A chess tournament in memory of All-Ireland winning player, the late Brian Collum from Drumlish, takes place next Monday, March 16 from 1.45pm in St Mel’s College.
Brian was just twenty years old when he died on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 from SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) and chess players from schools across the county will gather to compete in the inaugural tournament where the prize will be a trophy dedicated to Brian’s memory.
Pat McCarrick, a member of Longford Chess Club, explained that the late Brian was an exceptionally talented chess player. “He won two All-Ireland Community Games chess titles, one Leinster underage title and played on an Irish ‘B’ U-12 team in a quadrangular international against Ireland ‘A’, Scotland and Wales winning all three of his games. He played twenty-five times for Longford Chess Club in Leinster league matches between 2004 and 2009 winning 20, drawing twice and losing just three games.”
Pat is organising Monday’s tournament in conjunction with Brian’s family; parents Bernie and Peter and brothers Petie and Emmet.
Last October, Pat, through his business, McCarrick Bros Cash & Carry in Longford town, spent €1,500 and distributed 200 tournament-size chess boards to thirty-nine national schools to promote the game and encourage participation in the tournament.
Brian’s mum, Bernie Collum, praised Pat for creating quite a ‘stir in many schools’ and said children were busy practising their chess skills in preparation for the event.
Mrs Collum added, “For years Pat has been promoting and organising opportunities for children to play the incredible game of chess. He deserves great credit for his passion and dedication.”
Pat said he had the privilege of knowing Brian from when he was eight years old through chess. “I remember him as reserved, thoughtful, happy and mature beyond his years. What struck me most was his modesty, unassuming nature and generosity of spirit.”
Pat recalled that Brian, due to his many interests and talents, including gaelic football where he excelled with Fr Manning Gaels and Longford, had little time to develop his chess or boost his rating by attending tournaments.
“He held an All-Ireland title in Irish dancing and was renowned as an accomplished and much sought after accordion player. A soccer and gaelic player in Drumlish, he played centre back for Longford minors in 2011 marking Ciarán Kilkenny in the Leinster championship first half against eventual winners Dublin.”
A former pupil of Drumlish NS and later Moyne Community School, Brian was studying agricultural science at UCD at the time of his sudden death.
Pat believes the staging of Monday’s tournament will be a fitting tribute to Brian and said the plan will be to possibly expand it in the years ahead by inviting teams from neighbouring counties to participate.
A Longford chess team competes in the Leinster League and there are many youngsters playing the game in the county.
Pat pointed out that one can learn to play chess quite easily by accessing online lessons and anyone seeking further information on Monday’s tournament or wishing to join the local club can contact him at 087 227 2588.