is hard to imagine a contest more individual- istic than a chess
game. Yet, the FIDE website presents not only current chess players
ratings but also a country rank by average rating of the top 10 players.
(Note: FIDE website pages are not dated (!) - I am addressing
the data downloaded on March 29, 2005.)
have a problem with that, I believe countries should be ranked
exclusively based on team tournaments performance where countries
are represented, like the Chess Olympiad. And when it comes to country
rank based on individual results, I can offer several equally
the average rating of the top 10 players? Just because chess players
have ten fingers? Well, most players move chess pieces with three
fingers, so, why not average rating of the top 3 players? The top graph
on the left, limited to top 20 countries from the FIDE list [NW03],
presents how country rank could be dependent on the number of
if one would accept a country ranking based on one of these
averages, it is inherently non-sustainable: the first and twentieth
country on the FIDE list are separated by only 6.81% of rating
points, the first and hundredth country by only 18.62% of rating
points; it means that separation of most countries is well below the
standard deviation of the FIDE ranking statistics.
should we make country ranking more ‘country related’ by
normalizing the average rating to the country population or country
GNP? I know, it sounds ridiculous but I am not the one who advocates
middle graph on the left introduces an additional ranking parameter
by assigning non-linear placement points: first country in certain
averaging category gets 100 points, second 88, third 78, fourth 70,
fifth 64, sixth 60, and every subsequent 2 points less.
individual ratings does not necessarily lead to a meaningful
projection of a particular country strength: in an assumed match of
two countries of equal 10 players average rating, on 10 boards, if
one player has very high rating then it is likely that more than one
of his teammates has to match higher ranked opponent.
bottom graph deviates from the ‘averaging philosophy’: it is
based on country participation in the cumulative ratings. For
example, cumulative rating of top100 players is 265,816; among them
22 Russian players are worth 58,802 (22.12%) while 6 Ukrainian
players are worth 16,028 (6.03%).