Note from Organizer Ryan Velez

Steve Dillard was a dear friend to me for more than half of my life. He introduced me to chess tournaments right before I entered high school, paid my way into countless tournaments, and gave me my first official chess board for tournament use.

It was Steve Dillard's dream to see a college scholarship be offered within Kentucky to children who demonstrate merit with chess. He believed fully that, if chess would support young people into college, then it would give strong motivation to those up and coming chess players to learn the game well.

One week before Steve was tragically taken from us, he told me that he knew he had given all he had to chess and that it was time for him to become a player again. He asked me if I would be interested in running various events he had committed himself to running so that he could step back from the tournament director role and focus on getting back to a 2000 rating.

While Steve will be missed by many chess players throughout the world, he lives on in the organizers he trained before his passing. I am honored to organize this event in his name and I am honored to be working with GM Susan Polgar for giving us the opportunity to fulfill a dream Steve Dillard had for young chess players.

What Steve has done for chess will never be forgotten. His nickname Mr. Kentucky Chess was echoed on the ears of many as Steve was Kentucky chess. He has had a hand in running thousands of events and working with hundreds of organizers across the planet.

--Ryan Velez, SPFWO Organizer

Literature about Steve's Life