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*Maurice Ashley was born on this date in 1966. He is a Black chess player, educator, and Grand Master.
From St. Andrew, Jamaica, he moved to Brooklyn, NY, with his family at age 12. His brother was the source of his learning of the game of Chess. Ashley also got a great amount of inspiration from the writings of former World Champion Paul Morphy. While attending Brooklyn Tech High School, he gained proficiency in local tournaments. Ashley also sharpened his Chess competition with the Black Bear Chess Club.
In 1986, he earned the rank of National Master, surpassing the 2400 barrier with 2606. Soon after, Ashley was coach of the Raging Rooks (J.H.S. 43) of Harlem, winners of the National Junior High School Championships (1991), and the Dark Knights (also from Harlem), two-time National Champions (1994 and 1995) in the Junior Varsity Division. He was the head of the Dark Knights program as they continued to win six National Championship titles.
In 1993, Ashley earned the status of International Master, and in 1999 he became the first player of Black African heritage to attain the rank of Grand Master. That same year, Ashley opened the Harlem Chess Center. Recently he was named 2003 Grandmaster of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation. Maurice Ashley makes appearances all over the country, speaking to young people and adults about chess and its benefits.
Ashley was featured in 2005 at the richest-ever Global Chess Challenge in Minneapolis, Minnesota.