What Are the Most Chessly Nations in the World?
Recently I asked my friends on Facebook what chess nation they think has the most GMs per capita. The winner was Serbia with 9 votes, followed by Montenegro with 4 (of course, it’s not large enough a sample to make any definite conclusions as only 17 people voted).
Not to sound subjective with the above results, I wanted something more tangible and used country ranks from the official FIDE site  to come up with a more accurate view of what the most “chessly” nations in the World would be, using the five categories as follows:
- GM total
- GM total per 1 million population
- Average rating of top 10 players
- Titled players’ total (GM, IM, FM)
- Titled players’ total per 1 million
Categories 1, 3, and 4 show actual figures from the FIDE site. We also need to add some relative weight (categories 2 and 5). For example, if two countries have 10 GMs each, the one with 10 million population would be more chessly than the other of say 100 million.
The first 10 best ranked countries in each category are given points from 10 (highest) to 1 (lowest). Then a total score across the board has given us the most chessly nations in the table below.
Only countries with an average of more than 2500 rating pts were taken into consideration (for example, Montenegro has 6 GMs with 620,000 population, or the third-best rank in the GMs/1Mill category, 9.7 to be exact, but the average GM rating is 2453).
This is by no means a scientific work, but it still gives us a rough idea of countries’ ranking. Based on the above criteria the most chessly nations in the World are:
Gold: RUSSIA (30 pts)
Silver: SERBIA (30 pts)
Bronze: HUNGARY (25 pts)
4th place: Ukraine (24), 5th Iceland (20), Germany (17), USA (17), Armenia (16), Croatia (15), France (15) etc.
Table. The most chessly nations in the World
|Country||Pop (Mill)||GMs||GMs /1Mill||Avg||Total Titled||Titled /1Mill||A||B||C||D||E||F|
– Columns A-E show points (from 10 to 1) based on the country ranking in each of the five categories as defined above.
– Column F gives a total from the all categories (A-E)
Standings per Category
A. GM Total: 1. Russia (208), 2. Ukraine (78), 3. Germany (76), 4. US (71), 5. Serbia (53)
B. GM per 1 million: 1. Iceland (35), 2. Armenia (10.1), 3. Serbia (7.3), 4. Croatia (7.2), 5. Slovenia (5.5)
C. Average rating of 10 top players: 1. Russia (2736), 2. Ukraine (2697), 3. France (2659), 4. China (2659), 5. Hungary (2655)
D. Titled Players Total: 1. Russia (2043), 2. Germany (1157), 3. USA (542), 4. Serbia (526), 5. Ukraine (477)
E. Titled Players Total per 1 million: 1. Iceland (150), 2. Serbia (72), 3. Croatia (55), 4. Slovenia (49), 5. Hungary (41)
Interestingly, in the category A, ex-Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, and Montenegro) would have scored the second-best with 116 GMs, right after Russia and ahead of Ukraine (78).
 FIDE site at http://ratings.fide.com/topfed.phtml (as of Aug 30, 2011)