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New Junior Tourney Memberships Print E-mail
By Bill Goichberg, USCF President   
September 13, 2007
us_flag.jpgUSCF's Tournament Membership (TM) program, which allows players the option of joining for only one event at a greatly reduced rate, has been modified. Junior TMs for age 24 or below may be purchased from affiliates and are now available to them for $7 online with rating report submissions. They include one issue of Chess Life or Chess Life for Kids, and $5 of this fee may be applied to a full membership within 60 days.

Many scholastic tournaments exist that are not USCF-rated, and I believe the main reason they are not is that organizers fear losing players unwilling or unable to pay entry fee plus dues of $17 (Scholastic), $19 (Youth), or $25 (Young Adult). The availability of a $7 option should cause some of these events to switch to being USCF-rated, promoting membership. The idea behind the TMs is not to sign up a lot of them, but rather to cause more USCF-rated tournaments to be held.

The TM created in 2005, intended mainly for adults, is priced at $10 for tournaments of four rounds or less, quick chess events, and those playing entirely on weekdays, and $20 for longer events. This will be simplified to just one TM for age 25 or above, priced at $12, of which $10 may be applied to a full membership within 60 days and the remaining $2 will compensate USCF for the cost of an extra transaction. One issue of Chess Life is included. This $12 TM will replace the existing adult TMs on December 1.

The TM costs the Federation some potential members who otherwise would have purchased a full membership, but it gains others who would not have joined if the event was not USCF-rated. Since 2005, the advantages of the TM have appeared to outweigh the disadvantages. Affiliates no longer need worry about scaring players away with required $49 or $41 or $25 memberships, and the number of TMs who have not converted to full membership is only a few hundred. About 50% of TMs have converted, which is very encouraging.

The adult TM has been helpful, but because so many large nonrated scholastics exist, it is the junior TM that has enormous potential for promoting USCF membership!