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Forum Home > Awards and Recognition > Steve Dillard has passed

Ryan Velez
Posts: 54

I was supposed to be Steve Dillard's ride tomorrow to the state team tournament. He was expecting a call from me today but he never answered my calls or text. Randas Burns informed me Steve didn't show up to his Thursday night tournament.

I just drove to his house and discovered 3 police cars and crime scene tape surrounding his house. The officer told me that Steve will not make it to his tournament and that he had passed away. He wouldn't share any more info.

Steve paid for my first USCF membership tournament, my first chess set, and my first entry fee. He essentially raised me from beginner to master. He was one of my best friends, as he was to many of us.

I posted this under awards and recognition because Steve has done so much for the community that I have a feeling many people will recognize what Steve has done for them. He was Kentucky chess.

Steve had been in talks with me and John about transitioning his tournaments, including Blue Grass State Games, to me and John. John will be there on Mondays and Thursdays from now on.

--Ryan Velez

[email protected]

March 13, 2015 at 8:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Tony Perugini
Posts: 30

This is truly a loss for everyone that knew Steve :( I am incredibly sad ot hear of this news. I don;t think I ever knew a man that had as kind a heart as Steve. You will be missed, Steve. RIP.


Tony Perugini

Zonetone Middle School Chess Coach

KCA Secretary

March 13, 2015 at 8:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 233

Very sad news. Really hate to hear this. I had just spoken with him on the phone this past Wednesday. Prayers be with his family.

-- - Open chess tournament information

March 13, 2015 at 8:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 91

Thanks for sharing, Ryan. This is very sad news. Steve was my high school chess coach and mentor for many years, and he has been a close personal friend. I am going to really miss him. Chess in Kentucky will never be the same. :(

PS: After his life-threatening bout with diabetes complications last year, Steve told me on several occasions that he had had a sort of epiphany, that he appreciated life so much more.


Don't you know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one wins the prize? So then, run to win!

1 Corinthians 9:24 

March 13, 2015 at 8:53 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Allen Priest
Posts: 170

Steve was my kids' math teacher.  He asked my son to paly chess in the third grade.  I got my start as a TD helpinig him with events - all he ever did was encourage and teach me. 

I first met him when I was officiating a basketball game when he was a junior high basketball coach at CAL.  It is hard to beleive that was over 25 years ago.

I already miss him.  I am glad that he was able to receive the USCF tournament director of the year award and then the USCF TD lifetime acheivement award.  His whole life revolved around making chess available for anyone. 

March 13, 2015 at 9:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lutz has Returned
Posts: 256

This news is just awful....  The amount of time Steve gave to Kentucky Chess was simply insane.. While we may not of seen eye to eye on many subjects over the years, i was never more happy when we recently mended fences.  I will always think of Steve as the constant/dedicated CHESS TD!  He was always there... Mondays/Thursdays... or any Scholastic Event etc..  We worked many events together over the years and attended quite a few together as well.  My favorite Dillard event i ever attended was the " Zoo "The most  educational event i ever attended with him was without a doubt Green River Correctional.  Steve will be missed!

Don Lutz 

March 13, 2015 at 9:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Terry Winchester
Posts: 38

I am so sad to hear this news. Steve was my mentor from the time I started playing and directing. Lord, he will be missed dearly.


March 13, 2015 at 10:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 114

Steve paid for my first membership and encouraged me to get involved with KCA politics. He believed that I could be a positive figure in that process. The last time I spoke to him I was worried that my chess play would suffer because of my KCA board involvement. He reassured me that I could still achieve my master rating while being president.

Without Steve I wouldn't know anyone on this thread. I probably wouldn't even be involved in chess if Steve hadn't left that chess club flyer at my second job in 2002. It's funny how things turn out sometimes.

This is truly a sad day in chess.

R.I.P Steve. You will be missed.


Randas Burns

KCA President

March 13, 2015 at 11:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Chris Bush
Limited Member
Posts: 101


Steve will surely be missed by all. He was a stellar organizer, and an ambassador of goodwill for chess for everyone.

Many of us have known Steve for decades, and have fond memories of his presence at tournaments.

