Lion of the Blogosphere

Grandmaster plays chess hustler in Washington Square Park

The highlight of the game is when the chess hustler, losing to the grandmaster, attempts to cheat by using sleight of hand to remove his opponent’s knight from the board, but grandmaster Maurice Ashley doesn’t let him get away with it.

Maurice Ashely’s family moved from Jamaica (the island nation) to a ghetto neighborhood in Brooklyn (Brownsville) when he was 12, and he went to Brooklyn Tech high school (which requires an admissions test to get into, but you needed a much lower score than you needed to get into Stuyvesant).

At Stuyvesant, several of the black kids were avid chess players. I had no hope playing against them.

* * *

Why aren’t there more black grandmasters? My theory is that, with affirmative action, a black with the mental discipline needed to play chess can get a much more profitable career doing something else.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 11, 2020 at 11:48 AM

30 Responses

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  1. My question is why are there *any* grandmasters? I can’t imagine putting in so much time and effort to get to that high of a level in such a boring game, where there’s also practically no financial reward unless you’re the very best. It’s like devoting your life to competitive backgammon, or something equally pointless.


    December 11, 2020 at 1:18 PM

    • Lion asked the wrong question. With affirmative action and other societal benefits granted to blacks, why would they even need to hustle for a dime with a game of boring chess? Guys like these could work for Amazon part time or in some other retail function and earn more money boxing packages and chugging them.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      December 11, 2020 at 4:24 PM

      • Being a chess hustler sounds like a lot more fun that working in a warehouse.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 11, 2020 at 7:17 PM

      • Affirmative action doesn’t help low class blacks that much. You need at least a modicum of personal organization and conscientiousness for AA to help you.

        You have to show up to the race, before your headstart can help you finish it. Low class blacks generally do not show up for the race.

        Personal vice is the reason these guys become chess hustlers. They love gambling, and feeling like they got one over on somebody. I doubt it’s all that fun in the long run. Do you think being a drug addict is fun in the long run?


        December 11, 2020 at 7:39 PM

      • Compared to a dead-end job in a warehouse? Close call that and being a drug addict.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 11, 2020 at 7:42 PM

      • I still think being a warehouse worker is better, in terms of life satisfaction, but you make a good point. Maybe it’s a close call.

        That just makes it clear that we need Jesus Christ to convince the worker to stick to it, and not fall into self-indulgence and self-destruction. It’s the only proven solution.


        December 11, 2020 at 8:22 PM

      • I agree that it’s better for society if people work in warehouses rather than be druggies. Yep, can’t argue with that. So I guess we need a noble lie for the warehouse workers to be satisfied in life.

        But SMART people should know that the noble lie is a lie.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 11, 2020 at 9:01 PM

      • I’m ridiculously smart by most measures. I was considering telling you about my professional accomplishments, but they’re probably not that unusual for posters here.

        I don’t feel smart though, and the older I get the less smart I feel. My success does not feel like it is mine, and I see all the time that I could lose my life by some accident or illness, fairly easily.

        I think I feel this way because my success isn’t mine, and my life isn’t either. Personal accomplishments and pride are an illusion, because they are based on the unequal distribution of genetic ability and life circumstances, which is something you taught me a lot about. Life is fleeting, and you don’t even own that.

        Without Christ I don’t think I can make sense of my immense good fortune, and the immense good fortune of my people and yours, starting not long after He purportedly lived and died. I also don’t think our society is surviving without Him. He carried us this far, it appears.

        As for noble lies, I don’t think that works. Even dumb people can smell condescension. That’s why Romney didn’t work as a candidate, and Trump did. Though I’m talking about something more important than the presidency. Elites have to regain moral authority over society, with full trust, and that is not possible without genuine submission to the Lord God.


        December 12, 2020 at 12:34 AM

      • Not only does the warehouse worker need Christ, but I need Him just as badly. It’s easy for people like you or me to think we are righteous on our own, because we grew up in situations that were somewhat stable, benefiting from a tradition of piety on the part of our ancestors.

        That’s not really on your own though. The same supposed noble lies that may keep the low class person from drug addiction, are the ones that built your entire life, and every wise and righteous bone in your body.

        The same is true for the rich and powerful in our society. I don’t see how Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos need Christ any less than the warehouse worker does. They’re obviously much stronger and luckier than the worker is, or I am, but will their personal greatness ward off the demographic crisis that is about to destroy their dreams?


        December 12, 2020 at 2:41 PM

      • Now, are black chessies self actualizing? They rather play a game of chess securing a nominal fee from their opponent rather than to work for Jeff Bezos with opportunities for monetary growth like stock options.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        December 12, 2020 at 2:50 PM

      • The chess hustler was not going to get a job for a big corporation.

        The grandmaster, however, is a college graduate, and seems smarter than the average white college graduate, so he could have certainly had a decent corporate career.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 12, 2020 at 3:12 PM

      • Amazon warehouse workers are given stock options.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        December 12, 2020 at 5:38 PM

      • @Lowes Mate, like I’d said a few times before – happiness is found by living on your level. I’m low IQ, but I don’t try to be a rocket scientist. Now, Christ is not the only option, obviously. But yeah, without faith a society is doomed. The truth of it is very obvious to someone with low IQ, like myself. Think: who put all this oil and natural gas and all the other minerals into the earth? Not an a accident, obviously. Not enough of a proof? Now think again – there is like 11 or 12 animal species that can be domesticated and all are useful to humans. Obviously not an accident. The most obvious of course is that if you didn’t create yourself, then you were created.


        December 12, 2020 at 10:06 PM

      • @ Yakov

        Thank you for your words of reassurance. The truth is, I don’t know what to tell you or the Lion, because you are Jews and it’s the same God. I don’t want to talk about things I don’t understand.

