About Us


That first wooden chess set dad bought for us kids started an adventure, fueled creativity and even kept us out of trouble.

To afford chess learning supplies, we bought an extra box of books to sell to our friends. The hobby grew and in 1994 we teenage brothers bought our supplier, a small mail order company by the name of Chess House.

We knew hardly a thing about running a business, but we loved the game and took care of customers well.

Taking care of people is what we live today while delivering unique, amazing chess and game resources to homes, schools, players, companies, and communities worldwide.

Not only do we want people to maximize their enjoyment of the game, we believe in providing a tool to build the mind and character.

With chess, you can make a difference anywhere—in your classroom, workplace, mission, and among friends.

Start with the ideal chess set in your home to engage young minds while keeping face to face time alive and the family together.

Raphael Neff

elliott neff, founder of chess4life

Elliott, talks about where it all started and why Chess4Life and Chess House exist today.

50 Years of Chess House

The teen Neff brothers began selling chess to friends in the early 90's, buying supplies from Chess House a mail-order shop in Kansas City.

In 1994, they acquired Chess House and brought it home to Lynden, WA where it still is located today.

In honor of the name's founders,

1979-94 - DON OSWALD

Donald Lynn Oswald was born January 12, 1934, in Ottawa, Kansas, graduated from Princeton High School in 1952, and served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1957. In January of 1979, Don Oswald bought The Chess House from Jack Winters. Don increased the company's subscriber list from 1000 to 8000 in his 15 years of operation while keeping in personal contact with many of his customers who became good friends. In Don's hands, The Chess House began to be recognized as a growing mail order chess company. He operated Chess House in Kansas until his death in 1994. Don also graduated from the Manhattan Bible College in Kansas, pastored several Christian churches in Eastern Kansas for several years, and held multiple teaching positions. Don was widely recognized for his directing of numerous chess tournaments in the area for years, and was responsible for teaching and instructing chess to countless numbers of people through the years. He was a member of the US Chess Federation and served as a Senior Affiliate Tournament Director for many years.

1972-79 - JACK WINTERS

Jack B. Winters opened the Chess House in 1972, just in time for the world championship Fisher-Spassky match. Jack owned and operated the Chess House at 39th & Main and 74th & Broadway for seven years. He was once the highest rated player (USCF) in Missouri, and on one occasion played world chess champion, Bobby Fisher, to a draw. He sold the business to Don Oswald in 1979.