I've played with him countless times at Meijer's and Bluegrass Magic Shoppe in Louisville, and can tell you that Steve's departure will certainly leave a void.

We'll all miss him.

Btw, for those wishing to carry on honoring Steve's legacy by playing at Meijer's and the Magic Shoppe, I'll be talking to the management re developing a rotational schedule so that various TDs will be able to show their respect for Steve's life's work in making the Meijer's/Bluegrass events a welcome opportunity for all adult players, which is what Steve worked hard to make possible.

Steve, you left too soon: miss you, friend.


(410) 227-9648

March 14, 2015 at 12:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Ron Lipman
Posts: 1

What a wonderful person and what a great friend to all who knew him. Just imagine all the lives he touched.  What a tremendous loss to the chess community.  Steve you will be greatly missed.  Please know your memory will live on for decades.  Rest in Peace my friend.   

March 14, 2015 at 12:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 33

Steve was a friend and one of the most brilliant role models to young people that I have known. He left an enormous legacy enriching the lives of so many, making a difference to those who were impossible for others to reach. I have many fond recollections that Steve made possible. A few games that we played below:.

Amback, Bobby - Dillard, Steve [A84]

Barnes & Noble G60 Barnes & Noble, 19.07.2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 f5 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nh3 Bd6 7.Bf4 0–0 8.0–0 Ne4 9.f3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Bxf4 11.Nxf4 g5 12.Nd3 dxc4 13.Ne5 b5 14.f4 gxf4 15.Rxf4 Bb7 16.e3 Nd7 17.Nxc6 Qc7 18.d5 Bxc6 19.dxc6 Nf6 20.Rd4 Rad8 21.Qe2 Nd5 22.Qd2 Qxc6 23.Rd1 Qb6 24.Bxd5 exd5 25.Rxd5 ½–½

Dillard, Steve - Amback, Bobby [B20]

Monday G30 Meijer, 27.03.2007

1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 e6 3.d3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bb3 Nf6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bd2 Nc6 10.c3 Bg4 11.h3 Bh5 12.Re1 Bd6 13.g4 Nxg4 14.hxg4 Bxg4 15.Bxd5 Bh2+ 16.Kxh2 Qxd5 17.Kg2 Rfe8 18.Rxe8+ Rxe8 19.Bf4 Qh5 20.Nbd2 Re6 21.Qh1 Qd5 22.Re1 Rg6 23.Bg3 Qxd3 24.Re8+ Kh7 25.Re1 1–0

Amback,Bobby - Dillard,Steve [A22]

 Meijer G30 Meijer, 12.02.2007

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 0–0 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 Bb6 7.0–0 c6 8.d4 exd4 9.exd4 Bg4 10.h3 Be6 11.b3 d5 12.c5 Bc7 13.Bf4 Na6 14.a3 Qd7 15.Kh2 Rfe8 16.Bxc7 Nxc7 17.Re1 h6 18.Qd2 Nh7 19.f4 Re7 20.Ng1 Rae8 21.Nf3 f6 22.Re2 Bf5 23.Rae1 Rxe2 24.Rxe2 Rxe2 25.Qxe2 Qe6 26.Qxe6+ Nxe6 27.Kg1 g5 28.fxg5 Nhxg5 29.Nxg5 hxg5 30.Nxd5 cxd5 31.g4 Be4 32.Bxe4 dxe4 33.d5 Nxc5 0–1

Amback,Bobby - Dillard,Steve [A22]

 Meijer G30 Meijer, 29.01.2007

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 d6 5.e3 0–0 6.d4 exd4 7.exd4 Bb6 8.Nge2 c6 9.0–0 Be6 10.b3 d5 11.c5 Bc7 12.Nf4 Bf5 13.b4 Re8 14.b5 Ne4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.a4 Qf6 17.Be3 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Nd7 19.Qd3 Nf8 20.bxc6 bxc6 21.Rab1 Reb8 22.Qa6 Bxf4 23.Rxb8 Rxb8 24.Bxf4 Re8 25.Be5 Qe6 26.Qxa7 f6 27.Bd6 Qe4+ 28.Kg1 Qxd4 29.Bxf8 Kxf8 30.a5 Qa4 31.Qb6 ½–½






March 14, 2015 at 1:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Johnny Harlamert
Posts: 17

A very sad day for many of us within the KCA community as we all have been touched by the heart of Steve Dillard. Steve was a friend and a role model to me. It always amazed me how a man could be so kind and giving to the community in both chess (scholastic and adult) as well as give his time back to the community as a foster parent. He did so much without any expectations in return which to me made him a saint. I learned so much from him about chess and dedication to the community.

