Saturday, December 04, 2021 17:48

Tools of the Trade, Part 8 (USCF Membership)

Become a member of the United States Chess Federation! This one may or may not be optional, depending on your chess goals.

For 70 years the USCF has been the recognized governing body for chess in the United States. If you’re planning on playing in rated tournaments, membership is an essential. The same if you want to obtain an over-the-board rating (which one obtains by tournament play.)

(In full disclosure, there is at least one other rating service out there. However, I would suggest that the USCF rating has more legitimacy for various reasons. But it is not worth going into in this post.)

Also, it has been possible to get a ‘tournament membership’ which essentially means you get rated for that event, or are a member only for that tournament. I’ll be honest, I don’t know if that program is still in effect or not beyond 3rd Graders. I’d advocate joining USCF anyway.

Persons who have read some of my back posts will know that I only just recently started to obtain my ratings, yet I have been a USCF member on-and-off for over a decade. So let’s talk about some of the other reasons one would want to be a USCF Member.

* The USCF’s magazines.

    Chess Life

and

    Chess Life For Kids

. Both are fine publications. A “premium membership” will give you a paper copy of one of them. Both are accessible online for members. (And, I do have to say, I get things out of reading the Kids version myself in addition to the regular version.)

* Chess Life Online. Articles not published in the print/online print versions. Well written and timely articles.

* Access to the USCF Forums. Sometimes boring, sometimes over-dramatic, many arguments about how it’s run, blah blah blah. But still, a very good structured environment to discuss Chess itself, rules, tournaments, and issues affecting the USCF. It is also an interesting way to meet other chessplayers from around the U.S. outside the playing environment.

* The opportunity to eventually enter international play.

* Correspondence chess activities and the Golden Knights tournament, recognized as the U.S. Correspondence Championship.

* Membership in the USCF is a commitment to chess, and supports the continued awareness and growth of Chess in the United States.

With posts in this series I talk about prices. For the USCF, prices are variable depending on age and length of membership purchased. I’ll mention in passing the adult rates are $42 / year for membership with print copy of one magazine and $34 for online-only magazine access. There are discount rates for subscribing online, and for multiple family members in one household there are discounted family memberships.

(If this post has inspired you to join the Federation, I would appreciate your crediting the Twin Cities Chess Club with the membership. When it asks you for an affiliate credit number or affiliate recognition program ID, use A5010357. This costs you nothing and gives the credit to the club I’m a member of – I get nothing out of your doing that.)

You can certainly go your chessplaying life without being a USCF member. But getting involved and being a member is an integral part of enjoying my chess, and I would hope that joining helps you to

Enjoy your chess!

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