Chess Tournament Ratings
As detailed in the USCF page, the USCF (United States Chess Federation) is the organization that holds the ratings and rankings for all official USCF members. They work along with over 2000 clubs and local organizations to provide and rate players based on a number of scales. The old scale was based on the Elo scale, created by Arpad Elo, which is used in college football and baseball. Currently, the scale was replaced by the Glickman scale which was devised by Mark Glickman who is a Statistics professor. There are many ranking or classes which are divided up by points. They range from Class J (under 200) to Senior Master (over 2400).

Grandmasters are not given such a rating by just reaching a certain point scale (which is 2500+). They also have to come out on top in tournaments with competition from other Grandmasters. Becoming a Grandmaster is considered one of the highest honors for a professional chess player, but the title has become somewhat inflated as the current regulations and requirements are somewhat lax. The USCF has been debating whether a new level called the Elite Grandmaster should be implemented that would require even greater feats. Others argue that the rising number of official members of chess organizations worldwide has actually narrowed the proportion of people who hold the title, which is hovering at about .02% of all players. Nigel Short has controversially suggested getting rid of the accomplishment altogether, as it does not necessarily make someone ready to be able to compete in a World Championship.

Moving up classes is difficult and requires a significant contribution and dedication in becoming better at the game. Many have stated it becomes a part-time job, and it can be, if you win prizes at tournaments. However, most just play for fun, not to become rich.