Wednesday, 27 April 2016


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Maurice Ashley

Maurice Ashley
Maurice Ashley
Full name
Maurice Ashley
United States
March 6, 1966 (age 50)
St. Andrew, Jamaica
FIDE rating
2440 (April 2016)
Maurice Ashley (born March 6, 1966) is a Jamaican American chess grandmaster, author, commentator, app designer, puzzle inventor, and motivational speaker.[1][2] In 1992, Ashley shared the United States Game/10 chess championship with Maxim Dlugy.[3]Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation (FIDE) awarded him the grandmaster title in 1999,[4] making him the world's first Jamaican chess International Grandmaster. Ashley is well known as a commentator for high-profile chess events.[5]He also spent many years teaching chess.[6][7] On April 13, 2016, GM Ashley was inducted officially into the US Hall of Fame along with Chess Grandmaster Gata Kamsky[8]
1Early life
3Personal life
5Works and publications
Early life
Ashley was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica. He attended Wolmer's Boys School in Jamaica, then moved to the United States when he was 12.[9]
He went to Brooklyn Technical High School.[10] Ashley graduated from City College of New York (CCNY) with a B.A. in Creative Writing. While at City College, he represented in intercollegiate team competition.
Ashley said he discovered chess in Jamaica where his brother played chess with his friends. He got more serious about chess during high school where he grew up in Brooklynand played in parks and clubs throughout New York City.[10]
Always promoting chess among youth, Ashley coached the Raging Rooks of Harlem, and the Dark Knights (also from Harlem), both of which have won national championships under his guidance.[6][11]
On March 14, 1999, Ashley beat Adrian Negulescu and became the first African-American International Grandmaster.[10]
In September 1999, Ashley founded the Harlem Chess Center,[5] which has attracted such celebrities as Larry Johnson[12] and Wynton Marsalis. Along with GM Susan Polgar, Ashley was named 2003 Grandmaster of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation.
In 2003, Ashley wrote an essay The End of the Draw Offer?, which raised discussion about ways to avoid quick agreed draws in chess tournaments.
In 2005, he wrote the book Chess for Success, relating his experiences and the positive aspects of chess. He was the main organizer for the 2005 HB Global Chess Challenge, with the biggest cash prize in history for an open chess tournament.
In 2007, Ashley returned to his birth country of Jamaica and became the first GM to ever participate in a tournament in that country. The tournament, a six round Swiss called the Frederick Cameron Open, was held at the Jamaica Conference center on the 15th and 16 December 2007. After sweeping a field consisting of several of Jamaica's top players and Barbadian FIDE master Philip Corbin, Ashley was upset in the final round by Jamaican National Master Jomo Pitterson. Ashley placed second on five points behind Pitterson (5.5).[9]
In 2008, Ashley was featured in an interview for the CNN documentary Black in America. He was shown during one scene in the film Brooklyn Castle mentoring a young chess player. He was mentioned in the chess movie Life of a King starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Starting in the Fall of 2012, Ashley was a Director's Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and, between 2013 and 2015, Maurice was also a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society in a joint fellowship at both Harvard’s Berkman Center and the Media Lab at MIT. Currently, Maurice is a Research affiliate at the Media Lab at MIT.[13][14][15]
In 2013, Ashley announced he was planning the highest-stakes open chess tournament in history, Millionaire Chess Open. Its first edition took place October 9–13, 2014 in Las Vegas.
In 2015, Maurice announced a partnership with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and Ascension, Your Move Chess. This program supports after school chess in the Florissant-Ferguson School District alongside other schools in the Saint Louis area. Longer term, the goal is to expand the program on a national level. [16]
In February 2016, a video of Ashley defeating a "trash-talking" amateur chess player in Washington Square Park went viral.[17][18]
On April 13, 2016, GM Ashley is to be inducted officially into the US Hall of Fame along with Chess Grandmaster Gata Kamsky[8]
Ashley was one of the commentators of the two matches between world champion Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue that took place in 1996 and 1997. He provided commentary for the Kasparov vs. Anand World Championship match in 1995, the 2013 and 2014 Sinquefield Cups, as well as several US Chess Championships. In 2003, Ashley hosted ESPN's broadcast of Kasparov's match against X3D Fritz.
Personal life
In 1993, Ashley married Michele Ashley-Johnson. Their daughter Nia was born the following year and now attends Barnard College. Their son Jayden was born in 2002. The couple divorced in 2014.
Maurice's sister is world boxing champion Alicia Ashley and his brother is former world kickboxing champion Devon Ashley.[19][20]
"African continent GMs do exist; but, according to the system of racial classification, I am the first Black GM in history... it matters, and doesn't matter, all at the same time."[21]
Works and publications
Ashley, Maurice. "The End of the Draw Offer?" The 65th Square.
Ashley, Maurice. Chess for Success: Using an Old Game to Build New Strengths in Children and Teens. New York: Broadway Books, 2005. ISBN 978-0-767-91568-7OCLC 56793604
Ashley, Maurice, and Graham Burgess. The Most Valuable Skills in Chess. London: Gambit, 2009. ISBN 978-1-904-60087-9 OCLC 907184357
Ashley, Maurice. "Ferguson and The Chess Game of Life." Jet. October 15, 2015.
Ashley, Maurice. Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess For Beginning and Intermediate Players. Torrance, CA: Davidson & Associates, 1997. Electronic resource. ISBN 978-0-671-31579-5 OCLC 39350977
"Maurice Ashley: Chess Grandmaster." Gates, Jr. Henry Louis. America Beyond the Color Line: Ebony Towers. New York, N.Y.: Films Media Group, 2009. Starts at 2:19.OCLC 695008134
Ashley, Maurice. Working backward to solve problems. TEDYouth 2012.
Ashley, Maurice and Mobile MATCH, LLC. Learn Chess! with Maurice Ashley. Mobile phone app. 2012.
Ashley, Maurice. Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation Lecture with GM Maurice Ashley: Chess for Football Players. Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. August 13, 2014.
Ashley, Maurice. "Grandmaster Maurice Ashley plays trash talking guy in Washington Square Park." Outake. The Tim Ferriss Experiment. February 16, 2016.