This year, the 20th of October is special. The World Statistics Day is celebrated every five years, and it's the third time since its creation by the United Nations in 2010. We are happy to use this unique moment and share some of the statistics that we have accumulated in our base of chess players.
Ratings.fide.com keeps a lot of valuable information about every player with a FIDE ID. You can find rating change graphs, top lists records, even head-to-head records of all players, and learn a lot either about yourself or top grandmasters. Another source of exciting statistics is the data related to the national federations.
Which country in the world has the most grandmasters per capita? If you want to guess, first make your assumptions and then scroll down, as we'll share some curious statistics right below.
Armenia has a population of 2,963,243 according to the latest UN data and 40 GMs according to our base. Iceland is inhabited by 364,134 people and can brag of 13 GMs. Many know that these two countries are competing for the title of the highest GM density. But let's not set up a requirement for a minimum number of grandmasters; wouldn't small countries join the race? And sure they will!
Monaco, a small Mediterranean principality, is home to 39,242 people with two grandmasters among them: David Marciano and Igor Efimov. It means Monaco has 1 GM per ~19,500 inhabitants, comparing to Iceland's 1/28,000 and Armenia's 1/74,000. Andorra, another tiny independent state, is not far off. With a 77,302 population, it has two GMs: David Norwood and Oscar De La Riva Aguado, accounting for 1 GM per 38,500 people. As a result, Andorra gets a bronze medal in our fun competition.
If FIDE were a country, we would also currently have two GMs! Due to various reasons, some grandmasters play under the FIDE flag now and then. However, FIDE's "population" is too big to get anywhere close to the density leaders.
There are 1722 holders of the Grandmaster title in the world these days. In absolute numbers, Russia is the leader with as many as 239 GMs, followed by Germany with 96 and the USA with 95.
Thirty-seven of the world's 1722 Grandmasters are women, including 7 in China, 6 in Russia, and 5 in Georgia. Female players comprise ~10% of all FIDE-rated players. With 5,851 rated women, Russia is again the leader in absolute terms, followed by India (3,534) and France (2,107). Unlike these two, Russia is also well above the average proportion as women amount to 16.5% of the country's pawn pushers. An unusually high percentage of female players is recorded in Timor-Leste (41%), Vietnam (37%), Mongolia (35%), Mozambique (34%), Seychelles (33%), Haiti (32%), Tajikistan (31%), and famous for their female champion traditions China (29%) and Georgia (27%).
To end our today's short excursus into the world of chess data, here is a little trivia question. We're sure you'll answer with ease. Which country has the biggest amount of FIDE-registered players? No, it's not Russia again, although Russia is very close, and these two countries did share a spotlight recently.