        After thinking about it, I can see that Christ has delivered on His promises in absurd ways, both for my people and yours. He is the difference between me and people who were worshipping trees and practicing human sacrifice 1500-2000 years ago. The modern world in its entirety is the work product of a multitude of people who lived selflessly because He told them to. It is His invention.

        I can’t stand the thought that I could be such an ingrate that I deny the God and the Messiah that delivered my whole life to me, and made my ancestors noble and powerful, something people so clearly cannot be, on their own.


        December 13, 2020 at 7:24 PM

    • It’s clearly not that boring a game, even if it’s not to your taste. It’s not my favorite strategic board game, but it holds up extremely well for its age and does some things a modern game wouldn’t do. Chess is an extremely deep game, and a certain sort of mind can get lost in all the possibilities and develop an obsession over it.

      Also, the male thirst for competition is clearly very deep-rooted, and sometimes it will latch onto odd things. Boys in particular will compete over everything. I remember one time going to the beach with some friends in my early teens, and a bunch of nasty sea cucumbers or something had washed ashore. We literally made a game of seeing who could shoot their guts the farthest by stomping on them.

      The difference between stomping cucumber guts and chess is that chess has a very high level of competition and is taken seriously just for historical and traditional reasons, and this will send the competitive impulse of some men into overdrive as they get into a spiral of trying to out-prepare one another.

      Presumably the competitive impulse has its roots in a combination of competitions waged purely for status and more serious life-or-death sorts of competitions. Chess is in some ways analogous to military tactics, and the record shows that whether one wins or loses a military conquest is the difference between being ancestor to everyone on your continent and being the last of your line (may the Y chromosome of the early European farmers rest in peace).


      December 11, 2020 at 5:46 PM

      • “Chess is an extremely deep game, and a certain sort of mind can get lost in all the possibilities and develop an obsession over it.”
        Sure, but like Lion has mentioned, that’s the foolish way to play the game. The “pro” way is to accept that the game has already been analyzed to death, and just memorize all the solutions. There’s nothing you can come up with that hasn’t already been thought of, especially now that there’s computers that can outplay even the best humans.
        “The difference between stomping cucumber guts and chess is that chess has a very high level of competition and is taken seriously just for historical and traditional reasons”
        I think the difference is that people improvise games like stomping cucumbers, and forget about it after a while. But with chess, people devote their whole lives to it. And then they have to find a way to make money with it, so they either become teachers (basically a pyramid scheme, they can only make money with chess as long as more suckers want to devote their lives to it) or they become hustlers, pretending to be bad at it and then taking money off suckers who gamble on it.


        December 11, 2020 at 10:43 PM

      • Chess is a finite problem with finite amount of states so it is easy to just throw computer power at it but the smart kids are not interested in those kind of problems, they are more interested in the infinite type of problems, like how to interpret natural language and all those type of problems one usually solves with AI. I will not be surprised if in 20 years we will see some movie about some woman in AI and her difficulties in this male oriented world.


        December 12, 2020 at 2:49 PM

    • Not quite true. Professional backgammon can be played for high stakes and some people have made quite a lot of money from it.


      December 11, 2020 at 6:45 PM

      • Well ok. Nice for that guy I guess, although to me it sounds like “hustler cons $17.4 million from a bored billionaire”.


        December 11, 2020 at 10:44 PM

  2. By the way, a West Indian (Jamaican) black dude ends up in Brooklyn Technical by testing. Tell that to Bill De Blasio

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    December 11, 2020 at 3:03 PM

  3. I have a funny feeling that all this chess mania will not last any longer than the poker mania of the early 2000s. Remember that? The cancelled hockey season of 2004 gave it a boost since TV had to show something. And female celebrities like Lauren Graham and Sara Rue were doing well in it. Then it petered out.


    December 12, 2020 at 2:41 AM

    • Not a funny feeling at all. Chess probably already peaked and will wind down over the next year back to a level only a little bit higher than it previously was.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 12, 2020 at 3:03 PM

    • It’s not analogous to poker at all. The poker boom has had a PERMANENT effect on the popularity of poker. Popular remains orders of magnitude more popular today than pre-boom. The 2019 World Series of Poker had the second highest number of entries in it’s history, just behind the 2006 main event. Tens of millions of Americans play poker for real money on a regular basis. When the boom ended, poker mostly stopped growing. It didn’t collapse. The financial aspect, the chance aspect and the apparent simplicity is what makes poker categorically different to chess and why is is able to sustain interest with average people.


      December 12, 2020 at 10:45 PM

      • Yeah, it’s too bad I don’t live in a state where I can play poker online.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2020 at 12:09 AM

      • Then what is the chess mania analogous to? Hula hoops? Pet rocks? Pogs?


        December 13, 2020 at 2:07 PM

  4. Chess periodically becomes popular for a while when something newsworthy happens. I remember it became popular in the early 1970’s owing to the antics of Bobby Fischer when he played Boris Spassky in Reykjavik. (And the fact it was the USA vs the USSR.)


    December 12, 2020 at 9:26 PM

  5. Why black people must trash talk when they compete, can’t they just compete without all this fanfare? I find it annoying


    December 13, 2020 at 1:26 PM

    • What is more interesting is when you beat a trash talker, they immediately become defensive and cannot take the trash talk back.


      December 16, 2020 at 11:19 AM

  6. You need to put this on your tweet to signify the end of our useless humanity as we know it.

    Gunman is shot by police after firing a gun during the end of X’mas concert that took place outdoors in the St John the Divine Cathedral.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    December 13, 2020 at 5:43 PM

    • And this was the crazy gunman, not a black guy, but presumably a Dominicano. You can see his face covering which is made out as the flag of the Dominican Republic and the logo on his cap.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      December 14, 2020 at 12:21 AM

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