Maurice Ashley at TED

by ChessBase
3/25/2013 – You know him as one of the most dynamic speakers in chess, and a grandmaster and author, and today and next Monday, he is going to be the live commentator of the Candidates games at Playchess. However, recently he appeared at the world-renowned TED speaker platform, and more specifically their TED Ed program, discussing how to solve problems backwards. See his fascinating talk.

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Maurice Ashley at TED

You know him as one of the most dynamic speakers in chess, and a grandmaster and author, and today and next Monday, he is going to be the live commentator of the Candidates games at Playchess. However, recently he appeared at the world-renowned TED, and more specifically their TED Ed program.

TED, as most already know, is a platform where people from around the world can see some of the world-shakers speak on the subjects they are passionate about, as well as their personal history with them. No matter the content, the talks are always inspirational and educational, and we at ChessBase are unabashed fans.

Maurice Ashley speaks at TED

About TED

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading."

TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event. The annual conference began in 1990, in Monterey, California. TED's early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its origins in the Silicon Valley.

The TED main conference is held annually in Long Beach, and its companion TEDActive is held in Palm Springs. Both conferences will move from Long Beach and Palm Springs to Vancouver and Whistler, respectively, in 2014. TED events are also held throughout the U.S. and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED's current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.

Since June 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online, under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license, through As of November 2011, over 1,050 talks are available free online. By January 2009 they had been viewed 50 million times. In June 2011, the viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, and on Tuesday November 13, 2012, TED Talks had been watched one billion times worldwide, reflecting a still growing global audience.

(Source: Wikipedia)

TED has begun a program addressed specifically to the young, to broaden their horizons with mind-provoking presentations to inspire them to aspire to more, and Maurice Ashley was one of the speakers chosen. You might think this would be about chess, and that is certainly how it starts, but the theme is retrograde analysis, and how it is applied not only in all situations in life, but police work, and even life. The talk is short, concise, and well worth watching.

TED Talk: Working backward to solve problems - Maurice Ashley

GM Maurice Ashley is also the author of several DVDs available in the ChessBase shop, the first of which was The Secret to Chess, with his Aikido approach to positions, and has recently released the third DVD in the popular series: What Grandmasters Don’t See. Be sure to check them out and be sure not to miss his live commentary at Playchess.

Recent DVD by Maurice Ashley

Many times, when a top player blunders, it is routinely described by the esoteric term “chess blindness“. In this series What Grandmasters Don‘t See, chess trainer and worldclass commentator Maurice Ashley strips away the myth and for the first time explains why the root of these mistakes is more often based in the psychology of human learning.

In this DVD, the third volume of the three part series, Ashley completes his idea of Protected Squares from Volume 1, showing that squares seemingly guarded by pieces are often the breeding ground of amazing tactical oversights. He also blends the themes from all three volumes to give a thorough picture of the key ways that the viewer can exploit the typical mistakes by players of all levels. In the first half of the DVD, Ashley uses brilliant games and positions to explain each lesson in his dynamic commentary style. The second half of the DVD is filled with examples to test the viewer, with a series of exercises of increasing difficulty. The material is drawn both from classic and from recent games. Video running time: 3 hours 45 min.

Sample video

Some previous ChessBase articles on Maurice Ashley

Ashley in Jamaica – Caribbean Chess Tour of a GM
28.12.2011 – GM Maurice Ashley, who in 1999 became the first African-American grandmaster of chess, was born in Jamaica, where he spent the first twelve years of his life. Returning to his first home – and meeting an uncle for the first time – was the hightlight of a Caribbean tour, and involved promoting the "Magnificent Chess Foundation". Even the new Prime Minister Andrew Holness supports it.
Ashley in Guadeloupe – Caribbean Chess Tour of a GM
28.11.2011 – GM Maurice Ashley, who in 1999 was the first African-American to attain the coveted title of International grandmaster of chess, has become an ambassador of the game. On his Caribbean Chess Tour, after visiting Martinique, he went on the incredible tropical island of Guadeloupe – and found a similar amount of enthusiasm for the game there. Here is his pictorial report on the trip.
Maurice Ashley: What Grandmasters Don't See
21.10.2011 – "Maurice Ashley scores again as favorite teacher with this DVD," writes Steven Dowd. "Ashley teaches with a entertainingly fast pace, is quick to crack a good joke, and simply relates well to the audience. If there really were a ChessBase University, Ashley would be a candidate for teacher of the year, and would be my hands-down choice to win." Review in Chess Cafe.
Belize: painted faces and chess on stilts
30.06.2011 – The Central American nation, south of Mexico, has a population of just 333,000. But in this country, with its spectacular abundance of terrestrial and marine species, chess has become a national passtime. Last May the best players from each district throughout Belize met for what they call a "Chess Olympiad". A special guest at the event, GM Maurice Ashley, sent us this beautiful pictorial report.
Ashley: 'Chess is intellectual karate!'
16.11.2010 – Maurice Ashley is a US grandmaster, commentator and teacher, one of the best in the world. He is also the author of one of our most popular Fritz Trainers ("Aikido chess"). In a remarkable 24-minute "Big Think" interview – of the very highest technical quality, we may add – Maurice gives us insights into his career and his chess thinking. Very revealing, very entertaining – must watch.
Maurice Ashley: The Secret to Chess
02.09.2010 – This is one you really do not want to miss. Star international trainer and commentator Maurice Ashley reveals a secret he discovered on his way to becoming a chess grandmaster. It is a simple idea that anyone can understand – something that you can use immediately to improve your game. Maurice's entertaining style and great clarity make this a first class DVD. Here's a sample lesson.
Ashley on CNN: 'I just knew I would be a great chess player'
10.07.2008 – Maurice Ashley is the first black chess grandmaster in history. He is also one of the games finest ambassadors, an ardent spokesman and advocate of the intellectual and character building effects in young people for over 15 years. In a short CNN report, part of the series on "Black in America", he speaks about the driving forces in his life and his career. We bring you Maurice unsquished.


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