Number of Chessplayers

by Bill Wall


How many people play chess in the world?  The Chess in the Olympics Campaign says that there are at least 605 to 700 million people worldwide who play chess, out of 7 billion people.  8.6% of the world plays chess.  There are 8 million registered chess players representing over 160 countries.


On the Internet, there are as many as 200 million people playing chess.

There are about 2 million competitive chess players in the world.  The average earnings of a professional chess player is $35,000, according to

The USCF has 85,000 registered chess players.  There are 35,000 adults and 50,000 youth or scholastic members.

According to a 2012 survey by the authoritative polling organization YouGov, 15% of American adults play chess at least once a year.  That would mean that there are over 35 million chess players in the United States.   Estimates have been as high as 45 million chess players in the United States.  7% of chess players in the USA are women.  More than a million schoolchildren play chess in the USA.

12% of the adults in the UK (6 million) have played chess at least once a year.  In Germany, it is 23% (16 million players).  In Russia, it is 43% (50 million players).  In India, it is 70% (85 million players).

In the U.S., about 70% of the adult population has played chess at some point during their lives.

In 2012, there are 1,389 grandmasters (1,362 men and 27 women) and over 3,200 International Masters active in the world.  As of 2014, there were 1,444 grandmasters.

Russia has 215 GMs, 495 IMs, and 2,156 titled players, followed by the Ukraine with 78 GMs, 199 IMs, and 492 titled players.

The US has 75 GMs, 121 IMs, and 571 title players.

Iceland has the most grandmasters per capita.  They have 11 GMs and 13 IMs among the population of 310,000.