Black Teens Win Praise As Young Chess Masters


Huffington Post Black Voices is reporting that three black teens have become chess masters before turning 13.

Justus Williams, Joshua Colas and James Black Jr. are three African-American chess players who have obtained the hard-won title of chess master, the site reports, citing the New York Times.


The trio, each of whom are from the New York City area, is part of only 13 chess masters under age 14 in the entire United States Chess Federation.

"I think of Justus, me and Josh as pioneers for African American kids who want to take up chess," Black told the news outlet.

The boys joined the honorable ranks in September 2010, when Williams, who is now 13, became the youngest black player to receive the title. Colas was just a few months younger than Williams when he became a master in December 2010, and James, 12, joined the two in July 2011.

"Masters don't happen every day, and African-American masters who are 12 never happen," said Maurice Ashley, the only black player to earn the highest title of grandmaster. "To have three young players do what they have done is something of an amazing curiosity. You normally wouldn't get something like that in any city of any race."


Ashley became a master at age 20, and a grand master at 34, The New York Times reports. The boys hope to achieve the same title by the time they graduate from high school.

According to, there have been 40 black chess masters, including one man who compiled a book of chess problems in the 1850s. None, however, were as young as Williams, Colas or Black.


We applaud the teens for their hard work and commitment. It is great to see African-American youths aspire to something other than athletics. They are an inspiration for children their age and beyond.

Read more at Huffington Post Black Voices.

In other news: Sandusky Says He Regrets Showering With Kids.

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