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Paperback Chess for Success: Using an Old Game to Build New Strengths in Children and Teens Book

ISBN: 0767915682

ISBN13: 9780767915687

Chess for Success: Using an Old Game to Build New Strengths in Children and Teens

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Book Overview

Maurice Ashley immigrated to New York from Jamaica at the age of twelve, only to be confronted with the harsh realities of urban life. But he found his inspiration for a better life after stumbling upon a chess book and becoming hypnotized by the game. He would eventually break the chess world's color lines by becoming an International Grandmaster in 1999. Ashley realized that chess strategies could be used as an educational tool to help children...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An Accomplished Chess Artist Shows Us The Way

As someone who has played chess off and on for the better part of my life, I can attest to the tremendous power the game has in shaping young minds. My older brother turned me on to the game when I was about seven or so. He in turn was turned onto the game when he was in high school, much like Maurice Ashley was, but in his case, it was the older dudes in the park in our 'hood that hipped him to the game. Every so often he would come around, and we would fire up a game. Sometimes I won, most times I had my --s handed to me on a silver platter. Yet each time we played, I came away stronger, sharper, and more focused on my academic work. Just a few days ago, while searching for some books on commercial real estate, I came upon Chess for Success on the shelves. Being somewhat intrigued, I took it and a few other chess books off the shelves, and two days later, after reading Chess for Success first, I pulled out my old copy of Chessmaster 8000 and started reading a book on chess openings. By the time I began writing these words, a profound change had overcome my very being. You see, thinking back on it, back in grade school when I played chess with a school chum, everything seemed to be so easy. Schoolwork was a breeze. Math problems were trivial, computer programming on the Apple II (yes, I am THAT old) was a walk in the park, and all was well in my world. Homework? Never had any- probably because I had done it all for the entire week by Monday's lunch period. Though I sucked at sports, I excelled in scholarship, and by the time I hit high school, I was hitting my academic stride. I stopped playing chess for a time, and suddenly, geometry was difficult. Back on the chess, I finished not only geometry, but also knocked off all of algebra II for good measure. Suddenly, I found myself in trig, then pre-calculus, where I took a break from chess. Suddenly, grades began to slump, key concepts difficult to master, but then, back on the chess, a rousing finish and top marks in the class. Calculus in senior year was rote and mechanical, all the while, the chess program on my old TI-994A (yes, I had one of those. Please don't laugh.) kept humming and whirring along. I finally retired my computer and my board shortly before heading off to MIT. Big mistake, for over the next four years, I found myself grade-wise always 'somewhere in the middle of the class' as one of my professors kindly put it. By the time graduation rolled around, I limped my way to the podium to get the ol' sheepskin. The intervening years were a hazy fog, until reading this book. Thinking back on it, the chess was always in the background for each of my major academic milestones. Without knowing it, the chess was sharpening my mind, honing my focus, and bringing clarity to my endeavors. Maybe it was just heightening what was already there, or maybe it added something to my repertoire that I badly needed, but whatever it did, it worked, and it very likely made me t

Maurice Ashley is one of my heroes

This is a great book. Maurice Ashley became one of my heroes because he did "it" for others before doing "it" for himself. From this book I learned a lot about his biography. This is a guy who wanted to be the first African American Grandmaster but then put that dream aside to lift kids in under privileged neighborhoods to National Championship level in chess. Then he went on to accomplish his dream. That's heroism to me- sacrifice for others. GM Ashley is also the one of the most articulate GMs in the chess world. This is a world where GMs tend to be one-dimensional chess addicts, where their entire lives are "chess". Maurice Ashley is a guy who attended college and studied creative writing, not chess, and like I said, he took time out of his life to coach champions at the scholastic level. Too me he is at the top of the game and also in touch with the world that we live all live in. He can actually write a non-chess book that can get published. While the rest of the GMs just play chess and write books about chess, few make a mark on society at large. You've got Kasparov making a difference (now that he's famous) and you've got Ashley, who is making a difference with his fame (but also before fame arrived). Now about the book. As I mentioned it is not a chess-book per se; it is a book about child development with the aid of chess. The book is almost socio-scientific in its approach of how chess can help children develop and mature in life. My wife, who is an educator, can vouch for that. I have two daughters, 5 and 1.5 years of age, and I will use Maurice Ashley's book as a tool to teach and encourage my daughters chess. My recommendation, get the book for your kids. P.S. Please layoff this book and every other book for out there for typos as if it's the author's fault. This is not "at home desktop publishing" we're talking about here, most of these books are published by reputable publishing companies who are supposed to have proof-readers and at least "spell check" software. Typos are the fault of the publisher.

