How Many Chess Grandmasters are There? (Age, Location, Top 100)

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A Grandmaster in chess is the highest title you can achieve. A grandmaster title is prized but not a prize in itself like a sportsman or team might win a title by beating all opponents in an event.

The number of Grandmasters will be ever changing, so how many are there as of today?

There are 1725 Grandmasters of chess as of February 2021 with a further 5 applications from players achieving grandmaster scores in January 2021. Women make up just 37 of this number, whilst there are currently 318 WGrandmasters in the controversial women’s Grandmaster classification.

The title of Grandmaster is achieved for attaining a minimum Elo ranking from FIDE of 2500 at any point in a career. It is not necessary to stay above 2500 to keep the title once gained. This allows for a growing number.

Read on to find out more about the top 100 Grandmasters right now including ages, where they come from and the top players.

RankNameTitleCountryRatingGamesB-Year
 1 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2864 0 1990
 2 Ding, Liren g CHN 2806 28 1992
 3 Firouzja, Alireza g FRA 2804 0 2003
 4 Caruana, Fabiano g USA 2786 8 1992
 5 Rapport, Richard g HUN 2776 0 1996
 6 Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2773 0 1990
 7 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2770 8 1985
 8 So, Wesley g USA 2766 12 1993
 9 Aronian, Levon g USA 2765 12 1982
 10 Giri, Anish g NED 2761 6 1994
 11 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2760 10 1987
 12 Dominguez Perez, Leinier g USA 2753 12 1983
 13 Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2753 0 1987
 14 Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2751 0 1969
 15 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2750 6 1990
 16 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof g POL 2750 0 1998
 17 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2747 0 1990
 18 Wang, Hao g CHN 2744 0 1989
 19 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2742 0 1983
 20 Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2730 0 1975
 21 Andreikin, Dmitry g FID 2729 0 1990
 22 Wei, Yi g CHN 2727 16 1999
 23 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi g IND 2723 0 1994
 24 Vitiugov, Nikita g FID 2722 6 1987
 25 Shankland, Sam g USA 2718 8 1991
 26 Van Foreest, Jorden g NED 2715 1 1999
 27 Yu, Yangyi g CHN 2710 6 1994
 28 Bu, Xiangzhi g CHN 2709 10 1985
 29 Esipenko, Andrey g FID 2709 6 2002
 30 Tomashevsky, Evgeny g RUS 2708 0 1987
 31 Harikrishna, Pentala g IND 2705 0 1986
 32 Vallejo Pons, Francisco g ESP 2704 0 1982
 33 Sevian, Samuel g USA 2703 4 2000
 34 Dubov, Daniil g RUS 2702 6 1996
 35 Fedoseev, Vladimir g FID 2701 0 1995
 36 Artemiev, Vladislav g RUS 2700 0 1998
 37 Maghsoodloo, Parham g IRI 2699 0 2000
 38 Adams, Michael g ENG 2698 0 1971
 39 Alekseenko, Kirill g FID 2698 0 1997
 40 Sjugirov, Sanan g RUS 2696 0 1993
 41 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw g POL 2696 0 1987
 42 Shirov, Alexei g ESP 2695 1 1972
 43 Sargissian, Gabriel g ARM 2694 11 1983
 44 Saric, Ivan g CRO 2693 17 1990
 45 Nyzhnyk, Illya g UKR 2692 9 1996
 46 Anton Guijarro, David g ESP 2691 11 1995
 47 Salem, A.R. Saleh g UAE 2690 0 1993
 48 Predke, Alexandr g FID 2688 6 1994
 49 Xiong, Jeffery g USA 2688 2 2000
 50 Amin, Bassem g EGY 2686 1 1988
 51 Oparin, Grigoriy g FID 2685 6 1997
 52 Volokitin, Andrei g UKR 2684 9 1986
 53 Robson, Ray g USA 2684 2 1994
 54 Svidler, Peter g RUS 2683 0 1976
 55 Navara, David g CZE 2682 12 1985
 56 Cheparinov, Ivan g BUL 2682 11 1986
 57 Jakovenko, Dmitry g RUS 2682 0 1983
 58 Eljanov, Pavel g UKR 2681 0 1983
 59 Li, Chao b g CHN 2679 0 1989
 60 Almasi, Zoltan g HUN 2677 0 1976
 61 Erigaisi Arjun g IND 2675 16 2003
 62 Sarana, Alexey g FID 2675 0 2000
 63 Kryvoruchko, Yuriy g UKR 2674 9 1986
 64 Kovalenko, Igor g UKR 2674 0 1988
 65 Matlakov, Maxim g RUS 2674 0 1991
 66 Santos Latasa, Jaime g ESP 2672 18 1996
 67 Korobov, Anton g UKR 2671 13 1985
 68 Deac, Bogdan-Daniel g ROU 2671 11 2001
 69 Jones, Gawain C B g ENG 2669 5 1987
 70 Guseinov, Gadir g AZE 2668 11 1986
 71 Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2668 2 1968
 72 Ni, Hua g CHN 2668 0 1983
 73 Areshchenko, Alexander g UKR 2667 11 1986
 74 Keymer, Vincent g GER 2667 6 2004
 75 Ma, Qun g CHN 2666 10 1991
 76 Swiercz, Dariusz g USA 2665 3 1994
 77 Bluebaum, Matthias g GER 2663 14 1997
 78 Narayanan.S.L g IND 2662 0 1998
 79 Kamsky, Gata g USA 2661 2 1974
 80 Abdusattorov, Nodirbek g UZB 2661 0 2004
 81 Gukesh D g IND 2659 25 2006
 82 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam g UZB 2659 1 1979
 83 Inarkiev, Ernesto g RUS 2659 0 1985
 84 Najer, Evgeniy g RUS 2659 0 1977
 85 Niemann, Hans Moke g USA 2656 18 2003
 86 Mamedov, Rauf g AZE 2656 0 1988
 87 Melkumyan, Hrant g ARM 2655 9 1989
 88 Tari, Aryan g NOR 2654 14 1999
 89 Berkes, Ferenc g HUN 2654 3 1985
 90 Demchenko, Anton g FID 2654 0 1987
 91 Naiditsch, Arkadij g AZE 2654 0 1985
 92 Mareco, Sandro g ARG 2653 18 1987
 93 Howell, David W L g ENG 2653 0 1990
 94 Martirosyan, Haik M. g ARM 2652 27 2000
 95 Pichot, Alan g ARG 2652 9 1998
 96 Malakhov, Vladimir g RUS 2652 0 1980
 97 Moussard, Jules g FRA 2651 20 1995
 98 Svane, Rasmus g GER 2651 14 1997
 99 Sasikiran, Krishnan g IND 2651 9 1981
 100 Tabatabaei, M. Amin g IRI 2650 8 2001
 101 Hou, Yifan g CHN 2650 0 1994

