Chess Crackers (January/February 2009)

Maurice Ashley

February is “Black History Month” and while the celebration typically focuses on the same figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman and Jesse Owens, there are some forgotten heroes in our history.

While there are many figures in sport who have made contributions, chess has often be overlooked in the Black community as an activity that has a tradition. Players like Walter Harris, Frank Street, Kenneth Clayton and Charles Covington have led the charge and we will hear more about them in February. Standing on the shoulders of these pioneers are two trailblazers Maurice Ashley and Emory Tate. They have captured the imagination of many with their inventive play and other chess contributions.

Emory Tate

Ashley is a renown chess commentator apart from being a coach, author and public speaker. His distinguished persona makes him a popular speaker and his story as a Jamaican immigrant is well-known.

Tate will go down in history as one of the most celebrated masters with his storybook games often ending in exciting flourishes. His generosity is not often mentioned, but his post-game analyses are legendary and his consistent activity exudes passion and respect for the game.

During February, we will also focus on the African Diaspora since contributions of Blacks outside of the U.S. are not often discussed during this month. However, this edition of “Chess Crackers” gives four positions from the two legends.

Fabiano Caruana – FM Emory Tate

2003 New York Masters
Black to Move (after 18.Qd2-g5 )

More Chess Crackers!

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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