The Board


Eva Bitel AM

 My husband , Ivor , and I were taught to play backgammon by an American exchange Fellow at Sydney Hospital where I worked. Both of us loving games we were hooked immediately. We played in the 1960s at the Pater Noster Club, dressed for dinner and then played. From there it was all downhill. Bernie McFadden ran several clubs over the next few years and tournaments were arranged by Jonathan Simmons at his and Katherine’s home. (beware the two huge hounds ! ) . Tournaments were run in Vanuatu and at Falls Creek, all well attended by players from Victoria and NSW. Ivor and I ran a club on Monday nights for several years in the 1970’s at Castle Cove. I ran a yearly charity tourney for Operation Wheelchairs in our home with a sumptuous repast that those of you who came will remember. Eventually our work and two children made it impossible to continue running the club and it was taken over by the Marczaks , but it did not survive. We also played in the J&B tournaments at the Hyatt , Ivor was runner up one year and we scored a trip to the Internationals in Monte Carlo. Over the years I think Ivor won more than I did , he was the Newcastle winner once and to my delight I was runner-up at that tournament last year (2016 ). I look forward to leading the Australian Backgammon Federation and the revitalisation of the game.

Phone: +61 2 9960 3212

Secretary and Media Advisor

Gemma Purves

I don’t remember learning to play backgammon- it’s a game that’s always been there in the background. I even remember some of those infamous events organised by Eva & Ivor down in Falls Creek where my parents competed.
Moving on to my days at Uni: I recall hours spent in a local café playing endless games with an old friend over numerous coffees.
I’m looking forward to applying my knowledge of social and local media outlets to help all the Australian Backgammon Clubs increase their reach and popularity.

Treasurer & Public Officer

John Hedge 

John Hedge I learned to play backgammon while on holiday on Mykonos in 1974. My first tournament was at a hotel in Mayfair sponsored by Peter Stuyvesant. I recall I won my first match against a lady with many supporters who took pleasure in explaining to her where she’d made mistakes! (Nothing changes) I lost the next round.
I emigrated to Australia/Melbourne in 1978 and was elected BAV Treasurer until I moved to Sydney in late 1979.
I have played in most of the venues/clubs in Sydney over the years. I won at least one of the Hyett monthly tournaments sponsored by J&B Whiskey. I played in the UK’s BIBA monthly tournaments from 2007 to 2010 winning one of them. And last week I won the PRBC KO.
My backgammon board goes all over the world with me.

Mobile: +61 415 987 388

Vice President & Assistant Treasurer

John Symon

 Like many, I started playing backgammon in the late 1970s. I was taught and mentored by my good friend Ivan Havas until I was able to stand on my own two feet. We played 2-3 times each week for the next several years with other market stall holders (as an additional income stream) as well as in various local competitions and tournaments.
Somehow life got in the way of backgammon, and I dropped out of the scene for 30 odd years. I resurfaced in late 2014 joining the Castle Hill RSL Backgammon Club, then John Hedge’s League, the Persian Rose Backgammon Club more recently The Sydney Backgammon Club.
After the 30 year absence from the game I have learned three important things. The first is how much the game has changed with the advent of the computer bots. The second was how much I had forgotten over time. The biggest revelation however was how much I never knew in the first place. So here I am, back at school, and loving it.

Dr Greg Ash

Taeed Athari

Taeed Athari I became interested in backgammon when I was 6 years old and started to play with family members when I was 9 years old (Persian rules).
In 1988 I attended a tournament in Australia for first time, which was organised by Ivor Bitel at the Vaucluse Bowling Club. It was, in fact, Ivor who introduced me to western rules and how to the use the cube. I stopped playing backgammon from 1998 till 2003 while finishing my Masters of Architecture at Sydney University.
Since 2003 I have been playing more and more and I love the game very much.
I am very grateful to have the Persian Rose Backgammon Club to share with all backgammon lovers.

Michael Dyett

John Hedge I first learnt to play backgammon in my twenties. I discovered a game that would stay with me for a lifetime. To say Backgammon is my passion is an understatement. After playing Backgammon for roughly 15 years, I decided to devote time to improving my game. I soon found that I enjoyed studying the game just as much as I did playing. I have had my fair share of success in Australia and overseas. When I look back throughout my playing career, it is the friendships that I have made that put a smile on my face. Wins and losses come and go…friends last a lifetime. I am privileged and proud to be part of such a passionate team.