Grandmasters are ranked using the Elo system, given its name by its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian physicist and master chess player (talk about multi-talented!). Rather than a basic linear ranking system, this relies on statistical distribution to give an indicator of how likely a player is to succeed against opponents with similar or different rankings.

This system is seen as a touch outdated when measuring new players, as they typically have a higher chance of success that Elo’s system would allow, but it works quite well for grandmasters. This has been adopted by FIDE with a few adjustments, and you need a FIDE rating of over 2500 in order to be recognized as a grandmaster in chess.

How Many Women Chess Grandmasters Are There?

In February 2021, just 29 of the 1725 Grandmasters are women, The highest rated of them, Hou Yifan of China, the youngest ever female grandmaster, holding a standard rating of 2658. A rating that does not grab her a position in the top 100 Grandmasters right now.

Alongside the Grandmaster title, there is also a sometimes controversial, “Women’s Grandmaster [WGM] title, for which the qualification is around 200 points less than the official GM rating.

In some cases, and in particular, those of Antoaneta Stefanova [2470] and Pia Cramling [2459] the Women’s Grandmaster title is not a title they hold.

In the case of Cramling, a long-time proponent of the very top of chess’s elite insisted on playing in men’s tournaments and gained Grandmaster status in 1992, the Swede remains just behind Stefanova in the overall rankings. The Bulgarian only gained her Grandmaster status some 10 years later in 2002, becoming Women’s World Champion 2 years later in 2004 and peaking at #2 woman in 2003

The First Female Grandmaster

The first woman to be awarded the title of grandmaster by the FIDE was Nona Gaprindashvili, who achieved this rank at age 37. She has talked at length about people not taking women players seriously, and that in order to gain recognition like a man would you have to put in a lot more work.

This may have an unexpected impact on the Elo rating of female chess grandmasters, as you may have less peers at your level willing to take you seriously and accept your challenge as an opponent, causing your rating to stagnate.

FIDE has a different list of female grandmasters (WGM) as a separate title, which allows for more immediate recognition for women players (although these players are able to rank in the main list as well). Here are the FIDE’s top ranking female players as of 2021.

RankNameCountryFIDE Rank
1Hou Yifan CHN2658
2Aleksandra Goryachkina  RUS2593
3Humpy Koneru  IND2586
4Wenjun Ju  CHN2560
5Kateryna Lagno  RUS2546
6Mariya Muzychuk  UKR2544
7Viktorija Cmilyte  LTU2538
8Anna Muzychuk  UKR2535
9Nana Dzagnidze  GEO2524
10Dronavalli Harika  IND2515

In some lists, you will find female players with both GM and WGM suffixes to indicate both titles. on occasion, and as is the case with Antoaneta Stefanova [2470] and Pia Cramling [2459], you’ll find GM only.

Who is The Youngest Grandmaster in Chess?

The youngest Grandmaster is a title that doesn’t change very often. In the male class, it is a very close call whilst in the female grandmaster class, the current highest-rated woman Hou Yifan replaced Judit Polgár for that honor.

Current Youngest Grandmaster

The Youngest current Grandmaster is Abhimanyu Mishra from New Jersey in the USA, who in 2021 became the youngest ever.

Youngest Ever to Become Chess Grandmaster

Abhimanyu Mishra the American chess prodigy from New Jersey has become the youngest ever grandmaster in chess in 2021 aged just 12 years, 4 months, 25 days, beating Sergey Karjakin who had held the title of youngest since 2002

Sergey Karjakin was the youngest ever player to be attributed with Chess Grandmaster status having achieved the feat at the age of 12 years, 7 months and 0 days. Just 17 days quicker than Gukesh Dommaraju but has lost that title after hanging onto it for some 19 years with Abhimanyu Mishra now the proud owner of the label.

There is some evidence to suggest that chess players play the best between 35-45 years of age, but players are getting better younger and younger.

The average age of a Grandmaster is 32.9 years old

List of Youngest Chess GMs In History


1950 David Bronstein Soviet Union 26 years
1952 Tigran Petrosian Soviet Union 23 years
1955 Boris Spassky Soviet Union 18 years
1958 Bobby Fischer United States 15 years, 6 months, 1 day
1991 Judit Polgár Hungary 15 years, 4 months, 28 days
1994 Péter Lékó Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
1997 Étienne Bacrot France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
1997 Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
1999 Bu Xiangzhi China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
2002 Sergey Karjakin Ukraine 12 years, 7 months, 0 days
2021 Abhimanyu Mishra United States 12 years, 4 months, 25 days

Which Country has the most Chess Grandmasters?

With 108 Russia has the greatest number of Active Chess Grandmasters followed by The United States and Germany filling the third spot. If considering the populace the Czech Republic, Armenia and Georgie have more Grandmasters per capita than any other country.

