Drum Classics #1

Classic Photo!

Can you name five people in this classic picture?
(Hint: All but two have at one time achieved Master level.
One is a Grandmaster and two are IMs. )
Photo by Jerry Bibuld.


  1. I clearly recognize Dr.Daaim Shabazz, IM Emory Tate ( probably the strongest player of African descent in the history of the game ), GM Maurice Ashley, and I think the Exterminator in a kneeling position ( once in the 1980s I waited nearly 24 hours in a downtown chess club owned by a brother in Baltimore to play him but to no avail ).

  2. I see David Allen Sr, Emory Tate, the esteemed Dr Shabazz, William Morrison, Maurice Ashley, David Allen Jr, Ernest Colding, and Kenny Solomon.

  3. You’re too kind brother. 🙂

    How about the dark-skinned gentleman in the back with the glasses? Who is this important person? He is actually not from America either… shaaaaarp brother!! He did something very important in Black Chess History. 8)

  4. NM Frank Street is pictured above on the cover of CL&R, according to The Drum, he is the second brotha to acheive to title of National Master in the USA. I found the following game today where Brother Street Esq. introduced a theorectical novelty at move nine and by move thirteen had a decisive advantage against one of America’s up and coming Masters, Yasser Seirawan at Lone Pine, 1976.
    The moves are: White – Frank Street, Black – Seirawan: 1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. c4 d6 4. Nc3 e5 5. Nge2 Nc6 6. Be3 Nh6 7. f3 f5 8. Qd2 Nf7 9. g3N [ 9. exf5; 9. 000 ] 00 [ 9… exd4 10. Nxd4 00 11.000 = ] 10. d5 white gains space Ne7 11. c5 attacks the pawn chain [ 11. Bg2 c5 ] b6 [ 11…dxc5 and black has air to breath 12. Nd6 = ] 12.c6 f4? [ 12…a6!? ] 13. gxf4+ – exf4 [ 13…a5 14. 000+ – ] 14. Nxf4 Ne5 15. Be2 h6 16. 000 a6 [ 16…a5 17. Nb5 Nf7 18. Ne6 Bxe6 19. dxe6+ – ] 17. Rdg1 Kh7 18. Rg3 b5 19. Rhg1 b4 20. Nd1 a5 [ 20. ..Bf6 does not save the day 21. Ng2 b3 22. a3+ – ] 21. Nh5 Bh8 22. Bxh6 gxh5 23. Bg7 Rf6 24. Bxf6 Bxf6 25. f4 Ng4 [ 25… Ng4 26. h3 Nh6 27. Bxh5 Qf8+ – ] And though Mr. Street has a decisive advantage, the players agreed to a draw! The analysis was by Shredder 8.

  5. Frank Street, Jerry Bibuld & the Wilbert Paige Tournament

    Wilbert Paige Memorial Chess Tournament

    During the Wilbert Paige Memorial tournament in Harlem, New York, I stayed with Jerry Bibuld several days. For those who don’t know, Bibuld is self-identified as a “United Statesian,” or in common terms, a Caucasian. Jerry would term a person standing against justice as a “moral bacillus” and often labeled specific people in this way. Frank Street had come to New York from Maryland to visit the tournament and stayed with Jerry for the first weekend. I was privileged to have that opportunity and we had very interesting conversations into the night. We went over some of this games in the old Chess Life while sitting at the dining table.

    One of the days, the topic came up about the year Mr. Street made U.S. National Master. Bibuld insisted on the accuracy of his paper records and told Street he didn’t make Master in 1965 according to his records. After debating back and forth, Street blurted out, “I know when I made Master!” After rummaging through Bibuld’s vast collection of old Chess Life magazines, we confirmed that Street was right… 1965. Jerry let me scan and copy the cover of the magazine above. I ran to a copy shop and scanned the classic shot of Street.

    Organizer and Arbiter Jerry Bibuld before the start of the Wilbert Paige Memorial. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Organizer and Arbiter Jerry Bibuld before the start
    of the Wilbert Paige Memorial. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    That first weekend of the Wilbert Paige, I enjoyed conversations with Mr. Street and we often chuckled at Bibuld’s New York driving and his famous talks on political conspiracies, philosophy and Black history. They were indeed interesting, but sometimes he would speak in a way as if to prove his revolutionary credentials in what he dubs “Afro-America.”

    For many years, Bibuld had collected a list of Black masters and documented photos of African/Caribbean federations at the Olympiad tournaments. He made additional contributions to Uganda, Kenya and South Africa and protested and picketed at FIDE events to get South African federation suspended because of apartheid. He was successful.

    IM Michael Schleifer

    Michael Schleifer (pictured left) of Canada also stayed with Jerry. I was able to spend one evening with him discussing respective backgrounds and chess. I was intrigued because before the Wilbert Paige Memorial, I had never heard of Schleifer, an International Master. He told me that his parents were Jamaican, but I still could not reconcile his German-sounding surname. After that, I stayed with David Diamond in Brooklyn where Stephen Muhammad was. Interesting times! The Wilbert Paige was really a special tournament. The only thing missing was that Emory Tate was not in the lineup.

