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Una’s chess book up for award

October 20, 2011

DULEEK chess champ Una O’Boyle can now extend her Wonder Woman status beyond voicing the character on TG4, as her Irish chess book ‘Ficheall’ has been short-listed for Irish language Children’s Book of the Year (Gradam Réics Carló) 2011.

Called ‘Ireland’s Queen of Chess’, the chess Olympiad and Women’s Candidate Master teaches the game in local Gaelscoil Scoil Aonghusa, and the book – the first ever as Gaeilge – is the culmination of five years’ work, which saw Una having to create whole new words for chess terminology. ‘I can’t actually believe I made the shortlist, but am absolutely delighted,’ says Una, who learned the art of the game from her late father Enda. ‘Chess players are a gorgeous bunch of people and I love seeing the children chatting away about chess in Irish as though it were the most natural thing in the world.’ Her late dad’s passion for the game rubbed off on Una, and she was something of a child prodigy.

‘I used to love beating the adults, but lost interest for a while, until I picked it up again in my twenties,’ she adds. ‘I was asked by Ireland’s Grandmaster Alex Baburin to teach in Irish, as no one else was doing it, and that’s where I got the idea for the book.’ ‘Ficheall’, which means chess in Irish, has already received worldwide acclaim in the chess-world, with one American expert saying ’ This is super awesome. I’ve looked at all the chess books for children and there is nothing close to this in English. Please, please and please do an English translation’

Drogheda Independent – Alison Comyn