Maurice Ashley first made his mark in the world of chess after he was recognized as a Grandmaster in 1999, making him the first African-American to earn the title. Here are a few other mind blowing facts about Grandmaster Ashley. 1. Grandmaster Ashley was born on March 6, 1966 in St. Andrew, Jamaica. He came to the United States when he was 12 with his brother. He was raised in the tough streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn. 2. Ashley discovered his love of chess at the age of 14 after a high school friend challenged and beat him in a contest. 3. He has traveled the world as an ardent spokesperson of the character-building effects of chess. 4. As the only Black American Chess Grandmaster recognized by the World Chess Federation, also known as FIDE, Ashley is determined to bring the game to youth of color, especially African-American boys and girls. 5. Ashley is known for his work commentating on the biggest chess events in the world, including the World Chess Championships, the US Chess Championships, the Grand Chess Tour, and the legendary Man vs. Machine matches between Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue. He is the co-organizer of the Millionaire Chess Open, the highest stakes Open chess tournament in history. 6. He currently has an app, “Learn Chess! With Maurice Ashley,” that has been sold in over 30 countries. 7. In September 1999, Ashley founded the Harlem Chess Center, which has attracted such celebrities as Larry Johnson and Wynton Marsalis. 8. In 2015, Maurice announced a partnership with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and Ascension, Your Move Chess. 9. Maurice was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame on April 13, 2016.