How Many Chess Grandmasters Are Chinese?: Analyzing China’s Success in Chess

Chess has long been considered a game of strategy and intellectual prowess, attracting players from all corners of the globe. One country that’s risen to prominence in the world of chess is China, known for it’s rich history and ancient traditions. In recent years, China has made significant strides in producing top-level chess players, leading many to wonder: how many chess grandmasters are Chinese? According to the International Chess Federation (FIDE), China currently boasts a total of 45 grandmasters, with 36 being men and nine women. Additionally, China has 36 international masters, further highlighting the country's growing influence in the chess world. With these impressive numbers, China has established itself as the third country with the most representatives in the grandmaster and international master ranks, trailing only behind chess powerhouses Russia and the United States. This achievement begs the question: what factors have contributed to China's success in chess, and what does it mean for the future of this ancient game?

How Many Chess Grandmasters Are There in the World?

How many chess grandmasters are there in the world? This question has intrigued enthusiasts and analysts alike. According to the FIDE database search conducted on 28 November 2021, there are currently 1742 chess grandmasters. However, it’s worth noting that this number includes both active and inactive grandmasters. To provide a more accurate representation, we can focus specifically on the active grandmasters, which amount to 1315.

Attaining the grandmaster title is no small feat. It’s a prestigious achievement awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE). Players must fulfill specific criteria, including reaching a minimum rating of 2500 in standard chess games and achieving three “norms” or exceptional performances in specific tournaments. These requirements ensure that only the most skilled and accomplished players are recognized as grandmasters.

When analyzing the distribution of chess grandmasters worldwide, various countries stand out for their notable success in producing exceptional players. One such country is China. Over the years, China has surged to the forefront of global chess, with an impressive number of grandmasters emerging from it’s ranks. This success can be attributed to the countrys strategic investment and support for chess development, including extensive training programs and tournaments.

Furthermore, Chinas success in chess isn’t limited to male players alone. The country has also witnessed a rise in female grandmasters, with many Chinese women achieving remarkable feats and making significant contributions to the game. This balanced representation is a testament to the comprehensive chess development programs established in China and the emphasis placed on equality and inclusivity within the chess community.

Furthermore, out of the top 100 active female chess players from China, there are 17 grandmasters and 21 woman grandmasters, highlighting the strong presence and achievements of Chinese chess players in the international chess scene.

How Many Chinese Chess Grandmasters Are There?

Chinas success in chess is undeniable, with a remarkable number of grandmasters emerging from the country in recent years. Out of the top 100 active male chess players from China, an impressive 23 hold the prestigious grandmaster (GM) title. This demonstrates the immense talent and dedication present within the Chinese chess community.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that China has also witnessed significant achievements in the realm of female chess players. Within the top 100 female chess players worldwide, an incredible 52 hail from China. Out of these talented individuals, the top 4 hold the esteemed grandmaster title, symbolizing their exceptional skills and strategic prowess.

Additionally, China boasts an impressive number of woman grandmasters (WGM), a testament to the dedication and hard work of female players within the country. No less than 8 Chinese female chess players have achieved the highly regarded WGM title, which is granted to players who hold a FIDE rating 200 points below that required for the GM title.

This achievement is a testament to the considerable talent, hard work, and support for the game within China.

Source: Who’re the greatest Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) grandmasters …

Ding Liren, the Chinese chess grandmaster, is making waves in the world of chess. With numerous achievements and titles under his belt, Ding Liren stands out as one of the best players in the field. Not only is he a grandmaster, but he’s also the reigning World Chess Champion, further solidifying his position as a formidable force in the game. Let’s take a closer look at Ding Liren’s remarkable journey and his impact on the world of chess.

Who Is the Best Chinese Chess Player?

Ding Liren, born on October 24, 1992, has become one of the most prominent figures in Chinese chess. As a chess grandmaster, he’s achieved remarkable success and made a significant impact on the global chess scene. With his exceptional skills and strategic mind, Ding Liren has proven himself as one of the top players in the world.

Ding Lirens journey to becoming a grandmaster started at a young age when he began playing chess competitively. His talent and dedication quickly caught the attention of the chess community, and he rapidly ascended the ranks. At the age of 16, he became the youngest Chinese player to reach the grandmaster title.

What sets Ding Liren apart from other players is his remarkable consistency and versatility. He’s a solid and well-rounded playing style, adapting to different opponents and situations effortlessly. Ding Lirens ability to analyze complex positions and find innovative solutions has made him a force to be reckoned with in the chess world.

Despite Russia’s dominance in the chess world, with the highest number of grandmasters, recent political tensions have caused a shift in players’ affiliations.

Is Russia the Best at Chess?

Russia has long been regarded as one of the powerhouses of chess, with a rich history of producing top-class players. In terms of the number of grandmasters, Russia still holds the top spot, boasting an impressive total of 246 grandmasters, compared to 101 from the US. This dominance can be attributed to a number of factors, including a strong chess culture and state support for the game.

