They are the best of the best in the world of chess -- the grandmasters. Now, for the first time, one them is an African-American. He is Maurice Ashley, and he tells This Morning co-anchor Mark McEwen how he got started in this ancient game.
Ashley fell in love with the game of chess at age 14. He says he began to study chess when a high school buddy beat him at a game. Ashley explains, it was the competition, getting a high score and plotting strategy that got him involved.
Ashley is proud to be a breakthrough chess player. "It's hot. It's fast. It's furious," he says. "People think of chess as a slow game. When you're in chess, it's intense. You have to plan, work out your plays in advance. Otherwise, your going to get killed."
He's now in what he calls the "NBA of the mind," explaining,
"It's like breaking into the NBA. The highest level to play, the toughest guys in the world. It's like trying to challenge Michael Jordan or Shaquille O'Neal for dominance. These guys don't want to give it to you. They're not going to let you in the circle. You have to take it."
Ashley hopes he will be a positive role model for young kids.
"It's special when a kid can see you, look up to you and think, maybe I might want to be like this or maybe not play chess but do something else with the mind, law, medicine, whatever. If one kid can see my story and think, I'll pursue something like this, what I've done is more than gratifying."
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