Transcript of interview by Africa Chess News Whatsapp group with Grandmaster Maurice Ashley

Below is the full transcript of the interview by Africa Chess News Whatsapp group with Grandmaster Maurice Ashley. The interview was held on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 from 1800 hrs to 1900 hrs. (Central African Time)

[25/10, 18:00] Sydney Mukumbo Africa Chess: Friend’s the long awaited GM is here with us let’s welcome GM Maurice the first black GM we happy to have him finally here with us

Grandmaster Maurice Ashley


[25/10, 18:00] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Hello everyone!!

[25/10, 18:00] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Glad to be here!

[25/10, 18:00] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Welcome to Africa GM Ashley!!

[25/10, 18:01] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: Hello GM, nice to have you here!

[25/10, 18:01] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Thanks to all!

[25/10, 18:01] Brian Kidula Chess Kenya: Hi…Welcome home Maurice…

[25/10, 18:01] Steve Ouma: Hello GM. Greetings from Kenya

[25/10, 18:01] Khuthadzo Ngoma Chess: It’s great to have you here GM Ashley

[25/10, 18:01] Bruce Mubayiwa: Welcome GM Ashley. What a great honour to have you!

[25/10, 18:01] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Any questions? I will try to answer as I can.

[25/10, 18:01] Chessmaster Zim Chess: Greetings GM

[25/10, 18:01] Harold Wanyama: Hello Maurice..Harold here

[25/10, 18:01] Harold Wanyama: This us where we hide

[25/10, 18:01] Abel Africa Chess: Hello G. M

[25/10, 18:02] ‪+267 71 637 883‬: Welcome to rich soil GM

[25/10, 18:02] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I feel the love!!

[25/10, 18:02] Brian Kidula Chess Kenya: Have. you had a moment to follow the GM Norm tournament in Zambia?

[25/10, 18:02] Portipher chess: Welcome GM  .

Greetings from Zambia

[25/10, 18:03] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I totally enjoyed my two visits to Africa over the last two years. So inspiring!

[25/10, 18:03] Sydney Mukumbo Africa Chess: We have limited time with the GM let’s make sure we are brief with our questions and gibe each other chance

[25/10, 18:03] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Unfortunately no. Have been a bit busy.
[25/10, 18:04] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I heard Adly won?

[25/10, 18:04] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Hope there are a lot of these events. I saw a lot of talent when I was there.

[25/10, 18:05] Masaya Africa Chess: Hi GM Maurice. What is the most necessary ingredient to chess success?

[25/10, 18:05] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: GM what is the most ideal conditions (in terms of resources) for one to become a complete player say reach 2500 rating.

[25/10, 18:05] Jossy Africa Chess: Welcome GM I have a question in terms of positional understanding what or how should we work on that to improve

[25/10, 18:06] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Noticed you don’t mince words during commentary of games…are you a natural talker asides from knowing intense depth of the game of chess or you learnt it…if by the latter won’t mind you sharing some of your resources!?
[25/10, 18:06] Khuthadzo Ngoma Chess: Question to you GM,
What are the key bad behaviors do you think keep chess players stuck at one level
[25/10, 18:06] Brian Kidula Chess Kenya: He is playing his last game now and he is the winner anyway!
[25/10, 18:07] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I think the ability to learn from losses is critical. Reviewing ones games and really finding the root causes of our mistakes is the hardest thing because we make excuses all the time. Do you really know your strengths and weaknesses? Really??? I think most people don’t. That I think is where the greatest discoveries lie.

[25/10, 18:07] William Willi-G Africa Chess: Greetings from Namibia GM…

[25/10, 18:08] Harold Wanyama: ??????

[25/10, 18:08] Steve Ouma ??

[25/10, 18:08] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I think the best way to grow is to be around better players. By far the best way. You have to compete against them but also analyze with them constantly. This changes your brain.

[25/10, 18:11] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: The worst behavior to me is people play the same openings for years, especially offbeat ones. Kasparov once said “You know you’re becoming a better player when you change your openings.” I saw that in myself as well. You have to have courage to change.  Also, you must not get stuck playing the same people. Routine is death. Look to grow by challenging yourself consistently. Most people will make excuses.

[25/10, 18:11] Khuthadzo Ngoma Chess: ??

[25/10, 18:11] Portipher chess: ??

