Why do some people become successful in life while others don’t? Maurice Ashley, the first African-American international grandmaster of chess, said he believes most people succeed through a persistent pursuit of their passion.
“Success is a path without an endpoint,” Ashley said in his lecture to Albany State University students in the ACAD Auditorium on Sept. 22. “In order to succeed, you have to be willing to stay on your path daily, even though you may be surrounded by distractions.”
Ashley made history in 1999 when he attained the coveted title of International Grandmaster of Chess. At that time he was the only African American ever to hold that title.
“Success is never easy; nor is it a straight path,” he said. “There will be difficulties, mistakes and failures, but you have to persist. I started playing chess at age 14 and became a grandmaster at 33. I kept going because chess was my passion; it was all I wanted to do.”
Ashley, who shared tales of his youth growing up in a violent area of Jamaica, encouraged ASU students to do what is necessary to find their own path in life.
“Be authentic; don’t follow the crowd,” Ashley told the students. “Sometimes you will be all alone, but you will be all right as long as you remain true to who you are.”
The U.S. Chess Federation’s 2003 International Grandmaster of Chess Maurice Ashley (standing) matches wits with several Albany State University students and staff members Sept. 22 in the ASU Student Center. Ashley’s appearance was part of the ASU lecture series.