Every sport and hobby produces at least a few individuals which excelled in that particular activity, with chess hardly being an exception to this occurrence. Below are just a few of the noteworthy individuals within the world of chess.
Just a Few of the Greats
- Maurice Ashley. Ashley was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but was raised in the United States. It was during his time in the USA that Ashley became an avid player of chess in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, eventually attaining the ranks of NM in 1986 and GM in 1999; 1999 was also the year that Ashley established the Harlem Chess School. Ashley is noteworthy for having also become the first African-American GM. The U.S. Chess Federation named him “Grandmaster of the Year” four years after gaining the title. Ashley is also the author of Chess for Success, which he wrote in 2005.
- José Raúl Capablanca. Capablanca was a Cuban player who won the 1922 world championship. However, his more impressive claim to chess fame is that, amidst all of the tournaments held between 1916 and 1924, Capablanca never lost a single match.
- Bobby Fischer. Bobby Fischer was the first American to ever become a World Champion at the game of chess. Fischer was swiftly recognized as a prodigy and soared up to GM status at only 15 years old. One of Fischer’s greatest matches occurred in Iceland, during the peak of the Cold War, against Russian world champion, Boris Spassky. Fischer defeated Spassky over the course of 21 games. Afterward, Fischer would become increasingly difficult to interact with; he refused a match against ICF challenger Anatoly Karpov and later resurfaced nearly two decades later to rematch against Spassky in Belgrade. Although Fischer’s match defied sanctions against Yugoslavia by the United States, he earned both the $3.5 million prize and fugitive status. After an issue with leaving Japan’s airport without an American passport and several months of detainment, Fischer was given Icelandic citizenship; where he lived out the rest of his days.