There were plenty of signs that 16-year-old Joshua Colas was a chess prodigy.
“He told me one day, ‘Daddy, I can play you blindfolded,'” his father Guy Colas recounted to The Huffington Post. “And I said, ‘You sure? I’ve never seen you practice.'”
Joshua was right; he could not only match his dad but beat him, with his eyes closed.
At age 12, Joshua became the youngest African American chess master in history. This past weekend, he won the national chess championship for the second consecutive year.
Now a high school junior, Joshua’s goal is to attain the highest rank in chess, grandmaster. His family is running an Indiegogo campaign to cover the requisite tournament fees and travel costs. So far, they have raised just over $4,000 — but they only have until next week to raise a lot more.
“He wants to be the role model for all these other kids from poor neighborhoods everywhere, to understand that chess is not only for the rich kids and for the smartest kids,” his father said. “He wants to show, if you work hard enough, you can reach the top level.”
The Colas family lives just north of New York City, but both of Joshua’s parents were born in Haiti. Joshua grew up watching his dad play chess, and at age seven he asked to be taught the rules.
Within months, Guy said, “I was giving him puzzles that people who’d been playing chess for years couldn’t solve, and he was able to solve them instantly.”
Joshua’s college expenses won’t be a problem. He’s already been offered full rides to two universities, although he’s still holding out for his top pick, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But to be a grandmaster, he’ll need to compete in a series of professional tournaments, including spending weeks playing in Europe.
“You have to pay a month’s hotel fees, and travel, and the entrance fee,” Colas said. “It’s just to a point now — that’s why I’m asking for people to help me, because he’s just too talented to let it go to waste. He really wants it, and he has the ability. So I’m hoping by some luck, someone sees him and says, you know what, let me spring for this kid.”
Only one African American, Maurice Ashley, has attained grandmaster ranking. He was 34 at the time. But Joshua is one of three black New York City-area boys who in recent years reached the master rank when they were 12 years old. “To have three young players do what they have done is something of an amazing curiosity,” Ashley told The New York Times. “You normally wouldn’t get something like that in any city of any race.”
The competition schedule can be grueling. Matches last up to six hours and Joshua has played over 100 of them around the country this year. Amongst nearly 57,000 players of all ages registered with the U.S. Chess Federation, he currently ranks #239.
But he takes his success in stride. “Every time you find out he’s able to do something unusual, to him, it’s nothing,” Colas said. “I get so happy, my wife is so happy, but to him it’s no big deal. That’s one thing that makes him a good chess player. He is not too high, he is not too low, he’s always even-keeled.”
Guy feels his most important responsibility is to be there when Joshua falters. “I’m just as happy when he loses a game as when he wins a game,” he said. “I understand the game. I know how difficult it is. So when he loses, I try to make him realize that that’s part of it. That’s the road. Chess is a life-long lesson.”
He added, “That’s the approach that parents should take if they want their kids to do well in just about anything. When they do well, you’re so happy. When they don’t do well, you have to comfort them, rebuild their confidence, and let them know that’s how life is. You have to work all the time to get better.”
Below, video of Joshua playing ‘blindfolded’ chess. Joshua’s website is here.
Rest in UHURU, Bro. Sekou
Condolences to Our Afrikan Family
A Lutá Continuà
We Forward EVER✊
Our dear brother and Black Panther comrade, Sekou Kambui (sn William Turk) made his transition last night. The struggle for freedom defined him in so many ways. After 47 years as a political prisoner in Alabama prisons, and his release in 2012, he can now rest in peace. Farewell my dear friend.
– Audri Scott Williams
Sekou Kambui – Life After 47 Years as a Political Prisoner
July 24, 2016
Denver, CO – It has been two years since Sekou Kambui was released from the Alabama prison system after spending 47 years of his life incarcerated. He and fellow Human Rights activist Audri Scott Williams spoke in Denver on Thursday, July 14th, 2016 at an event hosted by Denver Anarchist Black Cross about his life after prison and their current collective work.
During his teenage years in the 1960s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement through mobilizing…
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To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
Medical museums openly solicited black body parts and medical societies relied on black bodies. Students too wrote graduating theses based on the medical manipulation of black “subjects” and “specimens”.
Used for whatever purpose. Slave by Shutterstock
The history of human experimentation is as old as the practice of medicine and in the modern era has always targeted disadvantaged, marginalised, institutionalised, stigmatised and vulnerable populations: prisoners, the condemned, orphans, the mentally ill, students, the poor, women, the disabled, children, peoples of colour, indigenous peoples and the enslaved.
