The U.S. Chess Trust Provides Free Chess Equipment and USCF Memberships for Needy Students

Longfellow Elementary in Lorain, Ohio

Click Here for the Chess-for-Youth-Form

Playing chess has proven to help students enhance their creativity, improve their power of concentration, develop and expand critical thinking skills, boost memory and retention, and achieve superior academic performance.

Additionally, chess has been shown to augment problem-solving capabilities, provide cultural enrichment, advance intellectual maturity, and enhance self-esteem.

We know that these are qualities that school administrators, parents, and teachers desire for their students.

The U.S. Chess Trusts Chess-For-Youth program operates under a very simple premise chess makes kids smarter and should be an opportunity available to all students across the country.

We can help you establish or continue your chess program!

The Chess Trust provides free U.S. Chess Federation memberships and chess playing equipment to support chess education programs across the nation. Programs are carried out in the field by dedicated volunteers and teachers who give their time and expertise and run chess programs in schools, community groups, and organizations.

There are two components to the Chess-For-Youth program:

  • Provision of free chess equipment (limit of up to five free boards and sets) to help start your chess program.
  • Provisions of free USCF memberships (limit of ten memberships per school) for needy students who are attending a Title I school and have never been a USCF member before (see definition of Title I under Free Membership Program Criteria).

Members receive a catalog filled with hundreds of the most up-to-date products, access to tournament information in print and on the website, as well as the right to play in rated OTB (over-the-board) and correspondence chess tournaments.

Its simple to get involved with the Chess-For-Youth program.

Simply have a school administrator or principal complete the required application , include a brief letter (on official letterhead) stating the request, and send it to the Chess-For-Youth Program, U.S. Chess Trust, PO Box 838,Wallkill, NY 12589.

The U.S. Chess Trust will review your request and if approved, will send up to five free chess sets and boards to support your program.

If you are requesting the 10 free memberships, then please include the name, gender, complete address, and complete birth date of each of the students.

Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing.


The U.S. Chess Trust has changed the process and criteria for which they will give free U.S. Chess Federation memberships through the Chess For Youth Program.

The process is as follows:

  • Free USCF Memberships are available to students of modest means, if so certified by the Principal of their school.
  • A letter must be submitted on school letterhead stating that the students listed are attending a Title 1 school and have not been USCF members before. The original purpose of Title I was additional resources to states and localities for remedial education for children in poverty. The 1994 reauthorization of Title I shifted the programs emphasis from remedial education to helping all disadvantaged children reach rigorous state academic standards expected of all children. Title I funds can be used for instructional activities, counseling, parental involvement, and program improvement. In return, school districts and states must meet accountability requirements for raising student performance.
  • The list of students applying for the memberships (up to 10) must include each students name, address, and date of birth. Note: The person in charge of the chess program and applying for the memberships must also be listed along with their contact information (phone number and/or e-mail address.
  • When the school application is approved, vouchers for each child will be sent to the person at the school whose name appears in the letter.
  • In order for the student to receive the free one-year membership, they must play in a USCF rated tournament.
  • The student will take the voucher with them to the tournament where the tournament director will process it as though it were payment for a new membership and send the voucher in with other memberships or the rating report. Once the voucher is received at the USCF, it will be processed and a membership card will be sent to the student. If the voucher is not used within a three-month period the voucher will be considered void.

Let us help you get started!

If you have any questions, please contact us at or write to U.S. Chess Trust, P.O. Box 838, Wallkill, NY 12589.

  • Julius Lockett

    Keiller Leadership Academy is a middle grade (6-8) Charter school in San Diego, CA. Demographically, our school is aboout 45% Hispanic and 45% African American. The school consists of almost 90% title I students. I am the new vice principal, and a chess enthusiast. My desire is to bring chess to the school as a full part of our extracurricular activities. Because we are a Charter school, there are no funds to advance this program. If your organization can assist us, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Phyllis Thomas

    I have tried to open the chess for youth program form and it will not open. It says that that site is not available.
    I want to apply for free chess sets for the school’s chess program. Can you send a form?
    Phyllis Thomas
    2246 Culpepper
    China Spring, TX 76633

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