Celebrating Black Excellence: An Interview With FM Joshua Colas
Photo: courtesy of Joshua Colas.

Celebrating Black Excellence: An Interview With FM Joshua Colas

| 111 | Chess Players

Our celebration of Black History Month continues with another interview. I sat down with FM Joshua Colas, the superstar who made headlines in 2010 after breaking the record of youngest African-American to become a US national master. Though his record no longer stands, his wisdom and experience certainly do—and he was kind enough to share it with the world.

Below is the full interview:

You can also check some of the interview's highlights below:

On chess psychology:

"I think it's a level-headed mindset that you need to keep because any distraction can alter any decisions that you make over the board. I was focused on not just getting the title because that was not really my mindset, but I was focused on getting good results within the game."

On chess improvement:

"I do like positional-styled games. I may try to keep the game positional, but I can also change gears. And I think that's very important in terms of anyone trying to develop their chess game. If you do find a style of play that you enjoy, that's good. But you could also try to sharpen it by implementing another form [of playing] into your bag."

"I think any form of practice is beneficial to one's game. Generally, the results are unpredictable, and they're inevitable. (...) But I would say, if you dedicate to the game, it'll show some love back. That's just how it works."

On chess and African-Americans:

"When I was younger, there were definitely not a lot of young African-Americans, young black kids playing chess. Chess is definitely growing a lot during this these last few years, especially after the COVID era. There's been a boom in the chess world, and I do find a few more people of color playing the game of chess, which is great to see. But in the past, during my time, (...) I would say that there were not a lot of African-Americans other than you, myself, and some of the names that we've mentioned before. But I wish that there were more. 

Contributing to Black History Month, I just want to shout out to anyone who is of color and is into the game of chess. It's great to see because chess is a mental exercise. And it's a game that anyone is able to play. You don't have to be light-colored to play. 

For the most part, it's a game that you can relate to life and connect with a lot of abilities like critical thinking and a lot of personal abilities that you may have never explored within yourself—you can learn through the chessboard."

On accessibility of chess as a sport:

"Chess is not a cheap sport. It's definitely a sport where if you're dedicated, you're going to invest a few bucks. (...) Growing up, I wish I had more sponsorships as a young black male. I think that support could lead to excellence for the youth nowadays. I hope that they do have that support."

Previous Black History Month articles:

IM Kassa Korley

Half Danish half American International Master currently residing in New York! Chess isn't a full time gig for me, but I do keep a youtube channel:

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