Our Ultimate Chess Player GM Maurice Ashley

Grand Master Maurice Ashley, an incredible motivational speaker, came to Belize by the invitation of BNYCF to talk about chess benefits, share his life story and explain why chess is a great educational and motivational tool that should be embraced by parents and teachers. He liked that our program is determined to turn the whole generation of children into chess players, not for the sake of growing Grandmasters, but for the sake of bringing to children all the benefits that chess entails. "Did the game save my life? These words may be too strong. But chess so informed and influenced everything about my life that I can say, without exaggeration, that I would not be the person I am today had it not been for this ancient game."

It was an amazing experience, believe me! It was incredible to see 325 people in the audience who came that day to the event from all over the country ...

Maurice Ashley talked about the qualities that the Ultimate Chess Players should have. He is a sort of person who doesn't like just to talk, he is always ready to prove his points. When he emphasized that serious chess players must keep themselves in good physical shape, he challenged anybody in the audience for the push-ups, and readily took off his shirt next to the first volunteer- Richard Beane of Belmopan.
the audience was counting the push-ups,,,
When Richard was out of breath, there was another Challenger- Peace Corps Volunteer, who took Richards' place, while Grand Master was keeping fast pace of his push-ups and kept joking with his challengers. Who would ever guess that Grand Master of Chess would be able to do 90 push-ups?
Then it was time to show our own talents- blindfold game - 12 year old Jamir Sanches played blidnfold against an adult chess player Rene Mai, who was allowed to see the board, and

the audience had a chance to follow the progression of the game on the screen with the commentary from Grand Master.
Maurice Ashley learned about the most active supporters and volunteers and he presented them with the awards. Mayor or Belmopan, Simeon Lopez:
Humberto Juarez, Corozal district
Carlos Lotiff and Margaret Lotiff, West Cayo
Rosanna Ake, Corozal
David Martinez, Belize District
Jose Teul, Toledo, as well as Policarpo Cus, Adinaldo Requena and Rodolfo Shal
Brian Chun, Stann Creek, who also presented GM with the token of our appreciation on behalf of Stann Creek Chess Association
We apologize for not having pictures of all the volunteers who received award on that day. In addition the awards were presented to: David Coombs, BNYCF Cayo coordinator, Peace Corps volunteers( Melissa Lemmons, Ashley Vasquez and Coy Thompson), Mexican Ambassador, Women's Group, Peace Corps, Minster of Health, Love Fm, Oapn Paki, Learning TV, OX Production, Builders, Banana Bank lodge.

And finally, one of our young and very promising 8 years old chess players, Jeremy Chiang, presented the Grandmaster with the BNYCF shirt, that says on the back "Every Chess Master was once a beginner..."
As soon as the symposium was over Maurice Ashley was scheduled to play a simul against 20 best players of Belize. It was great to see that even the tropical downpour didn't stop him from playing the game, even though Grandmaster had to move in the paddles of water and the wind was blowing rain on the chess boards.
It was a great experience for serious chess players, terrific entertainment for those who are new to the game and an incredible inspiration for the children.

The very next day after the symposium, Grand Master worked with 30 children and 10 coaches at the Sibun Jungle Lodge. His words made a huge impact on all of us: "Losing is learning, it's just of the process."

"Perfecting the game requires patience, determination, and the willingness to treat failure and loss as motivation to learn."
"Chess is the martial art of the mind"
Grand Master Maurice Ashley talks to the kids before the departure and promises to come back to Belize. When? January 16, 2010, Grand Master Maurice Ashley will be back, this time working exclusively with coaches on various teaching techniques that will help us to develop our chess players into the future ULTIMATE CHESS PLAYERS- strong, smart and confident!
He came to Belize as an international celebrity, and left Belize as our Ultimate Chess Player- a true role model for children and adults.

to read more about GM Maurice Ashley, see below:

2nd Annual Belize Educators Chess Symposium for

teachers, principals, parents and community volunteers

took place on Oct 10th, 2009 in

George Price Centre, Belmopan

This was our Unique Chance to meet International Grandmaster

Maurice Ashley

Tiger Woods of Chess. He made history when he became the first African-American to attain the coveted title ofInternational Grandmaster of Chess in 1999.Maurice Ashley’s media coverage on becoming 1st African-American International Grandmaster includes Time magazine, USA Today, New York Times, Sports Illustrated, London Times, Ebony, Investor's Business Daily, New York Daily News, Jet, New York Newsday, New York Post, Emerge, and a host of other papers around the world served by the Associated Press and Reuters.

He served as commentator for the match between the World Champion Kasparov and IBM computer Deep Blue in 1997, and other world championship matches.

GM Ashley was coach of the Raging Rooks of Harlem, New York, winners of the National Junior High School Championships (1991) ; and also coach of the Dark Knights (also from Harlem), two time National Champions (1994 and 1995) in the Junior Varsity Division and was the head of the Dark Knights program as they continued to win six National Championship titles.

GM Ashley has received multiple community service awards from city governments, universities, and non-profit groups for his work. His book, Chess for Success,crystallizes his vision of using chess to help at-risk youth. Outspoken about the importance of directing youth toward scholastic activities, he is a powerful role model for chess as well as excellence in general. The Maurice Ashley foundation is supporting intellectual excellence and aims to help inner city youth overcome challenging circumstances to reach their potential through chess.

Why chess? “One of the wonderful benefits of chess is that chess is a thinking game. You cannot play the game without being completely intellectually involved. You have to focus. You have to problem solve in unique ways. It’s a great format for developing critical thinking skills in children in particular. I call it a discipline because it is a fun game but at the same time, it forces you to train your mind to work incredibly well under difficult and challenging conditions.”

He is known as an incredible inspirational speaker: “ I look at life in a very grand way. I am always shooting for the moon. I believe in the possibility and the potentiality of people. It’s very important to me to inspire others to be their best, to be great, especially young people. I remember going to school barefoot, or when I had “talking shoes”, as we called them. The soles were falling off the bottom. They looked like they had mouths, like they talked. Growing up under those conditions, I could not really have imagined I’d end up where I am today. So I always look to inspire others . We should always look to be as bold in our vision as possible”.

To read more about GM Maurice Ashley visit his website: www.mauriceashleychampions.com

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