GM Maurice Ashley is well-known in chess circles, but years ago he was an unassuming Master trying to break into the upper-echelon of American chess. Of course, his story has been told countless times as he has been the subject of much media publicity. His page on The Chess Drum has remained one of the most highly-trafficked in the past four years.

Back in the late 80s, Chess Life ran a story profiling Ashley. The story was done by
Julie Anne Desch and appeared in the October 1989 issue. At that time Ashley was a 23-year old player/coach who would become famous by coaching Mott Hall Elementary to national titles.  How did Ashley describe his success in the early days?

GM Maurice Ashley. Copyright ©, Daaim Shabazz.

Maurice Ashley

"… the only reason I got better was due to the fact that there were these guys who were good… and though they weren't really pushing me… in order to being their group I had to get better… so that really forced me to study a lot and to better myself… They were strong competitors… fierce competitors..."

In this game Ashley shows his competitive spirit against
James West. I can personally remember him showing me this game at the 1989 U.S. Open in Chicago. It was an impressive sight that would show greater things to come in his chess commentary. In this encounter, Ashley shows does the Black Bear Chess Club proud!

See James West - Maurice Ashley


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