Jamaica’s Maurice Ashley inducted into Chess Hall of Fame
Jamaica’s Maurice Ashley has made history by become the first black American to be inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame. The 50-year-old Ashley got the call in January this year that he was being inducted for his contributions as a player, coach and commentator.
“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,” Ashley said.
Ashley was born in Jamaica in 1966 but migrated to the USA when he was 12 years old and settled with his family in Brooklyn, New York where he and his siblings were reunited with their mother who had migrated a decade earlier.
At 14, he took a keen interest in chess that continued when he attended New York City College.
Ashley became a grandmaster in 1999 and is still the only black American to reach that status. He now makes a living from the game as a player, coach and author.
The U.S. Chess Federation Hall of Fame Committee considers candidates for the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame and sends its nominations to the U.S. Chess Trust each year. The trustees of the U.S. Chess Trust vote on who should be inducted. The induction itself take place either at the U.S. Chess Federation Awards Luncheon during the U.S. Open or at the World Chess Hall of Fame, which is now located in Saint Louis, Missouri. The induction is almost always performed by either the Chairman of the U.S. Chess Trust or the Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee.