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Chess variants hit counter for readers interested in fairy chess

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Please click on this blog entry if at all interested in chess variants (fairy chess). I'm looking for a crude (if rather low) worldwide estimate of such people. Included below are links/info/thoughts about chess variants that may be of some interest.

1st link: (free membership):

Note that for 2016, the webmaster informs me that the main site for has been getting in the neighborhood of 50,000 unique visitors each month, with something in the neighborhood of 80,000 visits each month. Note also this site has, e.g., lists of some chess variant applets & programs.

2nd link: re: a free chess variants playing software package (e.g. includes my possibly somewhat computer-resistant 10x10 Sac Chess variant: large # legal moves + heuristics) plus links re: 2 fairy chess servers, 10x10 boards & a China-based manufacturer of customized chess equipment:

3rd link: re: multi-player game clocks:

The long paragraph below is part of a post I gave on The Chess Variant Pages (CVP), which has Game Courier for assisting email play:

I think to play offline a lot of people who need fairy chess pieces or non-8x8 boards for given variant(s) might not like trying to craft their own equipment, if not feeling terribly able to. Such equipment would come in handy for founding clubs for 1 or more variants to be played, besides for play, study or enjoyment in the home. I still feel uninitiated in fairy chess, but it seems that, luckily, only a relatively small number of fairy piece types or non-8x8 boards are at all popular with the public, at present, not counting commercial variants (are these at all popular on the whole?). Figurines of the B&N plus R&N compound piece types (of various names), plus Unicorn figurines (e.g. for 3D Chess), alone, should cover a lot of variants that are sufficiently popular at the moment that require fairy chess pieces, and, for boards, 10x10 (Grand Chess), 10x8 (Capablanca Chess), 91-cell Hexagonal, 16x4 Circular, 5x5x5 3D, plus 3-player & 4-player chess variant boards (such as made in China, as seen in a link I gave earlier), should largely satisfy public demand for now, I'd hazard to guess, without doing a lot of research. Less popular fairy piece types or non-8x8 board sizes and/or shapes, such as found perhaps mainly online (e.g. on CVP) could begin to be mass produced proportionally to the need that arises, with possible exceptions made for, e.g., proven top-50 Game Courier variants that use such. The problem is how to start the ball rolling, by somehow encouraging manufacturers to do more.

In trying to speculate about how many people worldwide might be inclined to take up almost any sort of chess variant(s) seriously, if an organization for such existed (aside from chess, shogi, Chinese chess, Thai chess or Korean chess, which have their own organizations), I came up with a way to try to estimate the total number of people (x) who may play or enjoy such variants worldwide (i.e. seriously or not so seriously, at the moment at least). The answer's probably off by a lot, but my calculation may be worth a chuckle:

There's about 605,000,000 people who play chess worldwide (seriously or otherwise) according to FIDE. Let's say that almost all people who take up chess variants first learn how to play chess. The number of serious chessplayers with FIDE ratings, alone, was about 170,000 circa 2013, I saw on the web.

Let's assume that most of the people worldwide who are serious about chess variants are members on (which has pages in languages besides English), i.e. about 3,400 currently. From that I can now solve for x in an equation where

170,000/605,000,000 = 3400/x

to obtain the answer that x = 12,100,000 people worldwide who take chess variants seriously or just for fun at present. Note around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today, so perhaps my estimate may not be far off even considering that.

[edit: Below's a link that may be of some interest; for 2015 about 3% of all games played on the FICS chess server were chess variants (of the limited choices available, some of which I can't tell since they're called 'wild'), which is very slightly better than I'd expect based on my estimate of chess players interested in variants worldwide (i.e. about 2%, which it pretty much is for stats for 'All Years').]

Updated 07-01-2017 at 02:44 PM by Kevin Pacey

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Chess variants