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The UNITED STATES CHESS FEDERATION (USCF) is the governing organization for chess in America. A not-for-profit corporation, it has more than 80,000 paid members. Its membership spans every state and territory of the U.S. There are nearly 2,000 USCF-affiliated chess clubs, and more than 100,000 chess players participate in USCF events every year. The official publication, Chess Life, is distributed nationally every month to more than 250,000 readers.

The USCF was founded in 1939 and grew gradually until 1972, when membership doubled due to interest in Bobby Fischer's rise to the World Championship. The last five years have seen the rolls swell by nearly 50 percent, spurred by the growth of scholastic chess and the spread of chess computers.

The USCF sanctions thousands of chess tournaments with a half-million rated games each year. It is the organizer of 25 national championship events including the US Championship, the US Women's Championship, and the Amateur, Junior and Senior championships. The USCF sponsors the National Scholastic Championships which annually draw over 3,000 players. USCF also sponsors American participation in international events. The United States Team is the current World Champion, winning in Zurich in 1993 ahead of Russia, the Ukraine and six other finalists. Thirty-one of the world's 415 grandmasters are Americans.

The USCF rating system, developed by statistician Arpad Elo in the early 60s, rates the performance of chessplayers in sanctioned tournaments. Most ratings fall between 400 and 2600, with an average of about 1350. The highest rated player in the US is Grandmaster Gata Kamsky, rated 2763. In 1970, the World Chess Federation adopted the USCF rating method for international events. In 1993, World Champion Gary Kasparov achieved the highest international rating ever, 2805, breaking Bobby Fischer's 1972 record of 2785.

As a not-for-profit membership organization, the USCF applies its revenue to services and programs benefitting its members and chess in America. The US Chess Trust, a charitable trust administered by the USCF, supports chess programs for schools, veterans, hospitals, and prisons worldwide.

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Last Updated: June 9, 1996

Developed for the USCF  by Addie Prince of  Websong Publishing, assisted by the CCNJ.

© 1996 by the United States Chess Federation - All Rights Reserved