Ashley's autobiographical work touts chess' potential to interest kids in education and divert them from deleterious influences. Ranking near the pinnacle of professional chess, Ashley skims his career, emphasizing his teenage years in 1980s Brooklyn when he was lured into the 64-square universe of chess, saving him from a dangerous street life in Brooklyn. Anecdotes about the crazy pranks he and his friends pulled mark the road not taken. On his ascent to becoming an international grandmaster in 1999, the first black person to achieve the rank, Ashley evangelized chess in schools and coached a Harlem-based team, the Raging Rooks. It won a national championship in 1991, and the recollections of team alumni dispel common teen notions of chess as hard, slow, and uncool. While not overselling chess as a panacea for learning difficulties, Ashley's enthusiasm and inherent role-model status give parents and educators valuable inspiration supported by practical information about organizing a school chess program. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“Chess improves strategic thinking, attention span, patience, camaraderie, and sportsmanship. Maurice Ashley is not only an International Grandmaster as a chess player but also as a teacher and activist.” —Wynton Marsalis
“Maurice Ashley has been like a brother to me since I was twelve years old. I know the man, I know the competitor, I know the artist, and I know the teacher. There is no better source for the abundance of educational potential bubbling from the game of chess. Read this book!” —Josh Waitzkin, International Chess Master and subject of the book and film Searching for Bobby Fischer.
“It’s a great message of hope, that chess can be one piece of the puzzle to help our young people shine. It’s what we all want for our kids.” —Will Smith