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They say that there are currently about 1500 grandmasters. I was wondering how many chess players currently have "grandmaster strength".

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The website 2700chess.com has a database with the FIDE ratings (from May 1st, 2019). Their search form only offers the option to show the top 50 or 100 players satisfying the search results, but it's possible to modify the submit request and ask for the top 5000 instead. When I do that, I get 808 results:

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So the other 700 must have ratings lower than 2500 or have stopped playing competitive chess altogether.

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    It takes one year of no rated games to be considered inactive for purposes of the ratings list, by the way. – D M May 26 at 16:45
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Using the official FIDE rating lists, there are 954 players with above 2500 ELO. Currently, FIDE has awarded 1668 players the title of "Grandmaster". Filtering out inactive players, there are 1334 GMs and 729 players with "grandmaster strength".

There are GMs with a current ELO as low as 2138.

Keep in mind that titles can be awarded for achieving certain placements at tournaments (direct titles) and that the ELO of a player may vary considerably over time.

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