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I've seen disparaging remarks about the USCF in several posts (principally the costs), and I wonder what people expect from an organization where the membership dues are less than $50 per year.
From my perspective, the dues are not exorbitant, entry fees in local tournaments are about the same as other forms of entertainment (movies, ball games, golf, etc.), and the cost of playing in a major tournament is comparable to spending a weekend in a major city sightseeing.
The organization is not perfect, internal bickering and financial mangement appear to be its major defects, but it does serve its purpose of being an umbrella organization for U.S. chess.
I think that at the patzer level (probably 98% of all USCF members), the actual organization and business aspect of things don't matter a whole lot.
However, if a prominent GM gets screwed over at a tournament (or something similar), things could become rocky.
I just enjoy entering the occasional tourney and seeing where my playing level is at the time. Cash and prizes aren't a reality for me, anyhow, so I play for the fun and challenge :).
The USCF seems to do quite a lot to promote interest in chess for children in grammar school and junior high, but does it do enough to keep high school and college-aged players interested? It seems that many talented, enthusiastic players leave chess at 17 to 20 years of age. Some comeback later in life, but it seems to me that more needs to be done to maintain the interest in chess throughout a lifetime.
Heh, a high school kid is going to do whatever he or she wants to. :P They don’t even listen to their parents; there is no way they are going to be influenced by a chess organization if they don’t want to be.