Grandmaster Maurice Ashley visits Columbus for International Chess Day Celebration!

Saturday, July 23

8:00am- “Chess & Coffee” Mixer, Upper Cup Coffee & The 4C, 79-80 Parsons Ave

10:00am- “Learn from a Master” Chess Workshop, Main Library, Room 2B, 96 S. Grant Ave.

2:00pm- “Journey to Mastery” Keynote & Panel, Main Library, Reading Room, 96 S. Grant Ave.

3:00pm- “Play a Grandmaster” Simultaneous Exhibition, Main Library, Reading Room, 96 S. Grant Ave.

4:00pm- “The Art of Chess” Speed Chess Tournament, MPACC Box Park, 925 Mt. Vernon Ave.

6:00pm- “Chess & Poetry” Open Mic, MPACC Box Park, 925 Mt. Vernon Ave.

Maurice Ashley lives his passion. Through his love for chess, he not only made history as the first African-American Grandmaster in the annals of the game but he has managed to translate his love to others as a three-time national championship coach, author, ESPN commentator, iPhone app designer, puzzle inventor and motivational speaker.

Maurice is well known for providing dynamic live tournament coverage of world class chess competitions and matches. His high-energy, unapologetic and irreverent commentary combines Brooklyn street with a professional ESPN-style sports analysis. He has covered every class of elite event, 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.

Travelling the world as an ardent spokesperson of the many character building effects of chess, Maurice consults with universities, schools, chess clubs, executives and celebrities on how chess principles and strategies can be applied to improve business practices and assist with personal growth. Maurice also acts as a master of ceremonies and inspirational speaker at business conferences and high-class chess events.

Maurice has received multiple community service awards from city governments, universities and community groups for his work. In recognition of his immense contribution to the game, he was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Brooklyn Technical High School Hall of Fame in 2018.

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Helping youth develop a Royal Oak Chess (ROC) solid foundation.

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Royal Oak Chess Clubs receive supplies, training and ongoing support from ROI to launch and maintain weekly site-based chess clubs and leadership activities at your local school, library, faith-based organizations, or community center.

R.O.C. ACADEMY

The Royal Oak Chess Academy intends to improve youth chess abilities and leadership skills through activities focused on community building, goal-setting, collective action, decision making, self-discipline, resilience, and resource management.

R.O.C. LEAGUE

Through the Royal Oak Chess League, youth can participate in our culture and community-focused tournaments at businesses and institutions of higher learning. Tournaments will include workshops, resource fairs and interactive keynotes.

2021 Royal Oak Chess Citizenship Academy

Check out what fellows from the 2021 Royal Oak Chess Citizenship Academy had to say about their experience!

WHO WE ARE

ERNEST LEVERT JR.

OUR FOUNDATION

Ernest Levert Jr, the Founding Director of The Royal Oak Initiative (ROI), has been playing chess since the 4th grade. Chess has provided him with a platform to connect with mentors, make new friends, explore different cultures, and empower his self-actualization. He hopes to share his experiences, expertise, and enthusiasm for the game of chess with youth from all walks of life. ROI was launched in 2014 to sustainably equip under-served populations with the education and the resources needed to eliminate personal and economic challenges as obstacles to kineticizing their greatest potential. Beyond the benefit of developing critical and strategic thinking, ROI seeks to use chess as a fun and challenging foundation for stimulating growth in the areas of citizenship, stewardship, and leadership.

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