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First Black Grandmaster Discusses the Importance of Diversity, Celebrity Players and Future of Chess


(BPT) - Maurice Ashley is inspiring a new wave of chess players. In 1999, he earned the title of Grandmaster, the first Black person to do so. Since then, he has become a prolific commentator, covering every class of elite chess. On March 22, he’ll kick off the chess season, highlighting the prestigious American Cup tournament at the Saint Louis Chess Club where players are competing for a $300,000 prize. Ashley says his goal this season is to introduce chess to more kids, especially in underserved areas.

Ashley is planning a first-of-its-kind chess tournament for Historically Black College & University (HBCU) students on April 22 in Atlanta. The one-day Swiss-style chess tournament aims to create excitement around chess, funnel more Black students into the chess ecosystem and create a hub between other schools.

Watch the American Cup live on uschesschamps.com.