GM Maurice Ashley has been to Belize three times in an attempt to help assist the nascent chess community in the Central American country. He recently penned an artice for ChessBase for their recent holding of their “Chess Olympiad”.
The photo report showed a very enthusiastic group of chess players in all the pageantry that a chess festival should be. There was the “live” chess game with the adaptation of stilt-dancers as the chess pieces… a novel idea that has not been seen in recent times.
Ashley was there to excite the crowd in his trademark style and remarked that he was very impressed with the progress the players had made since his earlier visit in January. Players came from throughout the country to participate and there was a great since of passion exhibited in the photos.
These smaller countries show where the heart and soul of chess lie. The success of this event means that chess continues to succeed in places that would nary receive a mention otherwise. These countries represent the growth of chess and such events will serve to provide opportunities in ways they may not realize. Certainly Ashley is one of the best ambassadors to carry the message.
Maurice Ashley, “Belize: painted faces and chess on stilts,” Chess Base, 30 June 2011.
GM Maurice Ashley in a teachable moment with Belizean youth.
Photos courtesy of Maurice Ashley.