Hi everyone,

welcome to the January 2023 edition of #fridaygeotrivia!

This question was played on Friday, 27th of January at 17:00 Berlin time, 4pm London time, 11am New York time.

As always, after the game is over we post the answers and winners here on the blog. See below for how to play.

The January 2023 geotrivia question:

This month we return to the idea of country chains (a topic we last visited in May 2022). This time we contemplate the topic of population.

What is the longest chain of countries such that each country in the chain shares a land border with the next and has a higher population than the next?

Let’s look at a simple example: Germany has a higher population than the Netherlands which in turn has a higher population than Belgium which has a higher population than Luxembourg. And there we have to stop, since the only possible next link is France which has a much larger population than Luxembourg.


So our chain is four: 🇩🇪 Germany - 🇳🇱Netherlands - 🇧🇪 Belgium - 🇱🇺 Luxembourg

Who can find a longer chain? You may find the Wikipedia list of country populations helpful.

Remember: to get the points you need the #fridaygeotrivia hashtag AND the emoji flag(s) of the country. And only one answer per response.


#fridaygeotrivia is a game with two prizes:

  1. the sheer joy of geographic knowledge and pedantry.

  2. the bragging rights of getting the answer first.

The #fridaygeotrivia Mastodon thread:

The winner

This month we have a tie between Ciarán Ferrie and the mastodon user known simply as rubpec (who also tied for the win last month!), who each found two chains of 10.

This month’s geotrivia answer:

Four chains of 10 were discovered:
  • CN - IN - PK - IR - TR - GR - BG - MK - XK - ME
  • CN - RU - UA - RO - HU - RS - BG - MK - XK - ME
  • CN - IN - PK - IR - TR - IQ - SY - JO - IL - LB
  • CN - IN - PK - IR - TR - IQ - SY - JO - IL - PS
yes, of course we know XK is not an official ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code, but it is widely recognized

How to play

Anyone can join in, you just need a Mastodon account.

  • Follow us on Mastodon, our account is @opencage@en.osm.town

  • When the game starts we will post the question here on the blog and on Mastodon, and will embed the Mastodon question here. We highly recommend using a mastodon client you feel comfortable with. We’ve made the switch to the Elk client and are loving it, but use whatever works for you.

  • Reply to the question thread on Mastodon (it will be embedded above) using the hashtag #fridaygeotrivia in your answer.

  • Only one answer per response (don’t stuff multiple answers into a single reply).

  • Our definition of “country” is usually (it depends on the question) any place with an ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code. Read more background about ISO and country codes in our guide.

  • To get full points for an answer it is good form not just to name the relevant country but (if possible) to include the emoji flags of the country.

  • While you can use a map, please do NOT use the internet to just search for an answer. That is cheating and will lead to seriously bad geokarma.

Some people have complained that the format is a bit chaotic and hard to follow. Yes. The mad chaos is part of the fun. Embrace it. The goal is just to have fun and learn. We win by playing

Thanks for playing,