The USCF (United States Chess Federation) is the governing body of all rated chess tournaments in America. When you play in a USCF rated event, the results of the games you play (win, lose or draw), will be submitted to the USCF and get rated.
What are USCF ratings?
The rating is a number, which measures your chess strength/ability and stays with you for life...changing each time you play in a USCF rated event.
The higher the rating, the stronger the player. Most scholastic players (K-6) are rated between 100 and 1000. A player rated over 1000 is considered to be a very strong scholastic player. Ratings are for adults, too; and they are rated under the same system. The average rated player in the USCF including all kids and adults is about 1260.
The following illustrates the class categories of the USCF rating System.
Senior Master 2400+
Master 2200+ (This encompasses the 93-98th percentile of all rated players in America)
'A' Player 1800+
'B' Player 1600+
'C' Player 1400+
'D' Player 1200+
'E' Player 1000+
'F' Player 800+
'G' Player 600+
'H' Player 400+
'I' Player -400
Why do I need to pay USCF dues?
When you play in an event, which is rated by the USCF, all players in the event must be members of the USCF. Scholastic membership for kids under 13 is $17 for the year and includes a subscription to Chess Life for Kids magazine, which is published 6 times a year. With your membership, you can play in as many USCF rated events as you like for one year, at which point you would need to renew your membership if you continue playing, or if you still want to receive the magazine.
A section can not be rated if all dues are not paid; thus all players are inconvenienced.
Purchase a USCF Membership
The current scholastic and youth dues, as of October 1, 2008, are:
$16 (under age 13) $23 with magazine
$19 (under age 16)
$25 (under age 25)
$36 (senior over 65)
For more information, visit U.S. Chess Federation online http://main.uschess.org