GM Maurice Ashley

Chess Grandmaster, Writer, Coach, Motivational Speaker

Maurice Ashley is the first African-American Grandmaster of chess and is also a championship chess coach, ESPN commentator, author, app designer, and speaker. GM Ashley hails from Tower Hill in Olympic Gardens, Jamaica and migrated to the United States when he was 12 years old.

In a presentation style that combines riveting storytelling and motivational speaking, he interweaves his personal experiences playing chess with how he overcame his tough childhood from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica and Brooklyn, New York. GM Ashley has shared his compelling story with young people in impoverished and crime-ridden communities around the globe and has been embraced as a role model from Detroit to Belize to Cape Town.

GM Ashley worked as a Fellow at MIT’s Media Lab developing a program to bring chess and its benefits to a wider audience through technology. He spreads his message of strategy and success to universities, businesses, clubs, and non-profits worldwide. His book Chess for Success asserts the many benefits of chess,  particularly for at-risk youth, for improving creativity, mental agility and problem solving.

For many people, chess is a game and nothing more. Maurice Ashley would disagree. The Grandmaster of chess defines it as a character-building education. “There are so many lessons I get from chess,” he says, and for the champion, the biggest lesson “has always been that losing is learning.”

Since becoming the first African-American International Grandmaster of Chess, Maurice has applied his genius and fame to other ventures. He is currently the co-organizer of the Millionaire Chess Open, the highest stakes Open tournament in chess history.