The World's Most Chessly Nation Is... ÍSLAND!
You're Not Taking This Seriously, Are You? is a drawing by ©Tim Cordell

The World's Most Chessly Nation Is... ÍSLAND!

RoaringPawn
RoaringPawn
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FIDE Newsletter #18 as of November 9, 2020 provided some statistics in the How Many Grandmasters Are There? section. Part of it is the number of all rated players for the top 75 member federations.

Back in 2016 I proposed my theory that the number of chess Masters per Mill population shows much more reliably (compared to only the number of top Grandmasters) how obsessed and skillful a nation's average citizen is really at chess.

With the new data released, I have made an update and have new fresh results for you. Instead of the number of chess Masters (FIDE > 2,200) I used before, the number of All Rated Players relevant on Oct 20 per 1 Million population are used for the calculation. This is just a preliminary list. I haven't included all countries, so the list may change with the inclusion of all 75 federations.

I'm also curious what is the number of Montenegro, my ancestral country, as they figured prominently in the old list coming second in after Iceland. I have contacted David Llada of Spain, a chess promoter, journalist, organizer, photographer, author, now working for FIDE as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, and asked for the Montenegro numbers.

Here is the list of most "cultured" nations in the world (again, the totals of all rated - not titled - players per country are used in the columns D and E),

One may ask how reliable is this methodology in determining the strength of a nation as far as their average citizens are considered, not the top Grandmasters?

Well, I am going to tell you a story to support the correctness of the above presumption of using the number of all rated players. Today I have started working on a blog featuring Iceland, definitely the most chessly nation in the world. For me.    

Here is the story. When 21 Icelandic youths aged 9-15 years came to America after Christmas 1978 to play New York City's most promising young chess champions, the Icelanders trounced the New Yorkers very badly, just as they did the previous year in Reykjavik (The New York Times, January 1, 1979, p.19. Cited from Iceland: The First New Society, by Richard F. Tomasson, University of Minessota Press, Minneapolis, 1980)

The young Icelandic players at the Goðans Máti Framsýnar chess tournament, Reykjadalur, 2013 (Áskell Örn Kárason&Einar Hjalti Jensson won)

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