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In many countries it seems local chess ratings are only kept for players who continue to play rated games. Does the USCF have such a system?

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At least as of the date I'm writing this, USCF ratings are valid (effectively) forever. No one is ever delisted due to inactivity, and the USCF rating system does not "degrade" ratings over time or regard them as less accurate due to the length of time since a player has played their last rated game. You can walk away from (USCF) organized chess for 20 years or more, and when you come back, you come back with the same USCF ID number and the same rating as you had the last time you played in a rated event. At least at one time, the unofficial slogan for the USCF rating system was "Once Rated, Always Rated" (though I don't see them use that phrase much these days).

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    Yep! I stepped away for 36 years and my ID and rating were the same when I resumed playing tournaments. Of course, the rating changed as soon as I played a tournament.
    – GreenMatt
    May 14 at 14:55
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    Absent for 19 years here and everything was still there. I could still look up crosstables of tournaments from 2004.
    – rougon
    May 15 at 2:59
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    Everything back to late 1991 is there.... Ratings history, tournament crosstables, everything....
    – patbarron
    May 15 at 23:01

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