About Chess4Life

Mission & Vision

The mission of Chess4Life is teaching life skills through chess and, in doing so, positively impact as many children's lives as possible. Through the game of chess we endeavor to teach character qualities and the importance of a core set of values. We do this through the instruction of our proprietary curriculum and, perhaps more importantly, our own personal example. We stand by the adage that what we do frequently speaks louder than what we say. Our promise is that students at Chess4Life will learn chess, learn life skills, and have fun.

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NM Elliott Neff, founder and CEO

Seeing children develop into confident, persistent achievers is a wonderful reward for the work put into making Chess4Life happen. Chess4Life focuses on encouraging students at all levels, developing sportsmanship and ''team play,'' and providing the right environment and experiences that students need in order to excel in chess and their personal endeavors throughout the course of their lives.


Chess4Life was founded in 2007 by National Master Elliott Neff. With over 20 years of experience teaching chess, Elliott recognized that the study of chess provides a great vehicle for learning lessons for life. Examples of some of these life lessons include the value of perseverance through adversity and the priceless experience of achievement after putting in consistent effort. By encouraging students in a positive manner, chess teaches sportsmanship, good decision making, patience, planning, and learning from mistakes.

Today Elliott's goal is to develop every Chess4Life student as they learn the game of chess and learn critical life lessons, regardless of whether or not the student moves on to the championship level.

Teaching Approach

Chess4Life has a proven, proprietary training system that has produced multiple national champion students and some of the highest ranked students in the United States.

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Chess4Life has developed an instruction system for students that focuses on understanding chess and how to think effectively during play so students can figure out the best move in any position, not just memorize patterns of movement. The program also helps students avoid developing bad habits that are difficult to correct.

Our classes generally consist of the following elements:

  • Lesson or lecture on chess strategies and tactics
  • Chess exercises, including puzzles
  • Practice time for chess play
  • Reviewing material learned

Our coaches employ a number of teaching tools including DVDs and workbooks created and designed by a highly skilled team of chess coaches lead by NM Elliott Neff. Elliott and his team have spent hundreds of hours developing curriculum and an instructional system that helps students establish a very strong foundation while avoiding bad habits and preparing the student for continual achievement, ongoing progression, and success. This training program and content are present in some form in all Chess4Life programs but it is delivered most comprehensively in Chess4Life’s Premium Center Classes.

We at Chess4Life very much look forward to working with you and your children to positively impact their lives through chess.