15 January 2021

FIDE Rating List - Inactive Players

Last week, in FIDE Rating List - January 2021, (FRL) I noted,

The number of inactive players declined, but growth in active play also declined. How to explain this contradiction? I'll look at that in another post.

First I looked at the assertion that 'growth in active play declined'. Here's a table that shows some statistics for the last five years.

The three columns show:-

  • the total number of players on the FIDE list that played at least one game,
  • the total number of games played, and
  • the maximum number of games played by a single player.

Remember (1) that each of those five rating lists is from January of the year indicated and, (2) that the lists are produced monthly. The FIDE download page (see last week's FRL post for the link) says that the data shows 'rated games in given period'. I looked at the player corresponding to 31 'MaxGms' in 2021 -- from federation POL, current STD rating 1890 -- and discovered that he played four tournaments that counted in the January 2021 FRL. [NB: the FIDE rating site is very well done.]

The table shows a large drop in all columns from January 2020, i.e. pre-pandemic, to January 2021. Rated play has still not recovered.

Next I looked at the assertion that 'the number of inactive players declined'. Of the 189 federations with inactive players (Flag = 'i') at the start of both 2020 and 2021, 141 had a decrease in the number of inactive players and only one had an increase (of one player).

To allow for the decreased activity during 2020, FIDE must have changed the rule for inactivity and applied it retroactively. According to Resolution of FIDE Council regarding the rating list (fide.com; 2 November 2020):-

The lack of rated events due to the coronavirus pandemic could have led, under the existing regulations, to many players being considered as "inactive". As such, they could have been removed from the rating list. In order to prevent that, the Qualification Commission has made the recommendation to temporarily extend the period required to be considered "inactive" from 12 to 24 months.

As for 'removed from the rating list', I haven't played a rated game since 1990, and I'm still on the list (FIDE ID 2003740). The photo shown on my rating profile is not me, it's Manuel Weeks, but I'll deal with that another time.

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