MAKING HISTORY: Maurice Ashley
A JAMAICAN-born chess player has made history by becoming the first black person inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame, according to reports.
Maurice Ashley, 50, was inducted last week (April 13).
This will be the second time Ashley has made history after becoming the first and only black man to secure the prestigious title of Chess Grandmaster back in 1999.
“For me to hear that I’m being inducted for everything I’ve given to the game, that I’ve done to promote the game, that I’ve done to help young people play, and for the inspiration I’ve been, has just been absolutely incredible,” he told The Associated Press.
Born in Jamaica, the chess professional moved to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 12 and two years later found his love in the strategic game.
"I’ve never been a truly great chess player like the players we have here. I’ve always just been chess’ greatest superfan,” he told the crowd during his acceptance speech.
“I love covering this game, I love talking the moves – I love trash talking the moves as you all well know.”
But he admits that even with all of his accomplishments, he still has faced racism.
The Chess champion recalled how during his time playing as Grandmaster, an older player walked by and asked his opponent why he was letting Ashley beat him, describing him using a racial slur.
“It hurt. I was angry,” Ashley told the publication. “Then he and I played eventually – two tournament games – and I beat him both times.”
The accomplished figure is a three-time national championship coach, author of “Chess for Success,” ESPN commentator, designer of the iPhone app Learn Chess! With Maurice Ashley, puzzle inventor, and motivational speaker.