Human subject research is evident wherever physicians, technicians, pharmaceutical companies (and others) are trialling new practices and implementing the latest diagnostic and therapeutic agents and procedures. And the American South in the days of slavery was no different – and for those looking for easy targets, black slave bodies were easy to come by.
Black bodies in the slave south
There is a rich and rapidly expanding scholarly literature examining the history of human subject research, including studies of the burgeoning bio-medical economy in the US in the 20th century. The Tuskegee experiment
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“…To Save Mother Earth,
We MUST Change The System…”👈
What’s the Elixir to defeat the Beast?
Globalize SOLIDARITY ✊
Strengthen Our Strategies📚📜📖
Build with & Join Organization(s)👊
On the Streets, Behind the Wall, Around the Globe🌍🌎🌏
You Know The Call…
May 1-Shut It Down!!
May Day Where?
Over 50(!!) organizations will be bringing contingents
Brick by Brick
Wall by Wall
Nationally & Globally
Elev8 the Call 🔊
Free them ALL👊
Report on Mumia’s PCRA Hearing on Challenge to Appeals based on Bias of former prosecutor, then Supreme Court judge Ronald Castille, April 24, 2017
Castille was the elected District Attorney during the preparation, argument and appeal of the 1982 conviction of Mumia for murder and the death sentence to the PA Supreme Court in 1988…
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UBUNTU ☯ UHURU
“Sun In The Sky…You Know How I Feel…”🌖
Nina is song. Not just a vocalist or singer, but actual song. The physical vibration and the meaning too. A reflection and projection of a certain segment of our mesmerizing ethos. Culturally specific in attitude, in rhythm, in what she harmonizes with and what she clashes against, merges snugly into and hotly confronts in rage. All that she is. Especially the contradictions and contrarinesses. And why not. If Nina is song. Our song. She would have to be all that.
Nina is not her name. Nina is our name. Nina is how we call ourselves remade into an uprising. Eunice Waymon started out life as a precocious child prodigy — amazingly gifted at piano. She went to church, sang, prayed and absorbed all the sweat of the saints: the sisters dropping like flies and rising like angels all around her. Big bosoms clad in white. Tambourine-playing, cotton-chopping, tobacco-picking…
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I Rise WomYn… Mother… Daughter… Student
Strengthened & Nurtured Within A Circle Of Fierce African Warrior
WomYn… UBUNTU ✊
Infinite LOVE & Gratitude 💞
FROM: Philly Activists
With just 6 days week to go before the Tribute to Warrior Sisters of the Revolution on March 24, we want to remind everyone that this is a ticketed event. We need to have an idea of numbers planning to attend prior to the event.
If you have not purchased your ticket or called to reserve a seat please try to do so ASAP. Seats may be available the night of the event but will be limited. To buy tickets click on link below or call 484-343-2172 to reserve a seat. Tickets are $15 which includes food and cultural performances.
Don’t miss out!!
Friday, March 24, from 6-9pm at the Church of the Advocate, 1801 W. Diamond St., Philadelphia
This event will honor Pam Africa, Ramona Africa and Monica Moorehead for their tireless activism and contributions to the struggle. There will be food and entertainment including the Universal African…
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Much needed historical landscape on the Struggle for Justice & Liberation…
In the early 1930s, capitalist crisis compelled participants across the political left to face off against a common enemy: extra-legal, ruling-class violence. Anti-black lynchings and summary executions of labor organizers had risen with the onslaught of the worst economic depression since the late nineteenth century. For the first time since radical Reconstruction – when an interracial movement to battle the brutalities of sharecropping and forestall the full implementation of capitalism in the South was brutally halted by the 1876 Tilden-Hayes compromise and the return to political power of the former slave-holding class – large numbers of white labor activists joined black liberationists in opposing lynch law.
Out of this context arose an analysis of lynching as…
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New post on The 2017 Michigan Writing Workshop
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SALUTE👊 to Warrior Yuri Kochiyama
“…True Revolutionary Guided By A Great Feeling Of LOVE..”
SALUTE Mama Pam Africa & the MOVE Fam
On the Frontlines & Behind Enemy Lines…
The Struggle Continues To Free ALL Political Prisoners
Brick by Brick – Wall by Wall…
Dec. 9th – Let’s STAND in Philly