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Brian Eley

Brian Ratcliffe Eley (born in Don Valley, United Kingdom, on 6 July 1946) is a former British Chess Champion. He has been a fugitive from the British police since 1991.


Brian Eley belonged to the wave of talented chess masters who came to the fore in Britain in the 1970s, after the dominance of Jonathan Penrose ended, a group that included Raymond Keene, Bill Hartston, George Botterill, Robert Bellin and others.

He took part in domestic chess tournaments, was a chess coach and gave simultaneous exhibitions. For a period around 1971, he wrote an infrequent chess column in the weekly Morning Telegraph of Sheffield. He ran his own chess retail business, supplying books, chess sets, scorebooks and the like.

Eley won the 1972 British Chess Championship tournament, held in Brighton.

Controversy and flight

Eley was arrested at his South Yorkshire home in July 1991 on "suspicion of sexual abuse" against an underage male he had once coached and was released on bail. Although not charged at the time, Eley jumped bail approximately one month after his arrest and disappeared. He was subsequently charged with more than 30 offences of a similar nature and remains a fugitive, wanted by the British police and Interpol.

Former British Chess Champion grandmaster John Nunn relates in his autobiography that "...Brian Eley achieved notoriety by absconding while on police bail relating to an investigation into paedophile activities."

Subsequently, there have been numerous unconfirmed reports of sightings of Eley in various places, mostly in Amsterdam, but his whereabouts remain unknown. John Nunn has remarked that Eley "became the only British Chess Champion ... to appear on the television programme Crimewatch."