The Detroit City Chess Club’s Hall of Fame Award is named after long-time Coach Harold Steen who coached several years at Detroit Bates Academy. He traveled the country taking children to chess tournaments while instilling the principles of chess to his students. He was the coach’s coach. He could also be scene patiently teaching lessons to children on Friday nights and all-day Saturday’s at the Detroit Institute of Arts with the DCCC group. Because of his contributions to the chess community we wanted to honor his legacy. This award pays homage to individuals who made an impact on the Detroit chess scene. Coach Harold Steen passed away on September 24, 2008.
John Brooks was inducted into the Detroit City Chess Club’s Harold Steen Hall of Fame in 2014. Mr. Brooks has been a long-time staple in the Detroit Chess scene since the 1960’s with the Black Knights. Master Brooks has been the top player in Detroit for decades and has given a lot of chess wisdom to the younger generation of Detroit chess players. He’s given several simuls to children of Detroit City Chess Club and well as lectures. He was featured in the popular Detroit chess documentary by Pierre Ashby and Derek Wilder called “Why We Play” which talks about how Detroit chess players have stood the test of time by playing the age-old game. Master Brooks is still teaching the game of chess to the youngsters of Detroit who continue his legacy of greatness.
Longtime Detroit educator Karen Clingman was in inducted into the Detroit City Chess Club’s Harold Steen Hall of Fame in 2015. Ms. Clingman has been a fixture in scholastic chess for almost 20 years. Through her love of lifelong learning and its potential, Clingman inspires young minds to embrace their quest for knowledge. As the Assistant Principal of the former Detroit Duffield Elementary & Middle School (Now Bunche Academy), Ms. Clingman supported the Detroit Duffield Chess Team. She made it easy for the chess coaches to do their diligence by having fundraisers for the team and paying for the entire team to have lunch during their tournaments. She also traveled with the Duffield chess teams to various local, state and national competitions.
Even in retirement, she continues to support the Detroit City Chess Club tournaments (for 10 years running) and is the Director of the popular Saturday in the D programs at DCP at Northwestern.
Coach Glenn R. Smith (known to most as Coach Smith) was inducted into the Detroit City Chess Club’s Harold Steen Hall of Fame in 2019. The late Coach Smith coached students for over 30 years at various schools and school districts in metro Detroit. His most notable coaching stints were at Detroit Duffield Elementary & Middle, University Prep Academy and Washington-Parks Academy where he helped produce National Champions. Coach Smith’s work ethic was second to none according to all that worked with him. He worked day and night to produce champions both on and off the board. Coach Smith not only was concerned about producing great chess players, but he was equally concerned about the well-being of his players, often going into his pockets to help students who needed assistance with food or shelter. One of Coach Smith’s former students, Renaissance High School Senior (Class of 2021) Naiyah Stinson said “I started playing chess as early as Kindergarten and it was the perfect way to express the intelligence I felt on the inside. As a young girl, I did not understand the valuable lessons chess would teach me about life. Chess has taught me to balance, the power in thinking from the end, accepting defeat, leadership, and critical thinking”. Coach Smith passed away on July 12, 2019, at the age of 72. He is dearly missed by his former students, coaching colleagues, and all that met him.
Longtime business owner of All The Kings Men Dr. Ed Mandell was inducted into the Detroit City Chess Club’s Harold Steen Hall of Fame in 2019. Dr. Mandell was a stellar pillar in the chess community. Dr. Mandell organized hundreds of tournaments throughout metro Detroit. He never turned away a kid who didn’t have funds to play in his tournaments, often reaching into his pockets to pay for it. Dr. Mandell hosted many of the state’s largest tournaments like the Motor City Open and the Harold Steen Memorial classic (Whom this Hall of Fame Award is named after) which brought in some of the best chess players in the country. At the 2019 All-City awards longtime Coach Bryan Wilson said of Dr. Mandell “he was so compassionate that he allowed me to continue to play in my first tournament with my newborn son in my hand”. Dr. Mandell has given thousands of people both kids and adults their first opportunity to chess.
Veteran educator, mentor, and chess coach Malcolm Lewis is inducted into the Detroit City Chess Club’s Harold Steen Hall of Fame in 2020. Over the years, coach Lewis has coached at several area schools like A.L. Holmes, Paul Roberson, Barber, Mae Jamieson, McCullough, Burroughs, Cody High, Northwestern High School. Coach Lewis has taken students all over the United States playing chess. He has taken students to Atlanta, GA; Nashville,TN; Louisville, KY; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH, and St. Louis; MO just to name a few. He has also coached chess at the Judge Greg Mathis CommunityCenter for years. Coach Lewis was relentless in searching for funds to take his students to national competitions by having a no excuse attitude. He would always say “My students worked hard all year long and it is up to me to find a way to get them there”. Detroit Chrysler Elementary Principal (and former AP at A.L. Holmes from (1997-2002) Wendy Shirley said, “My fondest memories of Coach Lewis was at Lunchtime every day at A.L Holmes playing chess with as many students as he could handle”. Many of his students have made the All-City Chess Team over the years. Two of his last graduating seniors at DCP at Northwestern received scholarships to Wayne State University and Olive Harvey College in Chicago. Coach Lewis’s legacy will carry for generations to come. Coach Lewis passed away on August 10, 2020, at the age of 66. He is dearly missed by his family, former students, coaching colleagues and all that met him.
Longtime Chess Coach Robert Taliaferro was inducted into the Detroit City Chess Club’s Harold Steen Hall of Fame award in 2021. Coach Taliferro was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He learned chess from his older brother Lucien at the age of 8. Coach Taliaferro coached his own high school team at Detroit Cooley High School. Coach Taliaferro has coached all over the city of Detroit from elementary schools to high schools. Coach T (as he’s often called) has taught at the following schools for the last few decades Paul Robeson Academy, Durfee Middle School, Winterhalter, Neinas, Webster Middle School, Stewart Elementary, Burton International, Murphy Middle School, Gompers, DEPSA, University Prep Academy, Central High School, Cooley High School and most recently Renaissance High School. Coach Taliaferro has taken students all over the United States, taking them to Orlando, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburg, PA and Nashville, TN just to name a few. One of those students Renaissance High School Graduate Kenneth Rogers said “I remember Coach Taliaferro always being patient with me and my teammates. He unselfishly shared his personal experiences in chess and he consistently had a calm, helpful, and relaxed approach to working with us all. I will always remember Coach Taliaferro as one of my favorite people during my high school years at Renaissance.” Coach Kevin Fite said that “Coach Taliaferro is one of the most dedicated coaching colleagues he has ever worked with and coached against. He spends lots of time with his students both during the week and many times on weekends and it shows up in his players’ chess games. He is most deserving of this honor”. On a side note about Coach Taliaferro, Many of you may not know that over a decade ago, Coach T was known for his cooking at the City Chess tournaments that were held at Central High many moons ago when he uses to cook red hots sausages, hot chocolate and had all the goodies to purchase during tournaments.