LAST weekend, 160 of the best chess playing children in Ireland came to fight for a title in their own age groups at the Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis.
Players from as young as four and as old as 18 vied for the title of All-Ireland junior champion. Among the Clare winners were five-year-old Paul McNamara from Cree who won in the U-6 category, followed by Hannah Hassett from Knockerra.
Cian Wall from the Doora Chess Club came second in the U-8 division, with Victoria Fennell from Knockerra taking the girls’ prize in this grouping.
Speaking at the event, Mayor of Clare, Councillor Tony Mulcahy, said it was a great honour for Ennis to host this year’s championships.
“I was not aware that the game of chess was so popular in Ireland, let alone Clare. I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that it is an immensely popular game and am equally delighted that one of the chess community’s foremost annual events is taking place here. Like any other game, whether it be football or rugby, the intricacies and tactics associated with chess give it universal appeal – an appeal that has lasted down through the centuries.” He also paid tribute to Connie Danaher Keane for organising the championships in Ennis.