Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Ashley moved to Brooklyn when he was 12 years old. Though he knew the basic rules of the game, he didn't take chess seriously until he was 14. "I played against one of my friends in class when I was in tenth grade,” Ashley recalls, "and he just crushed me. I didn't understand how that was possible.” Then Maurice stumbled over a chess book in the Brooklyn Tech High School library-"I said, ‘Wow this is hot!'”-and from then on he was "addicted.”