Friday Nov 18, 2016

"Life Skills and Hope through the game of Chess - from the slums of Uganda to the red carpet of Hollywood!"

Elliott Neff

Founder &CEO Chess4Life

Introduced by: Rourke O'Brien

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Chess4Life Founder and National Chess Master Elliott Neff shares the story of meeting and coaching Phiona, the young lady whose story is told in the new Disney movie Queen of Katwe. Expect to hear about how chess is being used internationally to teach life skills through chess, bringing hope to thousands of children, as well as a short demonstration of playing chess ‘blindfolded’.


About the Speaker

Elliott became interested in chess at an early age, playing in his first competition when 8 yrs old. Chess became a passion of his soon after, and he studied the game intensely for a period of time. In his first national competition, the 1990 US Open Championships in Jacksonville, FL, he defeated his first master level player. From the hundreds of competitive games played during his scholastic career, he lost only 3 times in middle school through high school. As Elliott grew up, he came to realize that his calling and passion in life was working with kids, and was able to combine this desire to help kids along with his interest in chess through the company Chess4Life. Today Chess4Life fulfills its motto of ‘Teaching Life Skills Through Chess’ by serving thousands of students, teaching not only the game of chess, but also helping develop important critical thinking skills and character qualities such as perseverance, sportsmanship, teamwork, and planning.

"My wish in promoting chess is to advance the overall good of the students with whom I interact. As such, chess is exceptional in developing self-discipline, responsibility for one's actions, concentration, math skills, calculation, social skills, and many other excellent qualities. For these reasons, chess is now included in many school curriculums as well as after-school programs.”

Some accomplishments:
- Coach of multiple national champions, both individuals and teams
- Earned the National Master title while still a teenager
- Has defeated multiple International Master and Grandmaster ranked players
- Founder of
- 1998 WA Speed Chess Champion
- 2000 US Open Speed Chess Co-Champion (tied with GM Hikaru Nakamura)
- Founder and President of Chess Enrichment Association,, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to bringing the benefits of chess to those that can’t afford it otherwise