Maurice Ashley formally inducted into U.S. Hall of Fame!
Maurice Ashley has been a fixture in American chess for three decades. Born in 1966 in St. Andrew, Jamaica, Ashley’s story is well known to the chess public. However, he has become a household name in how he has represented chess in these years. What makes Ashley unique is his excellence in several aspects of chess. Most inductees are noted for one particular activity while Ashley has achieved excellence in competition, coaching, commentating, writing books, producing instructional software and lastly promoting tournaments. It is rare to have an individual involved in such a variety of chess activities and then excel.
Maurice Ashley at the World Chess Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of Maurice Ashley.
On April 13th, Ashley was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame on a clear Wednesday afternoon among a distinguished audience of chess luminaries and guests. The guests included his mother, his sister and his daughter. Who could have ever thought that a “late-bloomer” like Ashley would one day graced the hallowed halls of legendary chess figures? Ashley admitted that being the world champion was not one of his lofty goals since he had sights on promoting chess in various platforms. He has done just that. While his story is well-known, he had to field a barrage of interviews about his evolution.
It goes without saying that being such a trailblazer comes with a high profile which Ashley has held with distinction. Being the “first” in so many categories has set the bar for youth who seek to excel in any number of areas. One does not have to be a top-level Grandmaster in order to make an impact. Ashley has proven this will now for eternity be recognized for his contributions.
Video by World Chess Hall of Fame.
Maurice Ashley is the first African-American to be
inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame.
Congrats Mr. Ashley!!!!!!!
Congratulations from the Jamaica Chess fraternity and ALL of Jamaica. We knew what you were capable of achieving and are so proud of you! Continue to excel, inspire and soar. The best is yet to come!
Big ups to Maurice , history is made!!!
Ashley’s notable personality and his venerable qualities make him an exceptional role model for the younger generation. Congratulations on a great achievement!
On Kasparov’s birthday. Can’t get better than that.
My acceptance speech – US Chess Hall of Fame induction
On 13 April 2016 I was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame. I hope that by sharing my acceptance speech I can inspire not just other chess players but youth, children and other people from all walks of life.
First of all, thank you so much. I know it’s got be a special day. I finally got to sit in the front row. Secondly, Rex did not make fun of my Yankees!
Well, I have to tell you that when I got the call from Harold that I was going to be inducted in the US Chess Hall of Fame, I shed a tear.
I have never been a truly great chess player like the players we have here. I have always been chess’ greatest superfan. I see these players before me, these players who play in the US Championship and players who complete for the world title. We all grow up wanting to compete for those titles. However, that was not my destiny, and there are people here who legitimately have a shot at those goals.
I love covering this game. I love talking about the moves. I love trash-talking the moves of any game, as you all well know. But my real destiny has been as a promoter, someone who can talk about this game as something special. It’s been special to me ever since I grew up in Brooklyn Technical high school playing against my friends. In Brooklyn, the brothers hanging out in the park, playing chess. I remember that so clearly, and I can still see their faces. Willie Johnson, Steve Colding, Chris Welcome.
And, in particular, the late Ronald Simpson, one of my dearest friends who died too young. I wish he were here today to share this with me. Certainly I have to thank other people you may not know. Dan Rose, who was an early sponsor of my career. I would also like to thank Amy Lee, a very dear friend and my business partner, who has certainly brought high-stakes chess to fruition. Without her passion, dedication and hard work, it (Millionaire Chess)simply would not have happened.
I would also like to thank my family for being such competitive freaks. My brother Devon, who is in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, is a three-time world champion kickboxer. My sister Alicia who is a five-time boxing champion boxer, and is currently the World super-bantamweight champion, is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest champion in boxing, male or female, in history.
So one day she will be in the Hall of Fame, but Lisa I have this on you just maybe for a couple of years until you get into the Hall of Fame yourself.
I would also like to thank my grandmother who raised us. She has since passed on. And she raised us because of the heroic sacrifice of one very special lady. My mother who left us in Jamaica when we were 2 years old, to come to United States to make a life, to raise some money to take care of us. It was a chance she took, and she didn’t see us. I only understood it when I had my own kid Nia, who is here today. My mom didn’t see us or live with us for ten years. Those of you who are parents know the sacrifice of not being around your children. Ten years away from her children, giving up the intimacy of watching her kids grow up is something I cannot imagine. She suffered in those years, but she had a dream that her kids would be great some day… and we turned out alright. So I want to thank my mother, who is here, for this award. Mummy, please stand up.
So I am grateful for this award. I would like to thank Rex and Jeannie for their vision and continued support. Certainly the Chess Club has its great, great, great advocates. Tony Rich who is just simply awesome. That is the word. Joy Bray, who never wants to be on camera, but is the brains behind it all and a dear friend. And everyone else at the chess club and the Chess Hall of Fame.
Congratulations Maurice! And I look forward to your continuing excellent contributions in life…
Kimani A. Stancil