22 March 2008

Titled Players, Soviet and Otherwise

In response to an About Chess post on Ratings of Titled Players, Tom Chivers of the Streatham & Brixton Chess Club blog asked, 'I wonder how many Grandmasters there have *ever* been?'. This is a question that fits in with my series on Soviet players, since so many GMs were Soviet. I imagine that FIDE could answer the question easily, but I doubt it would interest them very much.

I have two database resources that should help tackle the question. The first is a list of titled players from Elo's 'The Rating of Chess Players Past and Present'. The second is the set of FIDE historical ratings.

Elo's list was compiled as of January 1978, while the rating files for the years 1971-74 and >1998 have a field flagging titled players. That leaves a gap of 21 years. Informants published during that gap should help identify players missing from the intermediate years.

Perhaps I'll discover that there is already a list on the Web. Failing that, I should be able to construct a preliminary list over the next few weeks.


Tom Chivers said...

I look forward to your forthcoming posts on this!

Robert Pearson said...

I would say...too many! When the GM title was basically confined to the world top 100 or so it was a really meaningful and elite designation. Now there are a lot of "good" players with the title and it doesn't impress as much, at least for me. If I was dictator of FIDE and had my own fiefdom like The Chessboxer whatshisname I'd get rid of all the norms charade and say you just had to be 2600 for a year to get the title.