It has to be the Vatican City. Chess comes as second nature, as scheming, plotting, tactics and manoeuvreing is a way of life there.
Interesting list. The 10 best players of Macau have an average elo below 1700. I could become the best player of a country by moving there. But where is it??
what's more amazing is that there are 6 titled players. so with another 4 players the average is 1671? FIDE title should be a CM which is 2200+ (at some point) unless they were kids who got their FM (w/o the rating) via the olympiads or something.
Technically it's not a country. It's located on the Southern coast of China, and is a part of China.
There are more chess.com members from india and the USA
This is the improved toplist of countries having more than 1000 registered players. The country names were resolved with the help of chess.com member Scottrf.
I wish to warn that the list might have some glitches depending on the practices of the federations. For instance, in France, there is no distinction between your national rating and your FIDE rating, which makes that all players with a national ratings have a FIDE rating. I'm not sure this is the case in the US, GB, etc. and might affect the interpretation.
EDIT : What ringed a bell is that France appears second while Great Britain isn't even mentioned, when the population is similar and the cultural proximity should make for similar numbers.
Thanks for your remark. I don't know what methodology Fide uses to compile the players list. For example it seems that the list contains more players with ratings than the official rating distribution chart would suggest ( this may be due to distinction between active / non active players, or to the factors you mentioned, I have no clue ).
Nevertheless this is the best publicly available data I'm aware of for estimating the level of chess activity in worldwide comparison on a popular level rather than an elite level.
If anyone has sources which provide objectively measurable data related to chess activity ( rather than anecdotal evidence ) please come forward.
This is the per capita top list of registered players of countries with more than 50 players. It is interesting that Iceland is first on this list too and Monaco has a high rank meaning that there is something going on in this country about chess apart from that single grandmaster they have.
The same list for countries with more than 1000 players:
Great stuff, watcha!
Eastern Europe, India, and perhaps some Slavic nations consider chess as their favored sport.
I guess Norway is on that short list now too after Carlsen became world champ.
You forgot Germany on the short list
And Scotland. Western Europe is a desert. Surprising since England are historically quite good at the game :)
chess is big in scotland? didnt know that; thought it was same as england and everywhere else in UK
We prefer football but it gets quite rainy. Then chess, scrabble, monopoly become important.
Chess is not that popular in Philippines IMO. Not many enthusiasts here, contrary to what some of you say, although many Filipinos do play the game, because as a 3rd world country, a big fraction of pinoys don't have cable tv, internet, etc., so chess is one of their cheap alternatives.
whoever says chess is popular in India is kidding themselves. I cant find people to play OTB unless I join a chess club. Its supposed to be more popular in Tamil Nadu but I havent been there, so cant be sure. Most poeple I know think of chess as any oter board game, like checkers or something. A few seem to know that the game has amazing depth, but dont play it.