World Chess Hall of Fame grandmaster will play 20 opponents simultaneously as part of Columbus festival this weekend

Jack McLaughlin

Maurice Ashley is coming to Columbus.

The first-ever Black chess grandmaster and a World Chess Hall of Fame inductee, Ashley is as big as names come in the world of chess, and he’ll be helping one local community club hold a full day of chess-related celebration.

The Royal Oak Initiative, a local chess and community organization, will be hosting Ashley on July 23 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. as part of its free International Chess Day celebration.


The day will feature a full slate of events, which will kick off with chess and coffee at 8 a.m. at the Parsons Avenue Upper Cup Coffee (one of the group’s regular playing spots). The celebration will then head to the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a chess workshop, keynote speaker and a chance for Columbus players to try their hand against Ashley in a simultaneous game. The grandmaster will challenge twenty different opponents at the same time, moving between boards after each move.

“The mission of The Royal Oak Initiative is to use the wisdom of chess to protect, heal, and build community. By bringing in a champion of the sport and game of chess, we aspire to share with some and remind others of the potential of chess to unlock the mind and provide opportunities for members of our community to explore the power within their minds and their  ability to change the world,” said ROI founder and Chess Mentor Ernest Levert Jr.

This weekend’s celebration will close out from 4-8 p.m. at MPACC Boxpark, with chess, art and poetry readings.

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new July issue here!


Scroll To Top