NameTitleTr.T.FedStd.Rpd.Blz.B-Year
Nepomniachtchi, IanGMRUSRUS2773282127401990
Karjakin, SergeyGMRUSRUS2747273626111990
Grischuk, AlexanderGMRUSRUS2742275927621983
Tomashevsky, EvgenyGMRUSRUS2708263126951987
Dubov, DaniilGMRUSRUS2702271227911996
Artemiev, VladislavGMRUSRUS2700269028111998
Sjugirov, SananGMRUSRUS2696257826021993
Svidler, PeterGMRUSRUS2683275227251976
Jakovenko, DmitryGMRUSRUS2682268426251983
Matlakov, MaximGMRUSRUS2674267126691991
Najer, EvgeniyGMFSTRUSRUS2659259025621977
Inarkiev, ErnestoGMRUSRUS2659267826391985
Rakhmanov, AleksandrGMFTRUSRUS2640263325001989
Rublevsky, SergeiGMFSTRUSRUS2637263025911974
Riazantsev, AlexanderGMRUSRUS2634257325951985
Popov, IvanGMRUSRUS2629261625781990
Ponkratov, PavelGMRUSRUS2624249324871988
Dreev, AlekseyGMRUSRUS2623259626251969
Paravyan, DavidGMRUSRUS2617263625691998
Khismatullin, DenisGMRUSRUS2616253225431984
Grachev, BorisGMRUSRUS2615263825551986
Khairullin, IldarGMRUSRUS2615267126571990
Goryachkina, AleksandraGM WGMRUSRUS2610247324261998
Sakaev, KonstantinGMRUSRUS2603251026321974
Lysyj, IgorGMFSTRUSRUS2603252426111987
Zvjaginsev, VadimGMRUSRUS2599248826011976
Kobalia, MikhailGMFSTRUSRUS2596250726671978
Alekseev, EvgenyGMRUSRUS2591260026061985
Shimanov, AleksandrGMRUSRUS2581261626051992
Shomoev, AntonGMRUSRUS2576255524991981
Kokarev, DmitryGMRUSRUS2576254625951982
Timofeev, ArtyomGMRUSRUS2574257125941985
Bocharov, IvanGMRUSRUS2571257026201990
Lintchevski, DaniilGMRUSRUS2571252525831990
Demidov, MikhailGMRUSRUS2571252525251992
Potkin, VladimirGMFSTRUSRUS2571254724301982
Afanasiev, NikitaGMRUSRUS2567255825042000
Goganov, AlekseyGMRUSRUS2561252225521991
Petrov, NikitaGMRUSRUS2560250725291996
Kryakvin, DmitryGMRUSRUS2556241024221984
Lagno, KaterynaGM WGMRUSRUS2550253125221989
Vavulin, MaximGMRUSRUS2550247925441998
Rychagov, AndreyGMRUSRUS2549247925001979
Pridorozhni, AlekseiGMRUSRUS2549254725811981
Stukopin, AndreyGMRUSRUS2546256124501994
Moiseenko, VadimGMRUSRUS2542249624781994
Lomasov, SemyonGMRUSRUS2542257624452002
Kharitonov, AlexandrGMRUSRUS2542257324651986
Shariyazdanov, AndreyGMRUSRUS2541236024071976
Iljiushenok, IliaGMRUSRUS2540245124891993
Popov, ValerijGMRUSRUS2537252125231974
Sychev, KlementyGMRUSRUS2537248925641996
Sorokin, AlekseyGMRUSRUS2535256124762000
