Kamsky, Ashley, Newest Hall of Fame Members

By Harold J. Winston, Chess Trust Chairman

On April 13, 2016, I had the honor of inducting GMs Gata Kamsky and Maurice Ashley into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame at the opening ceremony of the US Championship and US Women’s Championship in St. Louis. Both were nominated by the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame Committee, which I chair, and unanimously approved by the trustees of the U.S. Chess Trust.

Gata Kamsky is not only a five time U.S. Champion but has been ranked among the top players in the world, payed a match for the FIDE World Championship, and has represented our country strongly six times on our Olympiad team. Maurice Ashley is not only the country’s first African-American GM, but one of our most successful tournament commentators and has also obtained major sponsorship for chess, in the recent 2014 and 2015 Millionaire Chess Opens and in the 2005 HB Global Challenge.

Trustee Rex Sinquefield, sponsor of the championships with his wife Jeanne, was present, as were Hall of Fame Committee Members John Donaldson, Jennifer Shahade, and Trust Managing Director Al Lawrence. Mayor Francis Slade of St. Louis spoke at the opening ceremony.

Also, acting under authority of FIDE VP (and Chess Trust trustee) Beatriz Marinello, I inducted three persons into the World Chess Hall of fame: Sonya Graf-Stevenson, David Bronstein, and Howard Staunton. Graf-Stevenson was one of the top women players of the 1930s and later won 2 U.S. Women’s Chess Championships. Bronstein, one of the top players in the world in the mid-20th century, drew a championship match with Mikhail Botvinnik in 1951 and wrote one of the greatest chess books, about the Zurich 1953 tournament. Staunton, was one of the top players in the world in the 1840s, organized the London 1851 tournament, and authored chess books, though known to many Americans for refusing to play a match with Paul Morphy. FIDE selects members of the World Chess Hall of Fame.