Playing in an international tournament used to mean being a strong master and getting an invitation to a 12- or 14-player round-robin in Europe. No more.
Today anyone can plunk down an entry fee and register for an “international Swiss-system” tournament in which hundreds of other amateurs, as well as elite masters, compete.
The number of “international players” — that is, people who played in at least one tournament and earned a world chess federation (FIDE) rating — has more than doubled, from 63,238 to 133,549 since 2005.
The average rating has plummeted, from a near-master 2134 seven years ago to 1954 today, according to figures compiled by the Web site Chess Siberia.
The US accounts for only 2 percent of the world’s rated players, behind 10 other countries, led by Germany, Russia and Spain.
But there are 69 Americans with the international grandmaster title, which places us just behind Russia (206 GMs), Ukraine (76) and Germany (75). The number of GMs in the world surpassed 1,000 in 2006 and now totals 1,284.
International Swisses are now held all over the world. Where is the biggest growth? In Spain, India, France, Ireland, Turkey — and Peru, which had 258 international players four years ago and 871 today.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com
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– GM Susan Polgar