Backgammon Barry

Aside from learning about the remarkable resumes of fellow students, it’s always amazing to hear about other accomplishments that don’t quite fit on MBA classcards. Something you may not have heard is that our fellow Section H’er, Barry Gittleman, is not only a former Naval submarine commander, but he is also the Champion of the vaunted intermediate division of the First Annual Boston Open Backgammon Championships, which were held at Boston’s Hyatt Harborside on January 16-21, 2002. As the winner, he received a trophy and a cash prize of $850.

He competed among approximately 70 competitors from around the country, one being his father, Joel Gittleman. Though a friendly game, the sweet irony turned out to be that Howard Peelle, the person Barry beat in the championship round, was the man who beat Barry’s father in the first round of the tournament. This is Barry’s first real tournament championship win, and as the winner, he must now compete in the advanced level, the “black belt” of backgammon. Previously, he won small, “side” games of eight people or less.

Barry started playing backgammon as a young child, under the influence of his father, an avid player. As a high schooler, he used to travel from his hometown in southern California to Las Vegas every year to compete in matches. Since then, he claims that his skills have surpassed that of his father. Barry said, “He might not agree with that, but it’s true. I beat him nine-nothing in our (hotel) room.”

Barry’s trophy stands on his den desk of his new apartment. When asked what he’s going to do with his cash prize, he said that he and his wife, Melinda, are planning on going to Paris during spring break, and that money will go towards that.

Congratulations Barry! Hopefully, he can give the rest of Section H some lessons at some point.