Tsydypov, ZhamsaranGMRUSRUS2533257426141996
Matsenko, SergeiGMRUSRUS2530250524811990
Novikov, StanislavGMRUSRUS2528240323701985
Yemelin, VasilyGMRUSRUS2526251124561976
Belous, VladimirGMRUSRUS2525262325341993
Lobanov, SergeiGMRUSRUS2524243325242001
Savchenko, BorisGMRUSRUS2524260525571986
Khegay, DmitriyGMRUSRUS2523248024571997
Rozum, IvanGMRUSRUS2522255025241991
Frolyanov, DmitryGMRUSRUS2521245323781986
Mozharov, MikhailGMRUSRUS2521246223051990
Epishin, VladimirGMRUSRUS2517247924731965
Shaposhnikov, EvgenyGMRUSRUS2517251125731981
Bocharov, DmitryGMRUSRUS2516256625411982
Drygalov, AndreyGMRUSRUS2510246125401999
Volkov, SergeyGMRUSRUS2510256824751974
Moskalenko, AlexanderGMRUSRUS2508251124341988
Kornev, AlexeiGMRUSRUS2500252324921976
Burmakin, VladimirGMRUSRUS2495240425131967
Levin, Evgeny A.GMRUSRUS2495255624601990
Zakhartsov, VladimirGMRUSRUS2487253324281997
Chernobay, ArtemGMRUSRUS2484246124731989
Potapov, PavelGMRUSRUS2481245923441990
Gabrielian, ArturGMRUSRUS2480245024401982
Gunina, ValentinaGM WGMRUSRUS2471242123811989
Yudin, SergeiGMRUSRUS2469246026001986
Kabanov, NikolaiGMRUSRUS2467237223041980
Belozerov, AndreiGMRUSRUS2462243723201977
Vorobiov, Evgeny E.GMRUSRUS2457247524761976
Bryakin, MikhailGMRUSRUS2456241624171997
Sveshnikov, EvgenyGMRUSRUS2456232722551950
Novikov, MaximGMRUSRUS2443247424091972
Iskusnyh, SergeiGMRUSRUS2443243424921974
Iljushin, AlexeiGMRUSRUS2442247724621980
Rashkovsky, Nukhim NGMRUSRUS2441239824861946
Dvoirys, Semen I.GMRUSRUS2439237123371958
Matinian, NikitaGMRUSRUS2435234124221992
Bezgodov, AlexeiGMRUSRUS2431238723831969
Potapov, AlexanderGMRUSRUS2425231522551969
Ulybin, MikhailGMRUSRUS2423233622261971
Balashov, Yuri SGMFSTRUSRUS2417234522831949
Chernyshov, KonstantinGMRUSRUS240924881967
Girya, OlgaGM WGMRUSRUS2408229722751991
Gleizerov, EvgenyGMRUSRUS2408240623771963
Lugovskoy, MaximGMRUSRUS2400247324291996
Tishin, PetrGMRUSRUS2396232522651976
Karpatchev, AleksandrGMRUSRUS2393245823381967
Nevostrujev, VladimirGMRUSRUS2392239624741966
Raetsky, AlexanderGMFTRUSRUS2384234422011961
Solozhenkin, EvgeniyGMRUSRUS2373232824331966
Alavkin, ArsenyGMRUSRUS2373238523801969
Yagupov, IgorGMFTRUSRUS2303227221531965
Naumkin, IgorGMRUSRUS2266225320701965
Pushkov, NikolaiGMRUSRUS2232203521871946
Vul, Arkadi EremeevichGMRUSRUS2181195920571953

