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Roy Carl Ervin was born in Los Angeles on January 4, 1951 and grew up in Santa Monica. In 1969, he took 2nd in the Ventura Marina Chess Festival, won by Ray Martin, and ahead of Norman Whitaker. In 1969, at the American Open in Santa Monica, Ervin, rated 1879, defeated Jude Acers, rated 2303. In 1970, he won the expert prize in the National Open. He attended UCLA. He was a USCF Senior Master and a FIDE master who earned one IM norm at Lone Pine in 1977 (he played in Lone Pine in 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978). In 1974, he represented the United States in the World Student Team Olympiad. In 1976 he won the Bagby Memorial (Northern California Championship), and tied for first in the Stamer Memorial in San Francisco with Jeremy Silam and Frank Thornally. He tried to commit suicide at one of the Louis Statham tournaments when he lost to Gligoric by slitting his wrists. He slit his wrists again in 1977 at the US Open in Columbus, Ohio after a loss. He also tried to cut off his nose with a pair of scissors. For awhile, he was a homeless person who lived on the beach in Santa Monica and slept underneath the chess tables in Santa Monica. He was commited to a mental hospital for awhile in Chico, California. In 1987, the San Francisco had a Ervin Memorial, thinking he was dead. Ervin showed up at the Ervin Memorial. Southern California also had a Ervin Memorial while Ervin was alive. He died in Red Bluff, California on November 4, 2001.