    When Jerry was asking me for potential invitees, of course Tate was one of the first names I mentioned. Jerry recounted a past issue with Tate during the 1992 African-American Unity tournaments when Tate showed up late. I tried to convince him that Tate had to be in the tournament, but Jerry thought that Tate would possibly not show. Why didn’t GM Maurice Ashley play? I believe he still had work obligations at Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) where the tournament was being held. He decided that he would work as a commentator. Oh… the dark-skinned brother in the back with the glasses… he financed the Wilbert Paige tournament!

    Wilbert Paige Memorial Tournament
    African-American Unity Tournaments

  6. OK… I’ll give one, but you all still owe me two… the dark-skinned brother with glasses and the person next to him. 🙂Sulaiman Smith is kneeling on the far right. He’s from Atlanta, Georgia and made National Master, but it in the 2100s now. He doesn’t play much anymore, but used to hustle a lot of blitz. You can check him out in this link and in this interesting group shot below!

    It is improbable to have five people of exactly the same height in a picture, but what is even more interesting is the assembly of players at a relatively small Atlanta tournament! Elvin Wilson of Philadelphia was visiting a friend and Leonard Dickerson drove down from Tennessee. Stephen Muhammad drove from Columbus, Georgia while Sulaiman and I were living in Atlanta.

    (L-R) NM Elvin Wilson, FM (now IM) Stephen Muhammad, NM Leonard Dickerson, Sulaiman Smith, Daaim Shabazz.

    (L-R) NM Elvin Wilson, FM (now IM) Stephen Muhammad,
    NM Leonard Dickerson
    , Sulaiman Smith, Daaim Shabazz.

  7. The man is the glasses is Dr Jones Murphy…the principle sponsor for what Dr Shabazz titles one of his proudest moments.

  8. Yes! Dr. Jones Murphy from the island of Dominica. I first met him at the World Open in 1990. The Wilbert Paige Memorial was a great moment for chess and it happened within the first year of The Chess Drum.

    Here’s some history about the 1990 World Open…

    I did not play in the 1990 World Open, but was living in New York for the summer and traveled to Philly with Maurice Ashley and Jerry Bibuld. I had met Maurice at the 1989 U.S. Open and we hung a bit. I had on a Jamaican shirt and he complimented me on it. When he told me he was from Jamaica, so on the next day, I brought some Steel Pulse to the skittles room! Maurice loved it! We were rocking the place and analyzing games. You will also remember below. It was the same time. More history!!

    Maurice Ashley (now GM) analyzing R.O. Mitchell's game (with his seated opponent) at the 1989 U.S. Open in Chicago. Kimani Stancil looks on. R.O. Mitchell came from nowhere to win the U.S. Junior Open in 1990. Stancil, also a young star in this picture, earned his Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 2002. Copyright © 1989, Daaim Shabazz.

    Maurice Ashley (now GM) analyzing R.O. Mitchell’s game (with his seated opponent) at the 1989 U.S. Open in Chicago. Kimani Stancil looks on. R.O. Mitchell came from nowhere to win the U.S. Junior Open in 1990. Stancil, also a young star in this picture, earned his Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 2002. Copyright © 1989, Daaim Shabazz.

    When I settled in New York, I called Maurice and we had many good chats on the phone. I shared with him my idea of a Black chess network and we set up a meeting at Washington Square Park to discuss it. I had written a 28-page marketing plan for the network which included a magazine. Incidentally, Maurice would organize the African-American Unity tournaments featuring top Black Masters. I would imagine that our spirited interactions served as mutual inspiration for our respective ventures.

    Maurice told me that Jerry Bibuld (whom I had not met) was driving to the World Open and said I might want to come along. Jerry called me that night and set up a pick time. While we drove to the World Open, Maurice talked about his trials in seeking the IM title and Jerry discussed many cases of racism within the “United Statesian” chess community. He pointed out that both Maurice and Emory Tate were snubbed after earning IM norms at the New York Open. I was taking copious notes which I still have. Jerry had suggested that Maurice play under the Jamaican flag to get a shot an IM title in the Olympiad.

    NM Wilbert Paige

    We had a lively discussion about Black chess and about the possibilities. When we got to the World Open, I met a lot of players including the late Wilbert Paige (pictured right). I shared my idea with many players and got a positive response. I also vividly remembering a lively discussion in room of NM George Umezinwa who is originally from Nigeria.

    In the room were: me, Maurice Ashley, Stephen Muhammad and another person whom I can’t remember. I believe he was another Nigerian. We discussed a wide range of issues which included my idea of the Black chess network, economics, politics, chess advancement and many topics. It is with a bit of irony that one particular Master was not supportive of the idea. He thought I was advocating a breakaway chess federation for Blacks. Maurice helped me to clarify this with the brother.

    I met Jones Murphy through Maurice and I understood from him that this was one sharp brother. I remember us eating in the Denny’s next to the Adams Mark. It was me, Jerry, Maurice and Jones. We had more enlightening discussions on many topics. It was a great day and as we left to ride back to New York, Maurice told me never to forget it. I haven’t.

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