"Wee George" Buchanan (1876-1910)
by Norrie Reid

"Wee George" Buchanan the boy champion of Glasgow was born in that city on the 12th of February 1876. He was the son of Mary (nee Webster) and William, a watch-glass maker. His playing career began in 1891 at the age of 15 and it was quickly recognised that this small boy was a player of great potentail. Within three years he was regularly playing top board with the strong South Side Draughts Club which had its rooms at 360 Paisley Road, Glasgow. In 1894 he was part of the victorious Scots team against England. On that occasion the English player JA Kear (senior) was heard to say "By Jove, that boy can play!"

George indeed possessed a remarkable memory and was equally good at analysis, blindfold, simultaneous and cross-board play. By the turn of the century he was probably one of Scotland's top four players along with Jordan, Stewart and Ferrie. In 1905 he represented Great Britain against the USA, but his greatest achievement was probably the hat-trick of Scottish Championships in 1905, 1906 and 1907.

Unfortunately Buchanan's health began to fail soon afterwards, and the newspapers report his death by tuberculosis on the 5th of August 1910 (aged 34) at his home in Holmhead Crescent, Cathcart, on the South side of the city. I suspect however that his death was in fact caused by silicosis rather than tuberculosis, as George's profession was lapidary which involved stone-cutting!