With chess part of the national curriculum in schools in Russia and many of the former Soviet states it is no wonder we find them at the top and the former states in lofty positions within the Top 100 Countries for Grandmasters.

So there is 1 Chess Grandmaster for every 562500 Russians.

That is fairly good density when looking at India for instance. 5th in terms of number of Grandmasters, against their colossal 1366,000,000 population, which equate to just 1 in 21million!

Most Grandmasters in Chess per Capita?

Iceland produces the most chess grandmasters per capita with 14 grandmasters accounting for 1 in every 25,000 Icelanders. They are 44th in the table of top grandmaster nations, and just beat Czech Republic in 14th in the top 100, with 36 GM’s, accounting for 1 in 27,733. The Czechs have the highest density in the top 20 list.

These figures were sourced in February 2021, an up to date list of grandmasters by country can be found on the Federations Ranking Page on the FIDE website.

Become a Grandmaster Yourself

So, now it is time for you to work towards gaining a 2500 ranking and becoming a Grandmaster. It’s no easy feat. It takes more than 3 years to become a Grandmaster in Chess once you are on the radar and many more years to get to that level.

As we have seen, the Grandmaster title has been achieved as young as Twelve, but according to PNAS, who produced a paper called, ‘Life cycle patterns of cognitive performance over the long run‘ using chess for its research, Grandmasters show peak performance between the ages of 35-45.

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