features article on Ashley & Muhammad! has run a story on the appearance of GM Maurice Ashley and FM Stephen Muhammad. Both are participating in the 2003 U.S. Chess Championship in Seattle, Washington along with 56 other top players from around the country.

The article makes mention that the competition has been held for the past 155-years and only until now has their been Black participants. This occurrence has now become an entry for trivia history books.  In the article, Ashley is quoted as saying,

"I feel like I've already won, just coming in the door." He continued, "If I'm the first, what that means is that there's going to be a second, and a third, and a fourth. That I'm very pleased about."

GM Maurice Ashley at 2003 U.S. Chess Championships. Photo by John Henderson.

GM Ashley in Seattle
(Photo by John Henderson)

Ashley does have a secondů and that second player is the determined and well-prepared FIDE master from Georgia.  FM Muhammad is a man on a mission as he seeks his 3rd and final IM norm and thus, the title of International Master. He has worked very hard and it would be a befitting end to the pursuit of that honor.

Although the article did not mention much about Muhammad, his presence is a testament that GM Ashley is not a fluke of nature or merely the only player of African descent capable of high heights. In fact, at press time,  FM Muhammad brilliantly defeated
IM Michael Mulyar and stands at an undefeated 2-1. These two players will inspire other players from around the world and we have only seen the beginning.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 11 January 2003

FM Stephen Muhammad on the move! Photo by John Henderson.

FM Muhammad on the move
(Photo by John Henderson)

Read the story at now!!