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Very interesting list, just a little adjustment needed: Iceland's population is actually pretty exactly 10 times larger than stated (about 320k). It doesn't take them out of first place, just makes them look slightly more human :)
Wow, what happened to Netherlands? Last time I saw suxh a list they were right near the top, now @27
Sorry if I have made mistakes but I have compiled the list by hand ( from two sources: the FIDE list of countries by strength http://ratings.fide.com/topfed.phtml and the Wikipedia list of country populations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population ). I had to exclude some countries since for example FIDE believes that Scotland is a country while Wikipedia lists no such country.
I have corrected the population figure for Iceland but it still comes first with over 36 GM-s per million inhabitants. ( At least the title of the topic is still correct... ) Thanks norbertedert for correcting me.
The reason I started this thread is that once I have bumped into a figure that in my country for a population of cca. ten million we have 52 grandmasters while in the United States for a population of cca. three hundred million there are 79 grandmasters. This gave me the idea that my country could have a top place (I hoped first...) if we measure the strength of chess in a country by the number of GM-s per capita. I thought that Armenia (think of Aronian) or Israel (think of Gelfand) with their relatively small population may be in the race for the first place. So I decided to complie a comprehensive list and the result is somewhat of a surprise. For true mini states (like Monaco and Andorra with the population of a small rural city) can have one or two grandmasters (and therefore high per capita GM figure) is believable but for Iceland to have that ridicoulosly many ( 12 ) GM-s for its population of cca. three houndred thousand is really a surprise. In fact my country comes only 11th, worse than its average rating would suggest. It is also apparent that chess play strength was distributed uniformly in the former Yugoslavia, since its former member republics (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia) are in the top 10. Also small member states of the former Soviet Union have high ranking (like Latvia, Georgia etc.). Among the countries of more than a million inhabitants still Armenia is the leader.
There is an intersting connection between the average rating of a country's top ten players and the number of GM-s in that country.
The best fit for this connection is an exponential regression which means that with the average rating of the top ten players in a country the number of GM-s grows exponentially. Even with this exponential growth Russia (the lonely dot in the top right corner of the diagream) is 'pathetic' having an incredible number of 220 GM-s. This diagram is a graphic illustration of how much Russia really stands out in the row of chess playing nations.
Watcha : thanks for all this !
Some time ago I started to make a list of the number of members of Chess.com per 10.000 inhabitants of a country. I did not finish this, yet ( too busy ... ) but the idea is clear and the outcome is not such a surprise, compared with your list...
Perhaps you or me should finish it, because this can be interesting. I give you a few figures from my list :
China 0,133 / Russia 3,02 / India 4,46 / USA 9,00 / Czech 12,5 / Bosnia & Herzegowina 47,3 / Croatia 52,9 / Iceland 295 !
I just checked Hungary, 13.600 members on 9.906.000 makes 13,7 per 10.000 ; the Netherlands 62.200 on 16.803.000 is even 36,9 ...
Look forward to your reaction, please ! Will be continued, I hope ! Ger.
That is wonderful research, Watcha! Thanks for doing it :D
RomyGer, very interesting statistics as well! I have always found Netherlands to be a strong nation in everything: Kickboxing, Soccer, Chess, English, etc. That little country is a powerhouse.
what about basketball?
Lithuania easily stands out.
The above rankings aren't right- e.g. the Dominican Republic has a total population of around 10 million, not 71,293.
He mixed it up with Dominica.
Thanks IM pfren for the remark. I have already corrected it.
You are right TBentley Dominica and the Dominican Republic are two separate countries. Sorry about that.
The "average rating" refers to the average of the top 10 players of the country.
Apart from clear mistakes, I see more "problems", as e.g. Groenland-Denmark, Spain-Catalonia-Galicia-Grenada, and what about England-UK-Scotland-Wales-Ireland-Guernsey-Gibraltar-Jersey-IsleOfMan... and the small ones as Vatican, Monaco, Lichtenstein have to be counted in a separate section, like the big ones, China, India etc.
But when we select in a correct way, yes, the great lines can be seen, in another forum here on Chess.Com someone mentioned the former Yugoslav countries and the former USSR countries, each with now a lot of fine chess players !! And on the other hand, we see countries or regio's that have to be helped, like our Max Euwe once tried to do !
"Research" with dozens of errors. Great thinking Brainiac. Much indebted.
I am missing one country , the one with the biggest chesspieces : Easter Island.
Entirely too much time on your hands. Get over it.
I didn't think of this one-liner myself , you can read it in all the threads where zborg is responding.
This one I just copied and paste. Don't believe he understands he is referring to himself, he LIVES in the forums.
Interesting list, thanks for the work.
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