Why only 3 black grandmasters, none of which are American?

RonaldJosephCote

   After doing a little research......the OP is "Tucker Tommy".  Tommy Tucker was an English nursery rhyme and he was also THIS guy.surprise.png                                                                                   

Asmo2k

Why worry about how others choose to spend their time?

ghost_of_pushwood

Uh-oh, time to slip into some sandals!

Asmo2k
ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

Uh-oh, time to slip into some sandals!

With socks too, I'll wager. Degenerate.

Thee_Ghostess_Lola

A distant frienda mine had a lift done from a Dr. Tucker once.

She called him Dr. Tummy Tucker.

Thee_Ghostess_Lola

Paul Morphy was black....and American. They say.

ghost_of_pushwood

black socks no less!

kingsonicthehedgehog
ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

black socks no less!

that's racist

ghost_of_pushwood

only if they're Black Panther socks

kingsonicthehedgehog
ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

only if they're Black Panther socks

reported

ghost_of_pushwood

well done!

kingsonicthehedgehog

on you

ghost_of_pushwood

You're well on your way to being Snitch of the Year!

kingsonicthehedgehog

too bad

Arisktotle

I'm with batgirl! (#16)

chessdrummer

Folks... there are more than three Black GMs (as of 2019), but why it makes no sense to count them, name them, or debate over it. What's the point? Besides, the article people are citing is from 2010!

Some of the reasons for not pursuing chess vigorously (GM title) is a matter of "opportunity cost." It's difficult to justify spending the the long hours to pursue a GM title if you are typically occupied with making ends meet. If people here are not aware, Blacks in this country are still in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder and chess is not a lucrative profession. In fact, it gives little financial return for the money spent. It is essentially an amateur activity we have for leisure... like most of us. Only a few can aspire to earn the GM title, and only a few do. 

If you're studying at such a level to become a GM, you have a conundrum. How will spend your time... studying the Najdorf for four hours or finding a profession that pays so you can sustain yourself in a competitive environment? Even for GMs, chess in American does not provide any consistency. It may be painful, but it is what it is.   

If you pursue a GM title, you'd better have a sponsor or you'll starve trying. One of the Black GMs made mention of his foray as a professional chess player. He topped out at about $30,000 one year. With such a competitive environment and small prize opportunities, the cost-benefit doesn't make sense. Ironically, the Black GMs have all been in more supportive environments than Maurice Ashley, who got his chess education in the U.S. (100%). He took a hard road and struggled. 

The other option to make GM is to start early, get home-schooled and earn the title while you're a scholastic player. That's what the kids are doing today. The pursuit of chess excellence is so much different than 30-40 years ago. The problem is more complicated that we imagine.  

Bear in mind there was a period in American chess where few home-grown GMs were produced. This coincided with the wave of emigration of Soviets and more sharks competing for paltry prize funds. The chess infrastructure is not the best and it we are talking about a country where there are few norm opportunities. You typically have to travel overseas. It's cost-prohibitive... and what are you doing? Getting a GM title? Unless you have some financial backing or inherit some funds, it's going to be difficult in a country like the U.S. This country has yet to professionalize chess and if not for Rex Sinquefield, it would be much worse than it is for chess professionals. Not the mention the attrition rate for scholastic players is awful. Chess is used as a stepping stone more than anything else.

It's not a numbers things as some argue for women, but it is also a matter of preference of how you want to spend your time.  Why are there few top Black players in darts, curling, shogi, go, jockeying, yachting? Figure it out. African-Americans were not traditionally exposed to chess in the household and there were many other social alternatives in which we excelled. Chess? I learned from an encyclopedia after seeing two friends play in the neighborhood. 

Fortunately for me, I went to a high school with 4,000 students and 100 players in the chess club. However, I'm the only one from the team still playing from the all-Black high school. I had some moderate success as a junior player and got up to 2150 USCF, but then I sought academics and now I'm a professor. I get to invest in chess now, but my days of chess aspirations are long gone. People make choices and if they are not tied to economic upward mobility, then they chose other options. It's not so hard to understand. Many Blacks do not become GMs in chess, but excel in other areas. One Black GM told me recently, "Chess will take your far... just not in chess." 

I wrote this piece a few months ago. Enjoy!

https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2019/03/20/former-african-american-standouts-reap-benefits-of-chess/