Ernest Alexander Little
1932 – 2021
The death of former Harrogate player Ernie Little has been announced. He died peacefully at his home in Pannal, Harrogate, on the 07/05/2021, aged 89.
Ernest Alexander Little, to give him his full name, was born on 03/02/1932, in Sunderland, to railway clerk George Alexander Little and his wife Lily. The middle name “Alexander” seems to have become a family tradition, as Ernie’s son John also bears that middle name.
Ernie became an accountant, living the first 40 or so years of his life in Sunderland, where he married wife Muriel in 1964. The Sunderland accent stayed with him after he left his native Co. Durham. (Sunderland was put in Tyne & Wear in 1974.)
He was active as a strong chess-player while living in Sunderland, and in 1968, as Co. Durham representative, he won the Northern Counties Chess Union championship, ahead of Vic W. Knox (Cheshire), Geoffrey I. Rhodes (Northumberland) and Jeff Horner (Lancashire) amongst others. His grade in 1968 was 195, then dropping to 192 in 1969.
At some time from 1969 to 1973, he moved, perhaps in connection with work, to Liverpool. The present writer, while playing for Yorkshire, encountered Ernie as his Lancashire opponent in the Manchester leg of the Yorkshire v Lancashire match in some year around the early 1970s. His grade in 1973 was down to 185.
Relatively soon after that, and probably in 1973 or 1974, he moved to Harrogate, where he lived for the rest of his life.
His debut for Harrogate in the Woodhouse Cup, on board 1, was on 28/09/1974, when he lost to Mike Haygarth of Leeds. Besides playing for Harrogate in the Woodhouse, he also turned out for Yorkshire in inter-county matches. By 1979 his grade had risen to 200.
In time he gave up over-the-board chess, but continued to represent Yorkshire in correspondence events.
He then resumed competitive over-the-board chess in 2005-06, playing only in the Harrogate league and Harrogate club championship, his last such game being on 27/01/2014, when he was very nearly 82 years old.
He leaves his wife Muriel, daughter Christine, son John, daughter-in-law Fran, and grandsons Matthew and Leo.
Steve Mann, 20/05/2021