Thursday, 21 April 2016

Tell me how it really happened II

One other thing relating to that interview with Leontxo García and Miguel Illescas that we were looking at, a little sceptically, yesterday.

In the eighties, there were fifty million keen chess players in the Soviet Union.
Were there? That sounds like a lot to me.

The piece states:
En los años 80 la extinguida URSS contaba con más de cinco millones de ajedrecistas federados y unos 50 millones de personas practicaban el ajedrez con asiduidad, promovido como deporte nacional
which means
In the Eighties, the former USSR could boast more than five million registered chess players while around fifty million people were keen players, chess being promoted as the national sport.
Maybe. I don't have a copy of Soltis but I can find this passage on Google Books

which has 3.6 million registered players, not quite five million but close enough for the latter figure to be at least plausible at some point.

But another forty-five million players - keen players, not people who knew the rules and used to play at school, but "practicaban el ajedrez con asiduidad" - is there any statistical evidence to back this up? How many people did play chess in the Soviet Union?


Anonymous said...

It seems like they simple guess arrived at by multiplying the figure by 10. Unlikely that a survey took place.
--theblueweasel (Still blue, still a weasel)

Anonymous said...

I think chess should be the national pastime in USSR, not sport.