Noise and Notes: Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and Louisville’s Hoop Dreams

International chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley visited Louisville this week for the annual IdeaFestival where he discussed how the game impacts decision-making in business and life.

In 1999, Ashley received worldwide acclaim for being the first African-American to win the coveted grandmaster title, and he doesn’t mind the role model status he’s attained either.

The Brooklyn-native is an ESPN commentator and Harvard fellow, who has been touring the country for years advocating that the game is a useful tool for character-building, especially for children and teenagers. Ashley sees chess as an intellectual combat that can raise a person’s thinking and provide insights into how they do or do not make critical decisions

I talked to Ashley about being a pioneer, what chess can tell us about U.S. politics and the obsession people have with the game.

Mayor Greg Fischer met with a group of business leaders recently to talk about the possibilities of the NBA coming to Louisville.

Fischer said there was a lot of enthusiasm during that meeting which included local businessman and former NBA star  Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman among others. While many support the idea and have been since the Kentucky Colonels were an ABA franchise, the thought of pro basketball coming back to the Bluegrass has it naysayers.

But the downtown arena is facing financial trouble, and the NBA is coming up more and more.

Former mayoral candidate Tyler Allen and sports talk radio host Haven Harrington dropped by to discuss the city’s 40-year-old hoop dreams and if the city needs, wants or deserves a professional franchise.

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