17 January 2023

FIDE Rating List - Active Players

A week ago, in FIDE Rating List - January 2023 (FRL), I displayed some preliminary numbers from the current FIDE ratings. The numbers received some attention in Federations with the largest increase in number of players : chess (reddit.com), enough to propel the FRL post to no.3 in the list of 'Popular Posts (Last 12 months)' at the bottom of each page on this blog.

At the end of the FRL post I reminded myself of an outstanding action. A year ago I wrote,

2022: The count of inactive players in 2022 increased three times more than the count of active players. Looks like I should revisit the subject of inactive players.

In this year's FRL post I asked,

2023: This year the inactive numbers stabilized somewhat, but the count of active players increased only [3000] over the count of inactive players. How does this vary over the nearly 200 different federations?

I looked at the subject two years ago in FIDE Rating List - Inactive Players (January 2021). Now I'll go a little deeper.

The chart on the left shows some numbers for the largest federations. Let's first have some context.

There are currently 198 different federations with players on the January 2023 FRL. Of those, 134 federations have 100 or more total players ('Tot' on the chart), 60 have 1000 or more, and 24 have 4000 or more, all of which are listed on the chart.

Why 24 federations? Because that's the number I can capture easily from the database query I used to create the chart.

For each federation, the 'A' column shows the count of active players and the 'I' column shows the count of inactive players. The 'PctAct' column shows the percentage of active players over the total number of players. Using the numbers I gave in the previous post...

2023: >405K players; >253K marked inactive

...that leaves 152K active players or 37.5% of the total number of players on the FRL. That's the same ballpark figure shown near the middle of the chart.

In the previous post, India ('IND') showed the largest increase in total number of players from 2022 to 2023. In the current chart, the country is third from the bottom in percentage of active players. This might be due to a high 'churn rate' in Indian chess -or- it might be a consequence of the 2020-22 covid crisis. I wouldn't judge without going deeper into the numbers.

The two countries at the bottom of the current chart are Russia and Ukraine. The current conflict is almost certainly the cause of the low activity, although for different reasons in each country. That brings me to another action from the previous post:-

One idea is to look at the doubling of players under the FIDE flag ('FID'), as calculated on the right [chart]. This must be a consequence of the war in Ukraine, but should be confirmed.

Now I have two reasons to prepare a third post this year.

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