Next Tournament

Would you like to meet GM Maurice Ashley?

The McDuffie's are planning on driving down to Baltimore this upcoming weekend and offered the following:
"Would anyone like to .... participate in a chess exhibition with GM Maurice Ashley? [We] would like to drive down on Friday, and return on Sunday. Maybe we could convince Maurice to come to Buffalo."
If interested email the WNY "chess ambassador"- Mr. Michael McDuffie at


  1. Hopefully we will hear how it went.

  2. Here is the newspaper report:

    Grand Master Maurice Ashley visits Huber's Knights of Valor Chess Ministry by Ellen Andrews
    Baltimore Times

    Maurice Ashley sat quietly, hands folded at rest, but his very presence at this Northeast Baltimore church's chess tournament speaks volumes about his commitment to the game and its community. Maurice Ashley, first African American Grand Master of Chess, kept his promise to come to Baltimore to play Huber's Knights of Valor (KOV) chess ministry in a series of simultaneous chess games - blindfolded. Before the games Ashley spoke to the audience of enthusiastic KOV members, ages 6 to 21, the KOV chess moms, church staff and others-all supporters and lovers of the game of chess. He regaled them with stories about actor Will Smith and a trick played on jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and others he's met through the game of chess.

    Kenneth Tabron or rather, Sir Kenneth Tabron, founder and leader of the KOV, invited Grandmaster Ashley to come to Baltimore upon meeting Ashley during KOV's trip to New York City. Ashley and Tabron's mutual love of the game and concern for inner-city youth gave them much in common.

    Also on hand for the event was Michael McDuffie, Chess Ambassador of Buffalo,NY and Baltimore City Public School's Steve Alpern who's office oversees chess clubs in sixty schools citywide. McDuffie spoke of Buffalo's 50% dropout rate and the $49.7 million funded for before and after-school programs serving under-performing students and to promote chess as a tool “to teach life skills; help kids think of a plan B and a plan C. "Chess teaches math and critical thinking skills,” said McDuffie, who is brother to David McDuffie, who lives in Baltimore and is known in the chess world as the Pawn Master.

    The Pawn Master took the office of moving Grand Master Ashley's pieces called out during the course of the blindfold match, which was filled with laughter and what might be called chess “trash” talking. Knights of Valor members, Paris Alexander, Dishaye Davis and Michael Greene had the honor of being soundly “whupped” by Maurice Ashley and now have a story to tell for years to come.

    Ashley signed autographs, and spent time with the children teaching in his gentle but direct way the game of chess, prompting them to think deeply about their moves. “One thing they need is board awareness,” said Ashley. “They tend to get tunnel vision and forget about where other game pieces are and how to best use them. This is something they need to do everyday, play the game.

    When asked what motivated him to reach out to kids, Ashley thought about the question for a moment and then answered: “I didn't grow up with my parents around, so I missed that kind of close relationship. I realize that now because of my own relationship with my son. So when I meet these young people I remember that chess and the people who mentored me filled that gap, supplied that connection for me. When I meet kids inchess groups like these I know what this connection [with caring adults and peers] can do for a child. It's a chance to connect.”

    Kenneth Tabron 08/26/07 6:48 PM