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Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley Turns Chess Moves into Life Lessons in His Thoughtful Book, Move By Move

Maurice chess pic.jpeg

Maurice Ashley began playing chess matches as a young immigrant in Brooklyn parks. He became the first Black chess Grandmaster at the age of 33 and was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 2016.  In between those early days of playing chess and receiving such esteemed honors, Ashley was learning about the complexities of the game, as well as the complexities of life, and putting them together. He discovered much could be garnered from the game that could be applied to living.

Ashley has turned that knowledge into a book called, Move By Move: Life Lessons On and Off the Chessboard. It is described as, “A little book of life advice drawing on the timeless wisdom of chess . . .” Reaching out and sharing his love of chess and the insight it imparts isn’t new for Ashley. He has been doing so as an educator, innovator, national championship coach, ESPN commentator, NBC National Chess Championships commentator,  and motivational speaker for a number of years. 


In Move By Move, Ashley uses personal examples and anecdotes, as well as those from other notable chess players, to guide readers through the key lessons chess has bestowed upon him. A few of these are: seeing from the other person’s viewpoint, balancing sacrifices and risks, embracing chaos, and learning from imperfections. Arranged in short chapters with practical takeaways, Move By Move, encompasses subjects ranging from self-knowledge to strategic thinking to the importance of failure. It isn’t a book about chess, but a book about how chess, a game of strategy, can help us reach our personal and professional goals. For that reason, Move By Move, isn’t just for chess players but for anyone interested in motivational and actionable life advice.

From October 24 to 26, 2024, America’s Chess Capital, Saint Louis, Missouri, will be holding The Saint Louis Chess Conference. Ashley will be one of the keynote speakers, along with  World Champion Grandmaster Garry Kasparov and World Chess Hall of Fame Inductee Grandmaster Judit Polgar. For those who are able to attend the event and hear Grandmaster Maurice Ashley speak in person, it will be an uplifting experience, one filled with pearls of wisdom gathered at the chess board and applied to the game of life.

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