United States Chess Federation
(USCF) is a non-profit organization, the governing
chess organization within the United States, and one of the federations of the FIDE.
The USCF was founded in 1939
from the merger of
two regional chess organizations, and grew gradually until 1972
, when membership doubled to 60,000 due to interest
in Bobby Fischer's
rise to the
membership dipped after Fischer's withdrawal from public
competition to just below 50,000, and did not surpass its 1974
peak until 1992
membership growth in the past decade has been spurred by the
increase in scholastic chess clubs and the spread of chess computer
The USCF publishes two magazines, Chess
, which is advertised as the "most widely read chess
magazine in the world", and Chess Life for Kids
, which is a new
publication for scholastic members, which represents just over half
of USCF membership.
was incorporated in Illinois on December
It later became a 501
after it established a headquarters in New York City.
USCF membership almost doubled during the 1990s and early 2000s,
due to a boom in scholastic chess players, from approximately
50,000 to almost 100,000. This boom resulted in dramatic growth in
scholastic chess throughout the country, as well as financial
pressure on the organization, as the low dues charged to scholastic
players did not cover the costs of servicing their memberships and
the USCF could not grow sponsorship dollars quickly in response to
the increased membership. Current membership is about 80,000, and
USCF operations have recently returned to a break-even basis.
The USCF provides the main rating system for tournament chess in
the United States in conjunction with approximately 2,000
affiliates, mostly chess clubs and local chess organizations.
Earlier, the USCF used a rating system that was invented by
, a college professor of physics
who was a chess
. Elo worked with the USCF for many years, and the system
is utilized in a variety of other games and sports, including USA
Today's college football and basketball rankings. Recently, the
USCF has transitioned to a rating system that was proposed by
. Glickman, currently the
chairman of the USCF Ratings Committee, is a college statistics
professor who plays chess and has written numerous papers related
to rating systems. The current rating system as implemented by the
USCF is still an Elo rating
, but with a sliding K factor
There is an ongoing discussion within the USCF Ratings Committee of
going to Glickman's Glicko-2
system in the future. The Glicko-2 system is an enhanced version of
system that would
better allow for rapid jumps in ratings by young and upcoming
scholastic players whose ratings might improve dramatically in a
short period of time.
USCF organizes or sanctions over 20 national championships. The
most significant, both required by the organization's Bylaws, are
, the U.S. Open
. Others include the U.S.
Junior Championship, the U.S. Senior Championship, and a wide range
of scholastic events.
Its largest events are the three National Scholastic tournaments,
held annually in different parts of the country. Every four years,
the "Supernationals," an event combining all three Scholastics in
one tournaments are held in one city. The last
Supernationals drew over 5,000 players to Nashville,
Tennessee and drew worldwide media attention.
Supernationals are signed to Nashville until 2021.
and 2006 the USCF moved its operations from New Windsor, New
York to Crossville, Tennessee.
During the move, then USCF president
stated in the
annual report that a key reason for the move was to make USCF "a
national organization, not a New York organization."
In 2002, the USCF made a controversial decision to remove former
world chess champion Bobby Fischer
from its database and revoked
his membership, based on his anti-American
political statements. In 2006, that decision was vacated
by a successor board, possibly due to concerns
that the 2002 decision appeared to be retaliation against free
speech and counter to American ideals.
In October 2007, a lawsuit was filed in federal court by a former
executive board member accusing other USCF officers of misconduct
which he alleged influenced the results of the July 2007 USCF
Executive Board elections.
On August 28, 2008, US District Judge Denny
Chin dismissed the suit with
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
12(b)(1), 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6). Text of Sloan vs. Truong et al. Decision