11th July 2022. Mid West Simon Community held a Chess Competition Final for the residents of Oak Lodge emergency accommodation in Limerick on Thursday 7th July with the Winner being Stephen Casey Bracken who was named the “Chess Champ” and he was absolutely delighted with his win.

The residents of Mid West Simon Oak Lodge organised the Chess tournament themselves out of a passion for chess.  Mid West Simon engaged John Cassidy from the Ennis Chess Club who kindly Volunteered his time and skills by coming from Ennis to Limerick weekly for approximately six weeks to help improve the resident’s chess skills. John’s expertise was required, as there were residents at various chess levels, and he also helped everyone to understand the rules. There were some friendly arguments over the rules!

The tournament really helped residents to build relationships with one another, it also increased people’s confidence and self-awareness and gave them something to look forward to. With many residents claiming that chess is very therapeutic and great for the mind with so many different manoeuvres to learn. All the residents were in great spirits after the competition with a wonderful atmosphere in Oak Lodge.

So, after all the practice sessions, the finals took place on Thursday 7th July in Oak Lodge. There were 2 Semi-Finals followed by the Final in front of approximately 25 staff and residents. Mark Quinn International Master of Chess of Chessbud.ie gladly volunteered his expertise and time to judge the Finals. Following the final Mark dissected the game and showed the group different strategies that could be implemented in the future.

John Cassidy was also present at the finals and provided support and encouragement to the finalists. John has committed to continue volunteering at Oak lodge after the tournament.

Jackie Leonard, Head Of Fundraising said “We are delighted with the success of the tournament and how well Thursday’s competition went. We hope the residents will continue to play chess in the future and we really look forward to supporting them and organising another tournament going forward. On behalf of Mid West Simon Community, I would like to thank the anonymous Donor who helped fund the tournament, your support means a lot to the residents in Oak lodge. Thank You.”




For further information, contact Maura McMahon, 087 1972984 maura.mcmahon@mwsimon.ie