Chess Terms
U.S. Chess Federation (USCF)

U.S. Chess Federation (USCF)

There are many chess federations, and the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is one of the longest standing and largest chess organizations. Let's learn about what the USCF is, what it does, and more!

Here is what you need to know about the USCF: 

What Is USCF?

The United States Chess Federation (also known as US Chess or USCF) was founded in 1939. It had roughly 1,000 members at that time but started to see rapid growth in 1958 after 14-year-old Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Championship. By 1974 (when Fischer was the world champion), the USCF had over 60,000 members. Membership levels have continued to rise, partly due to the rise in popularity of scholastic events. As of 2020, the USCF has over 90,000 members—making it one of the largest chess federations worldwide.

Bobby Fischer played a large part in membership growth for the USCF in the 1960s and 1970s. Photo: Bert Verhoeff/Dutch National Archive, CC.

Why Is USCF Important?

US Chess is important because it oversees all officially recognized over-the-board (OTB) chess tournaments in the United States. As the governing body for American chess, the USCF represents the U.S. for all FIDE matters and events while supervising national championships, state championships, local club tournaments, and all scholastic events. The USCF implements the national rating system for standard, rapid, and blitz time controls.

US Chess also awards national titles—the USCF national master (NM) title is awarded to a player who achieves a 2200 standard USCF rating, and the senior master title is awarded to players who achieve a 2400 standard USCF rating.

Sam Copeland,'s Director of Content, is a USCF national master. Photo: Columbia Chess.

How To Play In USCF Events On worked closely with US Chess to develop an organized and secure process for conducting rated events online. If you are an active USCF member and would like to play in USCF-rated events on, all you have to do is join the Official USChess Club after filling out the USCF Member Authentication form. After you are part of the club, you can see a calendar of events and play! 

If you are a USCF tournament director, you can organize official online rated blitz and rapid events on If you are interested in bringing your USCF club online, visit or see this article for more information. Please also see this informative article for more information on playing USCF-rated games on, bringing your events to, or how to promote your events on

You can now play USCF-rated games on


You now know what the USCF is, what it does, how you can play USCF-rated games on, and more. Enjoy this new knowledge, and feel free to head over to Live Chess and see if there are any USCF events right now!

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