|Apr-16-11|| ||drnooo: well somebody should start some comments here: he was a very good player and should not be treated like some damn ghost. I didnt know him but surely there are plenty here who did.|
|Dec-25-13|| ||Murky: Okay, will do, drnooo.
I knew Roy Ervin. His first chess rating was over 2100 UCSF. I first met him at the California Junior Championship in Los Angeles, 1968 or 1969. Jacqueline Piatigorsky, who was sponsoring the tournament, was walking about, and I made a dumb comment about what could she possibly know about chess. Roy straightened me out on that point. "She could probably beat you". And he was right.
In the early 70s I'd see Roy at the Santa Monica chess club, and then in the San Francisco bay area. Roy had real talent for the game, but he was close to poverty, and didn't have normal middle class options. So he tried to make it as a chess master. Money was thin, his life was ragged, and he ran into some bad people.
Despite a rough life which left him crazed, he preserved a sense of humor. Somehow a rumor spead of Roy Ervin's death, so in 1987 a tournament was held in his memory at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco. That was motivation enough for Roy, and he showed up to play in the tournament.
It's been more than a decade that he's gone now. Rest in Peace, Roy Ervin.
|Jul-09-15|| ||wrap99: Thanks for the comments <Murky>. I played as a very low-rated player with disposable income, many five minute games with Roy (I got 5, he 1; also, he gave me rook odds with no problem -- I was a 15-year-old 1300 player) in SF at the Palace Hotel in 1976. He was a lowkey guy and as far as I could tell, a nice person. One of the best things to me about chess is the people you meet and the connections to others who have known them, sometimes, as in this case, across nearly half a century or even because I corresponded with Ed. Lasker, connections with people who were active in chess 150 years ago.|
|Jul-09-15|| ||docbenway: I had no idea Roy was gone since 2001 though I'm not surprised. When I got the Chico Chess Club going again in the early 1990s he'd show and crush us all while complaining that his head hurt and he couldn't see straight from smoking mulberry leaves and snorting cleaning products that he kipped from the kitchen at the half way house he was staying in. I'd give him rides home on club nights and one time he leaned forward from the back seat and in a level voice asked if I could tell him of a good way to kill himself. I looked at him in the rear view mirror to see this neutral, expectant look on his face, waiting for the straight dope on how to get out of this world. R.I.P.|
|Jul-10-15|| ||wrap99: <docbenway> Very sad that someone would do something that would be so bad for one's brain as snorting cleaning products (don't think mulberry leaves is a great idea either) but I read Artie Lang's autobio and when he was going through withdrawal he would do crazy stuff to try to stop it. As trivial as this sounds, Roy was also a fairly tall, good-looking guy on top of his obvious intellectual ability and if he had gotten help, he could have had the world on a string.|
|Jan-13-18|| ||andrewjsacks: <Murky> Fine comments and tribute. We were lucky to have Roy in the Southern California area. Talented player, troubled guy.|
|Jan-13-18|| ||MissScarlett: <Somehow a rumor spead of Roy Ervin's death, so in 1987 a tournament was held in his memory at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco. That was motivation enough for Roy, and he showed up to play in the tournament.>|
Did he play or just show up threatening to play!? But it's true this tournament did take place - and it was no Mickey Mouse event. It was won by the untitled (later GM) Darcy Lima scoring 10/13, with Douglas Root and Jeremy Silman in joint second, both earning their final IM norms.
|Jan-13-18|| ||zanzibar: Last night I spent a few moments trying to locate a photo of him on the web, to no avail.|
Can anybody provide a link to one?