A Good Read

Before I read this book, I knew chess was a great game. What I did not know was what the author establishes to a high degree of probability: Learning, playing and studying chess can bring about a personal transformation as well as almost anything shy of a religious conversion. My only strong criticism of the book is that there are a few howlers, such as the one on page 229 under Calculate: "Grandmasters can routinely see ten moves into the future of a position, even more in some situations." Yeah, right. Occasionally a grandmaster accurately calculates a ten-move-deep combination. Nobody routinely does anything of the sort. Never mind the occasional feel-good sentimentality or factual error and just sit back and enjoy this book. I recommend this book to non-players at least as much as to hardcore chess addicts. You needn't know anything about chess to enjoy GM Maurice Ashley's book and his entire approach to the game.

New Life to an Old Game

Who better to write a book about chess than the first (and so far only) Black International Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley? In CHESS FOR SUCCESS, he discusses the important role chess has played in his life, the history of the game, its impact on cognitive development, and its usefulness in educational settings. In addition, he debunks many of the common myths related to the game, allows some of his former students to share their experiencs in their own words, and provides tips for keeping the game fun and keeping children engaged. Maurice Ashley's personal story is an interesting one. He was born in Jamaica where he and his siblings were primarily raised by their grandmother in poverty. His mother had left for the United States where she was working in order to help support her family back home and save enough money to send for her children. Maurice struggled with feelings of abandonment, all the while fantasizing about the wonderful life in America that would soon be his. After ten years of living apart, he was finally reunited with his mother when he came to live with her in New York City. Aside from the awkward period of adustment to living with his mother, Maurice also had to deal with the shock and disappointment when he realized that although he was now in the U.S., he would continue to live in poverty. As an intelligent young boy, he had little trouble adjusting to the new school academically. However, he struggled socially, as there was no real group with whom he fit. Maurice truly found himself when he ran across a book in the library about chess, this was but the beginning of a lifelong love. The author also takes a list of 40 developmental assests (established by the Search Institute) and identifies ways in which the game of chess fits into many of those assests (he does a similar analysis using parts of Bloom's Taxonomy), such as self-esteem, sense of personal power, and achievement motivation. He also provides an overview of empirical research about chess and highlights some interesting chess programs across the country. While the book is heavy on research, it is presented in a highly readable and interesting manner. Further, it is supplemented by real life stories from students whose lives have been changed because of the game. These stories really drive the author's message about the usefulness of the game home. Finally, he provides activities, the rules of the game, additional resources, basically everything you need to get started with the game but the chess board. I am not sure what I expected when I picked this book up, but it far exceeded whatever expectations I had. He not only reignited my personal interest in the game, but has convinced me to introduce the game to my own son when he is older. Reviewed by Stacey Seay of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers

Coach, Maurice Ashley

Intended primarily for parents or educators whos kids are just beginning chess, and written at a level children themselves can find accessable, CHESS FOR SUCCESS is a unique kind of chess book. The book itself is not even shelved in the "chess" section of the bookstore. The book is written as a kind of pean to the benefits of chess play for children, and Ashley lists the kinds of success chess has created for inner-city youth across the United States. There are testimonials (somewhat overdone), as well as sections where Ashley backs up these testimonials, citing specific studies. These studies include sections where Ashley regurgitates research on the psychology of "flow", as well as where Ashley presents digested explanations of chess's relationship to the "40 Developmental Assets" and to Bloom's taxonomy theory. With all the chearleading and feel-good stories, at times this book reads like a drawn-out Reader's Digest article, but the book has enough meat, however, to transcend that stereotype, and there are enough concepts repackaged and digested to make the reading worthwhile. Early in the book, Ashely presents the reader with a brief history of chess (presumably written to get the chess neophytes up to speed). There is a well-written chapter on how to motivate young girls to play chess, and there is a final chapter where Ashley waxes philosophic about psychological aspects of chess play. This last chapter is the best, and reminds me of the interview Ashley gave in Chess Life, in 1999, right after he became a Grandmaster. In this last chapter, Ashley talks about how to handle "chaos" over the chessboard and how to "think like a child" again. The best written passage of the entire book is on the third to last page where Ashley describes how he (and I'm paraphrasing here) "saw a knight again for the first time." Compelling stuff. If you're willing to plough through the feel-good testimonials and the occasional typo and punctuation error, I recommend this book. This is a quick read; Ashley is an inspiration.
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