Monday, July 31, 2006

A Perfect Pair

I bet you didn't know that GM Maurice Ashley's sister Alicia is a professional boxer. They would undoubtedly be prohibitive favorites for the Sibling Doubles Chessboxing Championship.

Here is an excerpt from a recent interview with Alicia Ashley:
ESB: Your other brother, Maurice Ashley, is the first black grandmaster in chess. Who is better, you at Chess or him at boxing?

Alicia: (Laughing) Probably equally horrible. (laughing) I would say, me, because I at least know the moves. (Laughing) He doesn't know boxing at all; I don't even think he knows what a jab is.

ESB: Does he ever come to your fights to cheer you on?

Alicia: Only a couple of my amateur fights, the one or two at the Garden he has been to. All my pro fights have been away, so he hasn't been to my pro fights. We are really trying to get a pro fight in New York, cause just the people at the gym would be a huge crowd.

ESB: Did you hear about the new sport of ChessBoxing in Europe?

Alicia: (laughing) I have never heard of that.

ESB: Yeah, it's like alternating rounds and you can win by checkmate or knockout.

Alicia: (laughing) I don't think they have much to do with themselves over there.

ESB: You would never compete in something like that if Maurice trained you?

Alicia: (laughing) No, I think they would checkmate me, although if we boxed first?

ESB: (Laughing) Yeah, I mean, there is a lot of strategy involved in that. Would your parents rather have had another chess player in the family or another boxer?

Alicia: My mom, she has never seen me boxing; actually, she has never seen me in karate, either, but she is very proud of me and what I have done. So they are happy, you know. She is a world champion here, and he is a grand master there, so they are happy in that sense.

ESB: Which boxer do you think would make a good chess player with the right training and why?

Alicia: Mayweather because I think he uses strategy a lot. When he went in to fight Gatti, people expected him to run around and he didn't. He comes out and surprises you, and now people know he is not just a mover and he can stand there and fight. So he employs strategy and that is what you need in chess.

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