Hall 9/11/59 – 14/3/12
Shane was the oldest of the 5 children of
John & Mary Hall, 2 boys, 3 girls, all born in Dublin. From about the age of 11 Shane
began playing chess and continued to do so throughout the rest of his life.
He was a serious and studious boy with a sharp sense of humour along with a
kind hearted nature. He supported Chelsea F.C but due to serious asthma he
did not participate in sports activities much, he loved to read, build
Airfix models and watch Dr.Who during his youth.
His family moved to Galway, on the West
coast of Ireland, where Shane completed his secondary school education. He
joined the FCA (Irish equivalent of the TA) for 5 years, during which time
he specialised in Communications at which he excelled.
Having always been a talented artist, when
he left school he pursued this gift by studying Graphic Design at Galway
Regional Technical College. It was at this time that Shane’s eyesight
began to noticeably deteriorate – it had always been poor, as a boy
he was both colour blind and had night blindness, but at this point,
following an examination by an ophthalmologist, Shane was diagnosed with
Retinitis Pigmentosa. This led to the end of his college course and a change
in his career plans while he tried to find an alternative profession that
would be minimally affected by his deteriorating vision.
Following some periods where he was
employed as a stock controller and other roles in commerce, he went to
Sligo where he was trained as a switchboard operator/telephonist. Shane
never felt particularly fulfilled by his work as a switchboard operator but
his salary allowed him to enrol in further education, to travel, to play
chess and pursue his other interests. Each year Shane travelled to chess
tournaments all over Ireland as well as, once or twice a year, travelling
to the U.K to tournaments in Solihull and Windermere.
Shane lived independently in various parts
of Dublin throughout his life, in the last 10 years settling in the centre
of Dublin City in the Iveagh Trust flats, where, by coincidence, his
grandparents had lived when we were children. He was very happy there,
surrounded by wonderful caring neighbours who always kept an eye on him and
considered him to be a gentleman in every respect.
Shane was a member of the walking club
branch of the Irish Blind Sports Association and also participated in their
10-pin bowling tournaments, winning several medals and trophies for his
skill with a bowling ball.
He loved to sing and took singing lessons
for several years with a classical music voice coach in the hopes of
improving his voice and extending his repertoire beyond his 3 favourite
songs – Santa Lucia, Molly Malone and Patricia the Stripper. Any of
you who ever attended an event that included an entertainment evening may
recall Shane’s enthusiastic offers to provide a song or 3 to his
fellow chess tournament attendees.
Shane had been studying Computer Technology
for several years as a part-time student in DCU and had always hoped that
he would gain this qualification so that he could change his career to
something that he both enjoyed and was stimulated by. What is a daunting
subject for anyone, was made even more challenging for Shane as he had to
learn it using Braille (even for the
most complex of mathematical sections) and having to use new computer
technology for learning, constantly changing as the years of his course
went on – at the same time as the university was struggling to
provide sufficient assistance to its part-time disabled students. These
challenges never put Shane off and, just before he died, Shane had
submitted one of his last assignments for his course.
Shane’s great love throughout his
life was chess. He loved, not just the game, but also the society of fellow
chess players. Always good naturedly competitive, Shane went so far as to
join rival chess clubs so that he could play more and improve his
abilities. Michael Crow was his chess coach for many years and his
cherished friend, who encouraged Shane to always strive to improve, to
innovate, to learn, to win and to do his best.
This year, at Lake Windermere, Shane
participated in an exhibition match where a GM played all the tournament
chess players simultaneously. In recent years no-one had beaten the GM or
gained a draw but this year, Shane emerged victorious. Although he was
quite modest about this at the time, upon his return from the U.K, he was
clearly ecstatic – all his hard work over the years had paid off.
I like to think that this was a great high
point at which to exit this life. His college assignment deadline met and
to have beaten the GM at Windermere, looking forward to another trip to the
UK and getting closer to his goal of completing his college course.
Although he had several serious health
problems in recent years, he never allowed them to interfere with the
pursuit of his passions or dreams. Unless he was in hospital, Shane never
missed a chess match or event, never missed a RP Society meeting or
fund-raising commitment he had made. Shane passed away peacefully in his
sleep at home on March 14th, nearly 2 months after his U.K trip.
He is sadly missed by his family, his
friends, his colleagues and his many chess mates. He will always be a
beloved inspiration to us all for demonstrating how to live life with
courage, enthusiasm, generosity, friendliness and love.
No doubt he is playing chess with the
Grandest Master of them all and entertaining heaven with his musical
talents. May he rest in peace after a life well lived.
Karen Hall, Shane’s