Good spot Rog.
The Chessbase article on the FIDE campaign to be accepted as a sport at the 2024 Olympics is, as it says, a translation of a piece, in German, by Conrad Schormann, on the blog Perlen Vom Bodensee. It has appended to it, though, the text of a FIDE press release
whch as Roger observed, makes our favourite claim, and does so in two places.
We'll just note in passing the date on that press release (12 February, the day before the Chessbase piece) and the fact that it invites us to contact a Véronique Revoy who among other things is General Secretary of the French Chess Federation.
I took up that invitation and last Friday I swapped a few emails with Mme Revoy.
Just for once, I'll not bore you with the whole exchange, but suffice to say that when I, ever-so-slightly-disingenously, asked where the figure came from, she drew my attention to a press release from 2012. I say "drew my attention" but my attention had in fact been drawn to precisely the same press release, a long time ago.
That's from here - a piece which, in my turn, I drew to Mme Revoy's attention. She thanked me and asked me if I had any alternative figure in mind. I said I didn't.
Anyway, I thought nothing more of it until writing the matter up this weekend, when I looked for the press release on the FIDE website. I found it here. Or maybe I didn't, because it's not the same one. Well it is, and it isn't.
It's dated 15 rather than 12 February, the text is pretty different and most importantly for our purposes, neither reference to 600 million is present. So that's all good.
All good, but odd all the same, since if we Google a phrase from the press release in the Chessbase article - say "are determined to see chess join the Paris 2024 Games" - we get the very press release, on the same FIDE page, that no longer includes the phrase. (Or the claims about 600 million players.)
I'm not particularly bothered by this - I mostly just mention it for the historical record - and more than anything else, I'm pleased that the 600 million number has disappeared.
Let us hope we never see it again.