Asa A. Long was born in Antwerp, Ohio in 1904. As a child he learned the game of checkers when the family moved to Toledo, Ohio. At 16 he won the state tournament and at 18 he became the youngest person to ever win the US national championship. In the 1920s he began to devoting himself to studying the game in more depth as he had in essence been a remarkable amateur. It is said he clocked 55,000 hours in the study of checkers.
After that he would go on to win the world title in 1934. He became less active in the mid-1940s and in 1948 lost to Walter Hellman, a player from Indiana whom he had beaten before. In the 1970s his involvement revived and in 1984 he became the oldest person to win the US championship in a surprise victory. This gave him the record as both youngest and oldest national champion. In 1992 he played his last important match which was against the Chinook computer. Before that he had mentored Marion Tinsley who would later defeat Long with consistency and be widely deemed the greatest player in the history of the game. Asa Long was a grandmaster for 70 years in total.
In 1929 he married Isabel who died in 1979. He had two surviving sons with her and also had grandchildren. He credited his inner calm to his Christian faith. He lived in Ohio for most of his life.