[25/10, 18:12] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I am a natural speaker but I love to read books away from chess. I was an Creative Writing major in college. Not a wasted degree after all!

[25/10, 18:12] Steve Ouma: ??

[25/10, 18:12] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: I like this line of thought!!!!!!!!!!

[25/10, 18:13] Wanda Wards Mlinjana Chess: Hi GM,so about the resources.. Which books or maybe softwares would you recommend for some 1800+ to use..maybe just two

[25/10, 18:14] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Lots of books on positional chess but the best thing to do is review the games of the maestros. Botvinnik. Petrosian. Karpov. Kramnik. Eat these games for breakfast! Try to guess each move. That is a magical exercise!

[25/10, 18:15] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: GM does blitz(excess) affect in anywere when one then plays classical matches..Does it also have a bearing in instict moves rather than well thought ones..

[25/10, 18:15] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: My essential reading: Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by Watson. Anything by Jacob Aagard. Jeremy Silman is also a great writer.

[25/10, 18:16] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Of course, Dvoretsky is essential for really strong players (2100 and above).

[25/10, 18:16] Wanda Wards Mlinjana Chess: ????

[25/10, 18:16] Brian Kidula Chess Kenya: What is the medicine to this chronic statement ‘I was winning’ anytime one loses a game?

[25/10, 18:17] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I believe in blitz as good training. But I think most people don’t get the most out of it. Try thematic opening positions with a partner. Play both sides of a topical position over and over for a week before moving on to the next one. Those positions will become second nature.

[25/10, 18:17] Khuthadzo Ngoma Chess: Another one. GM

What are the main questions to ask yourself before making a move

[25/10, 18:18] Wanda Wards Mlinjana Chess: Nice,and then about those complicated tactics on CT-art,how do we get to install them in our minds?or maybe they not necessary? Whats the best way to become good tactically

[25/10, 18:19] Alain PAtience NIYIBIZI: Welcome

@⁨Grandmaster Maurice Ashley⁩

[25/10, 18:20] Portipher chess: GM what books are necessary for a beginner ?

Say a 1400?

[25/10, 18:20] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: We were all “winning.” It’s a stupid statement. Just stupid! It doesn’t make you feel better so why bother? Chess is hard. The hardest thing to do is win a won game. It’s easy to lose. Very very hard to win. Even easy wins are often not easy. So people should just get over themselves and search out the root causes of why they lost instead of whining about how they were once winning. Nobody cares! Except maybe your Mom. ?

[25/10, 18:21] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: ????

[25/10, 18:21] Steve Ouma: ?????

[25/10, 18:21] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I want to know what the drawbacks are to my opponents last move. I did a DVD with Chessbase called the Secret to Chess all on this topic. That is my main question to myself: how did my opponent compromise his/her position with their last move?

[25/10, 18:22] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: ?????and the faces are just priceless when one loses

[25/10, 18:23] Khuthadzo Ngoma Chess: I like  this

[25/10, 18:24] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: The most important thing is to avoid opening books. Anything fun on the middlegame and endgame. Make sure it looks fun. Otherwise you might get bored and not study it. Game collections are fabulous too. Alekhine and Tal were my favorites. Gangster chess! But anything you enjoy is what you should look at. If it’s enjoyable, you will keep working.

[25/10, 18:24] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: GM… How many hours should one invest in a day on training,
[25/10, 18:25] Clive Campbell Africa Chess: ??????

[25/10, 18:25] Makhosi Nyirenda (Khisho): Ha Ha ! You call it gangster chess….lovely??

[25/10, 18:26] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Always start with the simplest tactics. Complicated ones come later. Get the simple ones to be totally automatic. Go over 1000 mate in 1s and other simple tactics. Then take a small step forward and do a 1000 of those. Small tactics are surer bets and more real than long complex ones.

[25/10, 18:27] Portipher chess: Thank you???

[25/10, 18:27] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: You train for as long as it’s fun. For me, I was motivated to do 6-8 hours a day when I tried to make the GM title. But don’t forget physical and mental training as well. I did Aikido and that pushed me over the top. Meditation is powerful. Find your method and your muse. Don’t just study chess all day!

[25/10, 18:28] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: thank you!

[25/10, 18:29] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: By the way, focus on the endgame! Many players hate this. I did too! I want to write a fun book on the endgame. I might do this one day. It’s such an essential part of chess growth!

