For a long time the country with the largest number of FIDE rated players in the world was Germany. This fact was often greeted with surprise, as a lot of people simply assumed that Russia would easily be number 1. But it isn't just the number of players that contribute to this stat, but the number of organisers. While Russia has lost of players they seem to have less FIDE rated events.
Now it seems that even Germany has been overtaken, by India and France. Currently both countries share the lead (with 35,200 rated players) but based on recent trends India will soon hold the outright lead. It does help to have (a) a billion people and (b) the current World Champion, but it still requires tournaments to be organised to get players into the system.
I'll have to do a bit of digging to find the rest of the rankings, and I suspect there will be other surprises hidden in there. Apart from bragging rights, it may reveal just who are real chess countries and who just think they are!