I met Steve many years ago one day at Mr. Gatti's Pizza in J-Town. I recall looking into a room full of kids and adults playing my favorite game. I had no idea there was such a club and I only played online chess for many years. From that very day I was hooked in with the KCA not only because of my love of the game, but because of Steve's encouraging words. He had a way of making me feel like I belonged and didnt have to fulfill a certain sterotype to enjoy a game with those of similar interests. I met many new friends back then and would of never guessed any of us would be KCA officers many years later. I played many years hardly missing a day until the birth of my son. Now that my son is older and has taken to the game I had returned home to the KCA so lucky to see Steve and all my friends from my past. Just like before Steve encouraged me to pursue being a TD and the WebMaster. After making the transition he told me that he knew the KCA was in good hands with all of us. It made me feel good to know he believed in us and we could carry on the game to future generations. This is how I will continue to honor Steve. Each child I teach the game to and do so in a way that makes it fun and encouraging for that child I will know Steve would be proud.

We will miss you

Johnny Harlamert

Blake Harlamert


March 14, 2015 at 1:23 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Mike Thomas
Posts: 29

I've known Steve ever since the mid-1970's, where we were high school tournament players. He was one of the kindest persons I'd ever known, a genuinely good man. I feel blessed that I could consider him a friend. I'd like to think that when we pass on to whatever afterlife there is, that Steve will be waiting there for us with a tournament organized for us all to play in.

Rest in peace my friend.

March 14, 2015 at 1:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Tom Knight
Posts: 37
I only just met Steve at the Quad B tournament. He was super nice and super helpful to me as a fairly new TD. I was instantly impressed by his skill working with those young players. I would have like to of worked with him more. I know he'll be missed, terribly.

Tom Knight, 3rdº MM & Shriner

March 14, 2015 at 6:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sherry (Wilson) Paris
Posts: 5

It is with heavy heart and some weird irony that when I made this post on Face Book from timehop yesterday, that my good friend, the man who was always my children's greatest chess supporter, was brutally murdered. Steve Dillard was in my thoughts as I had made this post. To find out that this gentle soul had been harmed is beyond my understanding.

Steve always had time to help someone other than himself. Whether it was kids he fostered, or in the Chess community. He sought out ways to involve those who may not have access to join in and play a game that equalizes both young and old, the fortunate with the less fortunate, male with female, and accomplished this task by encouraging others to become a part of his vision. Scholastic Competitive Chess flourished because Steve made a friend of each coach and parent and child that took the time to show up and devote a Saturday to play the game he so loved. Jefferson County School Chess League was always dear to Steve's heart. He made it a point to try and get every kid that came to league tournament play to have a good time. Steve learned to pronounce every child's name and to learn who their parents were. He encouraged these kids to continue to be involved telling them about weekly tournaments around town and encouraging all to be a part of the Bluegrass State Games.

Steve had a vision to try and keep girls involved in chess and this is where he literally pushed, dragged and never stopped encouraging me to keep my daughter involved and playing along side her brother who was a much better player in the beginning. He found ways keep Paris interested and competitive by taking her aside and showing her that if she had just payed attention to this one little move she would have gone home with $20 that day for her winnings instead of another player. As she got older, and needed money, she would often go to weekly tournaments to hone her skills and try and pick up fast cash. Steve would tell me he always enjoyed when my daughter would beat her twin brother or take a higher trophy at a tournament. He knew that her learning disabilities would not always make a difference on the chess board - the great equalizer. I received a call this summer from Steve to try to get Paris and Will to play in the Bluegrass Games to bring them back to chess after a several year absence. Unfortunately they were involved with other sporting activities that weekend but he had asked if I could come and play. Now that is really funny because I can only have patience for a chess match when we arrive at the end game.