[25/10, 18:30] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Pandolfini like writeups??

[25/10, 18:31] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Everyone should of course be using a database to save your games and reviewing the top games. Chessbase is ideal but there are other online resources.

[25/10, 18:31] Steve Ouma: How is the best way way to study endgame, single or in a group?

[25/10, 18:31] Duncan Dan Africa Chess: Ted talks Retrogressive analysis in chess? Tell us more?

[25/10, 18:33] Masaya Africa Chess: What’s the best way to recover from a loss in a tournament so that it doesn’t affect your following round(s)?

[25/10, 18:33] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Chess is best studied in a group…period! Even if it’s just a group of 2. As long as everyone is serious and the method of communicating and sharing info is clear. Group learning is very powerful. But it’s hard because people are motivated at different levels.

[25/10, 18:33] Oluwafemi Balogun Pegystuffings AfricaChess: What are the keypoints to finding a good plan…it doesn’t have to be the best plan

[25/10, 18:34] Steve Ouma: ??

[25/10, 18:35] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Best book on Retrograde Analysis is The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes by Raymond Smullyan. One of my favorite books ever! A must read!

[25/10, 18:35] Dbestmiles Africa Chess: Loool

[25/10, 18:35] Duncan Dan Africa Chess: Thank you

[25/10, 18:35] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: GM we seem to be miles away as Africans and playing second fiddle to Western countries in terms of producing GMs.. What advise do you reckon we should take..?

[25/10, 18:38] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Remember I said you have to build mental training into your preparation? A loss is nothing! If Magnus can lose, so can you! You have to discover for yourself why you play chess. Is it to win? Is it to build up your ego? Is it for fun? The loss affects us based on why we play and what we feel about ourselves after losses. Our false expectations of perfection. Or even people who desperately need the money from a tournament. If you don’t know these truths, you will not have the necessary ingredients to get over your losses.

[25/10, 18:39] ‪+264 81 200 1194‬: ??????

[25/10, 18:39] Sydney Mukumbo Africa Chess: ????????

[25/10, 18:40] Steve Ouma: ??????

[25/10, 18:41] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Plans in chess are moment to moment things. They are entirely based on what is happening on the board right now. You could come up with a plan that changes on the next move and then the next and so on. The best move is the one that deals with the drawbacks of the opponent’s last move. You plan around the negatives of your opponent’s intentions. Otherwise, the features of the board will point you in the right direction, but, like a doctor, you have to identify the right symptoms.

That takes time and effort to learn.

[25/10, 18:44] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I do not know the answer to this. I believe it’s all about access to the minds of top players and coaches. In the West, we are surrounded by GMs. They are everywhere! You can’t wake up and become a GM. You need lots of them to show you the way. I think solving this access bottleneck is the key. That’s why we did the Chess Masters for Africa program. Unfortunately the funding stopped. This is the way, I think.

[25/10, 18:45] Oluwafemi Balogun Pegystuffings AfricaChess: Thanks, really helpful

[25/10, 18:46] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Any ideas what could have stopped the funding? So we can start afresh and avoid same problem

[25/10, 18:46] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I personally would love to hang out in Africa for a few months at a time. But I have to make a living. GMs go where they can make a livelihood. Very simple.

[25/10, 18:47] Oluwafemi Balogun Pegystuffings AfricaChess: Is there any hope of reviving Millionaire chess again?

[25/10, 18:47] ‪+264 81 200 1194‬: Advise for  a alone chess player who  want to improve ? Who doesn’t have  a group yet .

[25/10, 18:48] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Nothing we did stopped the funding. It was a big success. But the funders think chess is too small a problem. They want to fund big projects like hunger, schooling, disease, etc. Chess just didn’t seem like enough of a large crisis. Chess players will have to figure this out themselves.

[25/10, 18:48] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Would appreciate if we can have your email for future contact! Thanks

[25/10, 18:49] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Hmmm…. thanks

[25/10, 18:50] Kim Bhari Chess: Good evening Maurice Ashley – This is Kim Bhari from Nairobi.  I think the biggest thing hampering African chess are 1.  Officials not so keen on development but more on staying in office 2. We keep waiting for others to do things for us.

