Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Harold Steen - RIP

Harold Steen, age 72.

The Michigan Chess Association is saddened by the death of hall of fame member and Detroit scholastic chess icon, Harold Steen on Wednesday, September 24th. Please send personal anecdotes and pictures to by 10/03/08 for inclusion in the next issue of Michigan Chess. These can also be viewed on Kevin Fite's website


It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of the Godfather of Detroit Scholastic Chess, Coach Harold Steen. Coach Steen was instrumental in bringing scholastic chess into prominence. He has touched the lives of so many through his teaching of the game and the sharing of his wisdom and knowledge. I am particularly reminded of his words to me every time the D3C is in session. He expressed to me how appreciative and proud of the work that we at the D3C were doing with the members of our club. He stated that it was an important job and that it was especially important that Black Men are stepping up to do it. He stated that the example that we set through the time that we give will go along way in the lives of the children and youth that we serve. To Coach Steen we say Thank You for your example. May we, in some way, measure up to it.

Sherman L. Redden Sr.
Executive Director Detroit City Chess Club


Detroit lost one of its greatest champions of children, Coach Harold Steen (Known as the Godfather of the Detroit Chess Scene). I met Coach Steen several years ago by one of my coaching colleagues Glenn Smith. One of the first things I noticed about him was his gentleness with each kid he taught. He had great patience with each of his students. He was able to take to kids to the highest levelsof their chess game. Coach Steen gave me plenty of valuable advice in the beginning stages of my coaching profession. I will always remember those conversations because it made me a much better coach, teacher and mentor. He will be dearly missed by all that knew him.

Kevin Fite: Founder of Detroit City Chess Club


[Event "East Detroit (EDO/5/16)"]
[Site "East Detroit, MI"]
[Date "1989.16.05"]
[White "Mellen, Steve"]
[Black "Steen, Harold"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A26"]
[WhiteElo "1985"]
[BlackElo "1755"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O O-O 5. d3 d6 6. c4 Nc6 7. Nc3 e5 8. Rb1Nh5 9. Qc2 f5 10. b4 f4 11. Ne4 h6 12. Bb2 g5 13. b5 Ne7 14. Rbc1 Nf5 15. g4Nf6 16. Nxf6+ Bxf6 17. gxf5 Bxf5 18. e4 Bd7 19. d4 g4 20. Ne1 f3 21. Bh1 Bg522. Qd1 Bf4 23. Nd3 Bxh2+ 24. Kxh2 Qh4+ 25. Kg1 g3 0-1
Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

RIP Mr. Steen.

Medina Mathis said...

I know this may be late but I rather it be late than never. I wanted to start off by saying that I am truly sadden by the death of Coach Steen and that he will always be remembered in my heart. I can remember being in my third grade class as I awaited for our first chess coach, Coach Steen to walk in. Right then I knew that I would like the game as he taught me and I would later learn to like him after bring something to my school that we have never had. But later I was sadden because he had left Clinton Elementary school and went to Bates Academy. But it was not long for us to meet up again. I went to Hutchins Middle school my eighth grade year and begun to pick up chess from where i left off. As I played in the Scholastic tournaments I saw him and could not figure out where I have met him before. After talking to him and playing him in one game of chess I decide to ask him if he had indeed taught chess at Clinton and he replied yes he did teach there.
Since then I made it my mission to make sure I spoke to him because if it wasn't for the days he did come to teach me chess I would have never thought about playing as an eighth grader. So I dedicate my WHOLE chess career to him because it was him who introduced me to this great game. And I will always hold that last game I had with him at the 2007 at the Motor City Open. RIP Mr. Steen. Love,
Medina Mathis