Where is Maurice Ashley?

The whereabouts of GM Maurice Ashley has been the immortal question buzzing through American chess halls many years. Words such as “semi-retired” and “hiatus” have been associated with his status. It has been five years since the Jamaican-born GM appeared in a U.S. competition, placing in the 2002 Foxwoods Open and competing for the 2003 U.S. Championship. While the question of his return has died down considerably, it resurfaces now and then.

Ashley earned his GM title nearly 10 years ago becoming the first player of African descent to achieve this title. This accomplishment made him the subject of many interviews and news articles. He still gets his share of attention from this historic footnote, but some feel that his presence in tournament halls is needed.

Ashley organized the unforgettable HB Global Chess tournament and has since been working on a number of book projects. He has also kept a coast-to-coast speaking schedule. Last year he took traveled to his home island of Jamaica where he gave a simul and played in a local tournament. He has also appeared in Barbados.

In an interview at last year’s World Open (see below), he told The Chess Drum that he would eventually be returning to tournament chess. He mentioned that he was working on several projects. It may be that when he does return to playing, his transition will require some adjustments given the length of time he has been away. Whatever Ashley decides, let’s wish him the best… and wish the best for chess.

Donald Colbert (left) congratulating  GM Maurice Ashley after his 2000 Foxwoods tournament win. GM Ashley would successfully defend his title in 2001. Copyright © 2000, Jerry Bibuld.

Donald Colbert (left) congratulating GM Maurice Ashley after his 2000
Foxwoods tournament win. GM Ashley would successfully defend his title
in 2001 and place 2nd in 2002 (qualifying for the U.S. Championship).

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Listen to 2007 Interview!


  1. Around 1996 he was at peak 4 real, wld be nice to see him back in action.

  2. Ashley gave a simul on June 19 in upstate NY in which I played. I was on the black side of a semi-slav with g4. I thought I was playing well, but then came the knight sac, my king went on a stroll never to return home. 😆

  3. Phil,
    Do you have any photos from that simul? What are the other details? What was the event? How many players were there? Did anybody win a game? Draw?

  4. I do not have any photos . Ashley gives this simul anually in Schnectady,NY ‘ Central park for the juneteenth celebration.Ashley won on all boards .The event was scheduled for two 25 board simuls under a pavillon ,but due to rain the attendance did not meet the expectations.There were 15 players for 1 simul but being that there wasn’t a second simul we had the pleasure of playing some skittles and letting Maurice kibitz our games with his sharp tactical vision.

  5. Juneteenth was my birthday! 🙂 Maurice has some deep insights into the game. I did a phone interview with him where he is dropping knowledge. When I first met him, I was amazed at the way he conducted analysis. I also pride myself on this trade. I also saw him analyze his game against shogi champion Yoshiru Habu years at a Chicago Open long ago. He know how good he is at chess commentary, but his analysis is on point! Maurice and Emory Tate are fantastic in this regard.

    We do need photos. No camera phones??? Somebody should have been taking pics.

  6. This colloquy reminds me of “The Terrace Duet” from the Broadway musical “Chess.” Anatoly sings,” Maybe he’s scared – But he didn’t seem scared in the game.” Florence responds,”Oh, I couldn’t care less – He can go right ahead – Go and wreck his career – I know I’ve done my best.”

  7. Firstly 😆 Happly belated birthday!!! Tomorrow the Yes I Play chess event will take place. Lennox Lewis has show great support by donating one of his Gloves to be auction at this funtion to help us in our fundraising. I’ll be hosting a simul for 20.

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