Ashley treats the chessboard like a playing field and
the players like real life athletes.
"Chess is a sport," said Ashley when interviewed by
Contemporary Black Biography. "It's competitive, it's
work, it's pressure, it's tension, it's pain, it's guts
and glory, and disappointment and defeat. All the
classic sports metaphors are in chess, so it was very
easy for me to transfer many of the ideas that I found
in the sports world to the chessboard."
Often called the
of Chess, Ashley names Woods, Arthur Ashe and Jackie
Robinson as his inspirations and role models.
In speaking about the influence of Woods in his quest to
become a Grandmaster, Ashley recounts:
“I had been dreaming about being a grandmaster for over
a decade, but life had seemed to be constantly pulling
me in different directions. I was a national
championship coach, a commentator, and a designer of my
own CD-ROM. I was married to a beautiful wife and I had
a little girl that was Daddy's pride and joy.”
“Still I was depressed because the dream that I felt
should surely have been mine had remained elusive as
ever. There was not a day that went by, I didn't think
about the fact that I was not a Grandmaster. I was
getting older and I thought my chance might never come.
Then Tiger Woods arrived onto the scene.”
“Tiger's passion for excellence was clear. He had won
many amateur tournaments, but it was his historic win in
April of 1997, at the Masters, by an unheard of 12
strokes that captivated my imagination…and sent me
deeper into my depression.”
“Here was a man dominating at the highest level of a
sport that had once kept out his kind. He had literally
smashed all the barriers with his greatness, making it
look easy in the process. It took four days for him to
change the world of golf. He showed that a person of
color could excel in anything.”
Sadly this story is one shared by many of the English
Speaking Caribbean’s top players who obviously have the
talent but see their dream drifting elusively further
away as each year goes by. This is why, in Black
History Month, Ashley’s visit to Barbados is such a
treat for the local chess community and the public.
Whether you play chess or not, have a passing curiosity
about the game either as a parent of a child who has
just learnt the game or someone wishes to learn the
game, the Barbados Chess Federation (BCF) invites one
and all to a free public lecture by Ashley on Tuesday
February 19th at the L.V. Harcourt Lewis
Training Centre in Belmont Road at 7:00 p.m.
The journey from promise to achievement of the
Grandmaster title is a story that will resonate with not
only the likes of our own Dr. Philip Corbin, Kevin
Denny, Delisle Warner and Terry Farley but our next
generation of juniors like The Lodge School’s Martyn Del
Castilho, Queens College’s Justin Blackman, UWI’s Shamel
Howell, Alex Jackman and Asabi Layne of Lester Vaughn,
and Corrine Howard of Barbados Community College.
Wednesday February 20th, Ashley will give a
clock simultaneous exhibition against thirty students
drawn from nine secondary schools and UWI at The Lodge
School. This simul launches 2008 United Insurance
Inter-school Team Tournament and starts at 1:00 p.m. The
BCF would like to remind teachers/coaches that all
participants must be at the The Lodge by 12:45 p.m.
Lecture by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, Tuesday
February 19th, 7:00 p.m. at L.V. Harcourt
Lewis Training Centre, Barbados Public Workers
Credit Union, Belmont Road.
Schools Simultaneous Chess Exhibition by Grandmaster
Maurice Ashley, Wednesday February 20th,
1:00 p.m. at the Lodge School
Pot Luck Fridays Blitz Tournament at the Bridgetown
Chess Centre, Bridge House, Cavans Lane, 7:00 p.m.
United Insurance Inter-School starts on Saturday
March 1st at 9:00 a.m. at St.