[25/10, 18:50] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Millionaire Chess is still alive! But we need a sponsor to make it work. Same issue: chess is not big enough in the public eye. So we will wait until the right sponsor comes along or until we strike upon the right formula. But it’s definitely not dead!

[25/10, 18:51] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: You can always contact me thru my website.

[25/10, 18:51] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Thanks

[25/10, 18:51] Kim Bhari Chess: It is sad that GMAT came to an end.  I think it was a great idea but we should try to get some African millionaires involved in this project.  We have many of them!

[25/10, 18:52] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I think I mentioned various things: review games of the best players! Try to guess each move! Endgames, endgames, endgames! Get a trainer!!!

[25/10, 18:52] Kim Bhari Chess: On Millionaire Chess – I do not understand what chess players want – that was a fantastic idea and was really hoping for it to grow and replicate over the world
[25/10, 18:52] Masaya Africa Chess: Do you see 1 of the American Trinity(Fabi, Naka or Wesley) being a world champion?
[25/10, 18:52] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Then make it happen! I might make a home in Africa if something big came about!!
[25/10, 18:53] Duncan Dan Africa Chess: That’d be nice!
[25/10, 18:53] ‪+264 81 200 1194‬: Thanks mr Maurice we learned alot from you’re visit to Namibia looking forward on seeing you again ???? gangster chess

[25/10, 18:53] Kim Bhari Chess: Most welcome to make a base in Kenya!!  Trying to find the people is the key

[25/10, 18:55] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: They have a chance but I don’t think any of them are there yet. They need some other push (non-chess), I think. Mentally they don’t seem ready to crush Magnus. That is what you need, the mindset to crush him. No fear. Respect, but not fear. I don’t see them having this just yet.

[25/10, 18:55] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: I loved Namibia! Can’t wait to visit again!

[25/10, 18:55] Sydney Mukumbo Africa Chess: Friends time is never enough will be signing Tue GM out in a few minutes may be we say bye to him and give him chance to say his last words to Africa and the biggest chess whtsup group

[25/10, 18:56] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Kenya was a lot of fun. Still remember Diani beach!!!

[25/10, 18:56] Oluwafemi Balogun Pegystuffings AfricaChess: Why not use poverty alleviation through africa chess as a selling point to the sponsors of Millionaire chess

[25/10, 18:56] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: #RespectButNotFear

[25/10, 18:56] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Unlikely selling point. Very unlikely.

[25/10, 18:56] Masaya Africa Chess: Thanks For the Knowledge GM Maurice Ashley ?????

[25/10, 18:57] Oluwafemi Balogun Pegystuffings AfricaChess: People from the slum all over africa actually fight hard to qualify for a chance to live the dream in america

[25/10, 18:57] Olawale Oyeleye Nigeria Chess: Thanks for the knowledge a shared sir! God bless you

[25/10, 18:57] Duncan Dan Africa Chess: Retrograde cool!?

[25/10, 18:57] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: My pleasure. I really wish to see some GMs coming out of Africa. I will do what I can. Thanks for spending time with me today.

[25/10, 18:57] Oluwafemi Balogun Pegystuffings AfricaChess: Every GM preaches thinking outside the box

[25/10, 18:57] Sydney Mukumbo Africa Chess: It was a great honor to have u GM looking forward to bringing u back for more deep insight

[25/10, 18:58] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: Thank you for hosting me!

[25/10, 18:58] Oluwafemi Balogun Pegystuffings AfricaChess: Thanks for showing up maurice

[25/10, 18:58] Kabaso Aggrey Africa Chess: Thanks GM

[25/10, 18:58] Kim Bhari Chess: Thanks Maurice Ashley for your time! Much appreciated.

[25/10, 18:58] Grandmaster Maurice Ashley: My pleasure to all. Take care and keep studying. Good things will come!!! Bye everyone!!
[25/10, 18:59] Bruce Mubayiwa: Thank you very much Maurice.?

[25/10, 18:59] Portipher chess: Thanks GM  for the insight.??

[25/10, 18:59] Duncan Dan Africa Chess: Respect!!

[25/10, 18:59] Lloyd Moyo Africa Chess: Thanx GM!!

Bruce Mubayiwa

I am the founder and editor of Africa Chess Net. I have been playing chess for over 25 years and love writing about the game. Our goal is simple, to get more people playing chess in Africa! The game of chess is not only absorbing but a great deal of fun.

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