Fair   49.0F  |  Forecast »

Kevin Fite Shares His Passion for Chess with Local Students

Founder of Detroit City Chess teaches dozens of students the game of chess at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Kevin Fite admits he’s never been the best chess player in the world.

Even though he’s been playing since his older brother taught him when he was eight, he’s never really mastered it well enough to compete.

But you don’t have to be super good at something to love it. And you don’t have to be an expert in something to pass that love on to others.

That’s why, in 2001, Fite had the idea to teach his students at the now-defunct Duffield Elementary-Middle School in Detroit to play. After all, it helps boost math and standardized test scores and improves critical thinking skills. Plus, if you get hooked, it’s just plain fun.

The first two students who joined the group were called nerds, geeks and other negative names Fite is too ashamed to repeat. But soon after, a basketball player and a cheerleader joined the team. Suddenly, playing chess was deemed cool. So many students joined that chess club he had to expand and found a home for the Detroit City Chess Club at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where dozens of players of all ages come at 6 p.m. Friday evenings.

The team has become the nation’s largest and most successful chess team, winning local, regional and national tournaments. It has touched at least 500 students’ lives, but who’s counting?

"It makes me feel good, of course, but it’s not about me," Fite says. "I’ve had people in my life who helped me, so I’m returning the favor. What art or activity can handle a smart person, a not-so-bright person, or a person that has all kinds of social ailments than chess? Where else can you see an 80-year-old man from another country playing a little kid in Detroit?"

For more information visit DetroitCityChessClub.com.

Jul 19, 2013 05:24 pm
 Posted by  Empowering Detroit

Fite is so committed to the youth and the chess club. No matter what the weather, he is there for the youth each week at the DIA. The chess competitions are amazing.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »New Content

What Causes Stress, How to Manage Effects

What Causes Stress, How to Manage Effects

Local doctor talks negative stress effects in the African-American community and gives management tips.

Spring Fashion Emerges in Detroit

Spring Fashion Emerges in Detroit

Bold fashion looks highlight this stylish season in the Motor City. Check out these couture looks from our BLAC Detroit spring photo shoot.

Seen Photo Gallery: 30th Anniversary Crystal Ball

Seen Photo Gallery: 30th Anniversary Crystal Ball

The Detroit-Windsor Dance Academy's celebration of dance at the Roostertail.

Tylonn Sawyer: Youth Program Producer at MOCAD

Tylonn Sawyer: Youth Program Producer at MOCAD

The local artist shares his dream of bringing festivals similar to Art Basel and South By Southwest to the Motor City to create an artistic mecca in Detroit.