Maurice Ashley is an American chess player and well known for being the first black grandmaster. He has expressed his own views, saying: “African continent GMs do exist; but, according to the system of racial classification, I am the first Black GM in history… it matters, and doesn’t matter, all at the same time.” Ashley recently released a ChessBase DVD called The Secret to Chess (see below for a preview). In the DVD, he details so-called ‘drawback chess’ – a concept he formulated when he was working towards his grandmaster title. He came up with the idea when he was studying the Japanese martial art Aikido.
Ashley is a lively and engaging presenter, very comfortable in front of a camera. He recently did an entertaining interview with the innovative interview website Big Think. I highly recommend you check out the free interview, which provides many insights into how the great grandmaster thinks.
Internet Chess Club (ICC) fans will also want to check outAshley’s recent interview with John Watson onChess Talk. For those who do not have ICC membership, they can find a free preview here. As always, the man is well spoken and captures one’s imagination.
Maurice Ashley is a man worth listening to. Perhaps not the strongest presenter out there, but one of the most accessible. He is highly charismatic and charming in front of the camera. Even if you cannot afford his DVD, I suggest listening to his interviews and looking out for his writings. Apart from his video and audio work, Ashley is also a strong advocate for teaching chess to young people. He has written a book calledChess for Success: Using an Old Game to Build New Strengths in Children and Teens, published in 2005. There is also an old interview with him on the Chessville website, with some more related links at the bottom. I sincerely hope that Ashley keeps up his good work!