|Mar-01-18|| ||rcesister: Hey CHESS PEOPLE, I AM ROY's SISTER, LAURA. First I want to say how compassionate the people are that left these wonderful memories of my older brother... THANK YOU for your kind words. My brother did die in RED BLUFF
in NOR CAL I actually sat with him as he took his last breath. My brother suffered severly from schizphrenia which came to him in his late 20's. My brother went to NOTRE DAME H.S. in SHERMAN OAKS,Ca and had a FULL SCHOLARSHIP to UCLA for PHYSICS and MATH, he was classified as a GENIUS and was a BRILLIANT man. He grew up in his teen years at the height of the Vietnam WAR, he was born 01/04/1951 and I truly believe in my heart that the social pressures and newly blossomed drug culture were the beginning of his "TROUBLED MIND". I thought that I needed to convey this information here because it solves the question of my brother's life choices. He was an OLD SOUL and couldnt take the pressures of society,the establishment, and the Capitalist greed.He is buried in RED BLUFF CA at ST MARY'S CEMENTARY if you wish to acknowledge his contribution to life PLEASE make a donation to any worthy cause you feel that he would be honored for. I will upload several pictures soon. May your lives be filled with love, faith and truth.|
|Mar-01-18|| ||zanzibar: Hello <rcesister> (Laura),|
If you have a photograph of your brother that you'd like to see on this page would you please grant us permission to use it?
I'll volunteer to do the leg-work of getting it used if we could work out some sort of download. Please let us know - thanks.
|Mar-01-18|| ||saffuna: <rcesister> Very nice post.|
|Mar-01-18|| ||rcesister: Here is Roy's mom,Dorothy Breitegger, now of Red Bluff CA. I will be 90 in June. Roy went to the Pinecrest School in Van Nuys from the time he was ten until high school, when he attended the Christian Brothers' Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. He was a resident freshman at Occidental College in Los Angeles in a dual program for science and math with Cal Tech in Pasadena. I taught him to play chess when he was 4, but he learned to really play chess when he was 7, on a cross-country train trip with me. He and I were playing in the lounge car when a nice older man passed us, watched as Roy was thinking long about a move, then the man leaned down and whispered in his ear. Roy made the suggested move, and one move later checkmated Mom. The man suggested a book which I bought for him in Omaha, and after that he continued to beat me in every game, and became a serious chess player. He left college mid-term, not to return again as an enrolled student. He went then to Santa Monica and played chess for money on the beach. You will understand that Mom was pretty upset, and he continued to elude me. When he played for the US Olympic team in London, he took off after the tournament and made his way through France, Germany into Amsterdam. While there, he got into drugs which triggered a serious schizophrenic break. He was hospitalized for six months, then returned home to Northern California. He was 26. He resisted treatment, said it numbed him stupid, so life was hard for him for awhile. But through all this, he continued to play chess. He smoked 2 to 3 pks cigarettes daily, and finally died at 50 of lung cancer.
Thank you to all of you who befriended him. He was a sweet guy, a wonderful little kid to challenge me as he grew, always full of questions. I loved him dearly, and am grateful to all of you who counted him your friend.|
|Mar-02-18|| ||cwcarlson: Roy seemed fine when I met him in 1973, but by 1977 he was homeless and seemed like he'd suffered psychological trauma. He dropped out of Lone Pine 1978 after only three games and I never saw him again. He had great talent and could have been an IM or even a GM. His early death was a sad end to a sad life.|
|Mar-02-18|| ||ICCM Bart Gibbons: I began playing chess at the Santa Monica Bay Chess Club in 1972, after the Fischer-Spassky match. I got to know Roy in the late 70s, playing him at Lina Grumette's (club (The Chess Set), and the Pacific Southwest Open. I also saw him play at Lone Pine.
Roy was always friendly, and though he was clearly troubled, he was in good cheer more often than not. I still remember him laughing out loud once.|
Roy, thanks for the memories.
|Mar-15-18|| ||wrap99: Recent posters here, especially Roy's family: How strange that I just thought of looking here and after 3 years, there are a slew of posts, including one also from Bart whom I met 40+ years ago! As I mentioned in previous posts, Roy seemed like a very bright guy and it is sad that things did not work out better for him -- it is interesting but not surprising to hear from his family that he went to Caltech -- chess is certainly a way to meet bright and interesting people. The anecdote about J. Piatgorsky, an accomplished and remarkable person outside of chess is interesting also.|