The Soviet Union, of which Russia was a major constituent, had a well-developed chess infrastructure, with a focus on training young talents and providing them with extensive resources. The Soviet system produced a plethora of world-class players, including legends like Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has continued to excel in chess, with a new generation of players making their mark on the international stage.

However, it’s worth noting that Russias reputation in chess has been somewhat tainted in recent years. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to a significant number of top Russian players leaving the Russian Chess Federation and switching their allegiances to FIDE, the world chess organization. This has resulted in a loss of talent for the Russian chess community, as these players seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Nevertheless, Russias success in chess can’t be denied. The countrys commitment to the game and it’s long-standing tradition of nurturing talented players have undoubtedly played a significant role in it’s continued dominance. With the development of chess programs and support from the government, Russia will likely remain a force to be reckoned with in the chess world.

Now, let’s delve into the correlation between intelligence and chess mastery. While an average IQ is typically associated with a maximum rating of approximately 2000, exceptional grandmasters with ratings surpassing 2600 tend to possess IQs exceeding 160. Moreover, the most formidable grandmasters of our time, boasting ratings around 2800, are believed to have IQs in the range of 180. Let’s explore this fascinating relationship further.

What IQ Are Chess Grandmasters?

The relationship between IQ and chess grandmasters is a topic that’s been widely debated. While there’s some correlation between intelligence and chess skill, it’s important to note that IQ isn’t the sole determining factor in a persons ability to excel in chess.

A person with an average IQ score is generally expected to have a maximum chess rating of around 2000. This suggests that the ability to reach a certain level of proficiency in chess doesn’t solely rely on high intellectual capacity.

For strong grandmasters with ratings of around and over 2600, it’s expected that their IQ scores would be in the range of 160 and above. This suggests that a certain level of high intelligence is required to compete at such a high level and consistently outperform opponents. These players have a level of strategic thinking, pattern recognition, and mental agility that sets them apart from their peers.

This exceptional level of intelligence enables them to grasp complex positions, calculate intricate variations, and anticipate their opponents moves with great accuracy. These grandmasters are often praised for their exceptional creativity and ability to develop groundbreaking opening ideas.

Hard work, dedication, and experience also play pivotal roles. Furthermore, chess is a complex game that requires a unique set of skills, including pattern recognition, memory, concentration, and emotional control. Grandmasters are able to combine their high IQ with these skills to become top-level players.

The game is a combination of innate talent, acquired knowledge, and tactical prowess, and various factors contribute to a players success.

When comparing the complexity of Chinese chess (xiangqi) and chess, it becomes evident that xiangqi is significantly more challenging. While chess has a greater number of legal board positions, the larger board of xiangqi results in a game tree complexity that surpasses chess by 37 orders of magnitude. Based on personal experience, chess may appear more intricate, but xiangqi proves to be remarkably harder.

Is Chinese Chess Harder Than Chess?

Is Chinese chess harder than chess? This is a question that many players have pondered. One way to compare the two is by looking at the number of legal board positions. Xiangqi, also known as Chinese chess, has about 10 times as many legal board positions as traditional chess. This alone suggests that xiangqi may be more challenging.

However, the sheer number of legal board positions doesn’t tell the whole story. Xiangqi has a larger board compared to chess, which means that the game tree complexity of xiangqi far exceeds that of chess. Game tree complexity refers to the number of possible moves and positions that can arise in a game.

In terms of personal experience, as a self-proclaimed patzer in both chess and xiangqi, I can attest to the fact that chess seems more complex in terms of strategy and tactics. The intricate patterns and the varying roles of the different pieces make for a deeply engaging game. However, when it comes to sheer difficulty, xiangqi takes the crown. The vast number of legal positions and the complex game tree make it a truly challenging game to master.

The expansive board and the mind-boggling number of possible positions elevate xiangqi to a level of complexity that surpasses that of chess.

Strategies and Tactics Commonly Used in Chinese Chess

  • Forking pieces to attack multiple opponents simultaneously
  • Creating and exploiting weak points in the opponent’s defense
  • Developing strong defensive positions to protect valuable pieces
  • Controlling the center of the board to gain a strategic advantage
  • Using pawn structures to control key squares and restrict opponent’s movements
  • Exploiting imbalances in material and positional advantages
  • Initiating pawn storms to break through the opponent’s defenses
  • Mastering the art of sacrifice to lure and trap opponent’s pieces
  • Utilizing strong piece coordination and cooperation
  • Employing psychological tactics to deceive and confuse opponents


In conclusion, the success of China in the world of chess is undeniable. With a total of 45 grandmasters and 36 international masters listed by FIDE, China ranks among the top countries in terms of chess talent and achievement. This remarkable feat is a testament to the country's dedication to the sport and the incredible skills possessed by it’s players. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it’s important to recognize and appreciate the diversity and excellence of chess players from all corners of the globe, including the rising number from China. The future of chess is bright and promising, with China's continued contribution adding a vibrant and competitive element to the chess community.

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