier this year in Gibraltar, at the Nordic Open and was due to be used once again for the World Team Championships again in Gibraltar and at the UK Open. This was a testament to his not widely known general IT talent but it had certainly been noticed by many other major global TD’s.
Paul was also instrumental in our plans for the 1st Brighton Summer Open this coming September, which we will now run in his honour.
I believe that his legacy will be the positivity, joy and laughter he brought to the backgammon world and he will be sorely missed. I also very much hope that his work on mental health awareness will be continued. Goodbye my friend, yours, Tim Parfitt.
Paul Gilbertson RIP