FIDE has just published the May 2020 rating list which brings the ratings up to date for games played in April. The rating file can be downloaded from the FIDE download page.

Many countries have locked down some time in April (due to the current pandemic) and chess is no longer played. Some countries haven't locked down and chess may still being played. How has this affected the numbers?

A short explanation of how FIDE counts games.

Suppose I have a rating and I play two games, one against Jim Unrated and one against Jane Rated and I draw both games.

In Jim Unrated's record his game against me will be recorded because if he has enough games and reached a high enough level then his game against me will be used to calculate his rating. Even if he didn't qualify yet it will still be recorded to be used to calculate his first rating sometime in the future.

In Jane Rated's record her game against me will, of course, be recorded. The result will be used to calculate her rating adjustment.

In my record the game against Jane will be recorded because that affects my rating but the one against Jim won't be. He is unrated so our game won't affect my rating.

So, between the three of us we played 2 games but that will be recorded as 3 "half games".

I have some statistical questions regarding these “half-games.”

1) How many half-games of standard time control were played in April?

2) How many half-games of rapid were played in April?

3) How many half-games of blitz were played in April?

4) How do these numbers compare to March?

Note that some chess was played in April. For instance the Nigerian national championships was played. It was a 10 player all-play-all which started on 30th March and finished on 3rd April.

Sweden is also a country where there has been no lockdown and (some) chess has continued. Here is an example of a tournament which is played over several months but in any case lasting more than 90 days (looks like a club tournament where one round is played per month, started in October 2019) Round 7 of Horndal KM 201920 played on 15th April.


2 Answers 2


Fascinating question. I computed the stats for each individual file (Standard, Rapid and Blitz) downloaded from the FIDE download page.

I added up the number of games reported for each FIDE player for each control time and list.

Standard Time Control

  • 145,618 games played in and reported in the April list.
  • Only 9,946 games played in standard time control and reported in the May list!


  • 54,192 games played and reported in the April list.
  • Only 1,446 games and reported in the May list!


  • 24,514 games played and reported in the April list.
  • only 1,005 games and reported in the May list!

Regarding games played in April 2020.

The round 7 of Horndal KM 201920 has indeed been played on 15th April. However, the Nigerian national championships were played in March. See the report of the Nigerian Chess Federation.


As I said in an earlier answer I've built a database with downloaded data from Olimpbase and FIDE to allow me to do data mining. To answer this question I downloaded the latest (May 1st) rating list and loaded the data into my database and ran a few queries.

These are the results I get for Sum(Games) for April and May for Standard, Rapid and Blitz:

April Standard: 164531
May Standard: 10295

April Rapid: 68490
May Rapid: 1550

April Blitz: 56683
May Blitz: 1341

Interesting to note the small differences between my figures and Kortchnoi's.

I download the XML format file from the section on the download page where it says:

Download full list of players (not rated included) STD, RPD, BLZ combined TXT format (01 May 2020, Sz: 21.11 MB) | XML format (01 May 2020, Sz: 23.77 MB)

I suspect Kortchnoi is downloading the individual files from where it says:

Download STANDARD rating list TXT format (01 May 2020, Sz: 7.92 MB) | XML format (01 May 2020, Sz: 8.55 MB)

Download RAPID rating list TXT format (01 May 2020, Sz: 4.28 MB) | XML format (01 May 2020, Sz: 4.58 MB)

Download BLITZ rating list TXT format (01 May 2020, Sz: 3.15 MB) | XML format (01 May 2020, Sz: 3.38 MB)

Before this I always thought the main difference between the data sets was that the full set I download and use also includes the FIDE online Arena players as well. It looks as if the individual files miss out on some of the data.


To explore how many of these tournaments that were reported in the May list were actually played at least partly in April I looked at the players in the May list who are recorded as having played some games. There were 181, which is too many to list but it is worth looking at their federations.

Fed - Number of players with Games > 0

NCA 22
NGR 14
PER 33
POR 38
RUS 59

These players played in tournaments in 6 countries which, not surprisingly, correspond to the federations with the most number of players in this list.

Here are the federations with links to the FIDE page for the FIDE tournaments for May for each federation together with a list of the blitz tournaments for that federation, again with links.

1er Torneo Blitz Nicaragua 2020, played - 15/3, reported - 13/4

Note, there was a rapid III Torneo Academia de Ajedrez Julio Ramirez de Arellano 2020 which was played from 18th to 19th April and reported on 28/4

DR NIYI ORIOLOWO NATIONAL BLITZ CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP, played - 29/3, reported - 31/3 (impressively quick reporting by the Nigerians)

II IRT TORNEO BLITZ CLUB DE AJEDREZ WANKA 2020, played - 8/3, reported - 30/4 (taking "manyana" to South American extremes)

Portugal - 5 tournaments all played on 8/3, reported - 21/4
CD Rapidas Jovens Porto 2019-20 - U10,
D Rapidas Jovens Porto 2019-20 - U12 U14,
CD Rapidas Jovens Porto 2019-20 - U16,
CD Rapidas Jovens Porto 2019-20 - U18 U20,
CD Rapidas Veteranos Porto 2019-20

CHESS PLAZA_March Blitz, played - 9/3, reported - 3/4
Perm blitz 17-03-2020, played - 17/3, reported - 4/4
Initsiativa club march blitz, played - 29/3, reported - 8/4

Kristianstad Pasksnabben 2020, played - 13/4, registered - 13/4

So, only one Swedish blitz tournament was actually played in April although a couple of tournaments were played close enough to the end of March to justify reporting in April. There was also one rapid I spotted in passing played in April in Nicaragua.

Looking at Sweden in general there looks to be lots of league chess still being played at standard time control. Interestingly there was one standard tournament played in April in Russia that I noticed - Bratsk championship 2020, 11 round standard time control.

It will be interesting to do a similar analysis on the 1st June to see if any other countries are joining Sweden, or even if Sweden continues.

  • 2
    Yes, that's exactly what I did, I downloaded the individual files. I'm also intrigued by the difference.
    – Kortchnoi
    May 1, 2020 at 22:51

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