Yorkshire Chess Association





Reported Death of Brian Eley


If you don’t know about Brian Ratcliffe Eley then you do not want to know, but for the information of those who do know, there are reports doing the rounds that the Yorkshire-born former British Champion died in Amsterdam on 06/04/2022.


The sole evidence for this appears to be an entry on the Find a Grave website, which says a person named Brian Russel / Ratcliffe “Ray” Eley’, born 06/07/1946 died in Amsterdam on 06/04/2022, and is buried in De Nieuwe Oosterbegraafplaats, i. e. The New Eastern Cemetery, in Amsterdam.  The plot is given as “Vak 65, no 039 first level”.  (Vak translates as “compartment” or presumably “space” or “plot”.  Why is “first level” in English?)




One problem is that people can create such entries on such websites without there being any substantiation - and some innocent errors have been made in the past (e. g. a post to the wrong cemetery in the correct town).  Usually, it is possible to upload an image of the grave, which goes a long way to supporting the entry, but in this case there is no such image.  So, in theory, this could be a hoax entry, but it certainly rings true.  On the other hand, who would add such an entry?


There are only 572 entries recorded as posted for this cemetery, 57% with photographs, so clearly the cemetery authorities do not routinely post all burials etc on this website, so the entry was presumably created by a private individual, but who?


The name given suggests the subject used the names Russel and Ray, perhaps to help conceal his identity’.  The quoted date of birth matches the year and quarter of registration of the birth, but anyone could pay money for a copy of the birth certificate to embellish a hoax.  More-tangible corroboration would be reassuring.