The United States Chess Federation (USCF) is the governing organization for chess in America. A not-for-profit corporation, it has approximately 90,000 paid members. Its membership spans every state and territory of the U.S and beyond. There are nearly 2,200 USCF-affiliated chess clubs, and more than 100,000 chess players participate in USCF events every year. The official publication, Chess Life, has a monthly readership of approximately 100,000.
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 Amateur, Junior and Senior championships. The USCF sponsors the National Scholastic Championships, which annually draw approximately 7,000 players. In fact, the 2002 Spring National Scholastic tournaments all broke previous attendance records. USCF also sponsors American participation in international events. Fifty-three 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 active member in the US is Grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov, rated 2743 as of October 2003. 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 2780. GM Kasparov is now rated 2838, and remains the highest rated chessplayer internationally.
As a not-for-profit membership organization, the USCF applies its revenue to services and programs benefiting 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.
The USCF national office is located at 65 East St., Crossville, TN 38557. The mailing address for the national office is: PO Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557. The office can be reached by phone at 931-787-1234. Fax number is: 931-787-1200. Memberships can be ordered by calling 1-800-903-USCF (8723) and orders for product, call 800-388-KING (5464) or through the online store, located at http://www.uschess.org/webstore.