GM Maurice Ashley was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame back in April and thus a culmination to the decades of service rendered to the worldwide chess community. Known to the world primarily as a commentator, Ashley had dabbled in the organization realm by successfully hosting the HB Global in 2005, but in 2013 he actually formed a company with Canadian businesswoman Amy Lee, called Millionaire Chess.
This ambitious vision was to hold chess events that would set a high bar while also lifting the profile of chess to attract sponsorship. While building a powerful brand with a regal color and recognizable logo, Ashley and Lee held three wonderful events (2014, 2015, 2016) and captured the imagination of many with high stakes chess. However, there was reticence to support the tournaments even after the third tournament dropped its entry fee to $499 for a prize fund that had a high payout. Nevertheless, the tournament experienced the best ratings in terms of overall organization.
Daaim Shabazz and Maurice Ashley before the opening round.
“El General” Ashley looks on during opening of the round.
Maurice Ashley with opening remarks of round four. He informed us that Amy Lee had successful surgery. All photos by Daaim Shabazz (unless otherwise stated).
Before the third tournament, Ashley made a statement on Facebook that it may be the last MC tournament for the foreseeable future. A week after the tournament, The Chess Drum was granted an exclusive interview in which Ashley was asked about his recent activities, but most importantly, the future of Millionaire Chess. Two audio clips follow:
Grand Chess Tour, African Tour, Queen of Katwe, Baku Olympiad
MC3, MC3 in retrospect, Future of MC
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Photo by Billy Johnson.
The 2016 Millionaire Chess Open
Thursday, October 6th through Monday, October 11th 2016
CONTACT: MILLIONAIRE CHESS