14 May 2013

The Youngest and the Oldest

In response to a request about historical ratings, I dragged my rating database out of storage (last used for Countries with World Top-100 Players) to look at a couple of tables. While I was there, I decided to calculate the average age of rated chess players around the world. The results, using the January 2013 rating list, are shown on the left.

The first column is the federation country code, the second is a count of active players in that country, and the third is the average birthyear of those players. I believe that FIDE flags players as inactive after one year without a rated game, so active players would be those that played a game in 2012. I excluded players without a valid birthyear, which came to a little more than 2% of active players. I also excluded federations with less than 100 players.

The table shows the federations with the oldest players (average birthyear <= 1969) and those with the youngest (>= 1987). I also included the U.S. and Russia out of curiosity; they are highlighted in blue.

As you can see from the table, Denmark has the oldest players (average age > 50 years old), while Sri Lanka has the youngest (< 20). Can we conclude from these numbers that interest in chess is shifting from Europe to Asia?

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