Steve knew that I shared his vision for chess and understood that it was the great competitive sport that young and old could both enjoy as long as you lived, no matter your heath, or station in life. He took great joy in watching the top players figure out in a state scholastic tournament that they could take a draw and all get their names on the back of the T shirt for all eternity. They had arrived at the level of Champion with this knowledge.

Steve always took the time to play with the elderly who may be shut in, or to take the game to those who were incarcerated. He always worked with youth as a teacher, working summer camps, and by fostering troubled youth, many of which I met as they would often accompany him to chess matches. I will so miss this gentle giant of a man. Possibly only the Chess community can understand the hole that will be left in Kentucky as we all wonder who will step up to fill these massive shoes. Steve has planted many seeds throughout the years, so we shall see.....


Sherry Paris

Timehop - 5 years ago yesterday - Kentucky State Chess Team Championship

Paris and Will emerged victorious! Louisville Collegiate School 2010 Kentucky State High School Chess Champions.



March 14, 2015 at 10:04 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sherry (Wilson) Paris
Posts: 5

Allen Priest at March 13, 2015 at 9:15 PM

Steve was my kids' math teacher.  He asked my son to paly chess in the third grade.  I got my start as a TD helpinig him with events - all he ever did was encourage and teach me. 

I first met him when I was officiating a basketball game when he was a junior high basketball coach at CAL.  It is hard to beleive that was over 25 years ago.

I already miss him.  I am glad that he was able to receive the USCF tournament director of the year award and then the USCF TD lifetime acheivement award.  His whole life revolved around making chess available for anyone. 

I had forgotten how much Steve loved Basketball!  I do remember his coaching at CAL. He always understood when Will had a Basketball tournament that conflicted with Quads. We would be desperately trying to find enough players to qualify for state because Will couldn't show as he was Basketball Team Captain. 



March 14, 2015 at 10:12 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Chris Bush
Limited Member
Posts: 101


I say this with a very heavy heart. WHAS TV 11 is reporting that a Carrithers Middle School teacher was murdered at his home on Thelma Lane Friday morning, and that the police have arrested a suspect, but are not releasing the name of the victim at this time. The news story also indicates that the teacher ran a foster home for kids at his home

Steve taught at Carrithers, lived on Thelma Lane, and ran a foster home.

It's a very bleak day today, to be sure.

Chris (410) 227-9648

March 14, 2015 at 11:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Scott Noth
Posts: 6

He was a polite gentleman with a warm smile.  I had a nice, long conversation with him at the February 28 tournament, and he talked about how he has taught math and chess to children for many years.  What a loss for everyone.

March 14, 2015 at 2:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Posts: 8

Minutes ago I learned of my friend Steve Dillard`s passing. It is hard to type with tears running down your face.They fall on the 64 squares that Steve loved so much. Pax vobiscum Steve, Pax vobiscum from all the players in Indiana, Pax vobiscum. Craig Hines

March 14, 2015 at 8:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

brad skaggs
Posts: 8

Steve and I were to begin a 9 game match next Sunday, he wanted to help me

get back in the game so to speak. And I am speechless,  What can I say?

He was like a 2nd father to me growing up, taking me to tournaments

and helping me grow as a chess player and a person. When my dad was dying

back in May 2011 he said he wanted to see Steve, so I called him and he came out

and visited with my dad no sooner then we got off the phone. That meant so much to

my dad and so much to me. I am going to miss Mr. Kentucky Chess as he has left such

an impact on my life and so many others. I didn't know Steve was battling diabetes until

recently and I really enjoyed watching the UK-UL basketball game with him and sadly that

is the last time I ever saw him. I am getting back into chess, not the way I planned it as I really

looked forward to matching wits with Steve who was such a great player and a true friend. I just want

to say thanks to Ryan Velez and John Simon, you both do a great job, and I look forward to

playing here soon. I'll be playing with a heavy heart as it won't be the same not seeing Steve.

But I have a feeling he will be looking down from Heaven smiling. Admiring what he created

and truly seeing what he meant to me and so many others. R.I.P. Steve i'm going to miss you.

March 14, 2015 at 9:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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