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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Men's chess more risky against beautiful women, says research paper

Chess news and chess trivia blog (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2010

Hi Everyone,

It's another of those gender things.

We found this very interesting paper on the Internet at the Gearybehaviourcenter. It says when men play chess against an attractive woman, they tend to adopt riskier strategies. However, women are not influenced by the looks of their male opponents while playing chess!

An abstract of the paper titled "Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess" states: We explore the relationship between attractiveness and risk taking in chess. We use a large international panel dataset on chess competitions which includes a control for the players' skill in chess. This data is combined with results from a survey on an online labor market where participants were asked to rate the photos of 626 expert chess players according to attractiveness. Our results suggest that male chess players choose significantly riskier strategies when playing against an attractive female opponent, even though this does not improve their performance. Women's strategies are not affected by the attractiveness of the opponent."

In chess, the term aggressive play is used when indicating a strategy that reduces the
drawing probability while the term solid play is used to indicate a strategy that reduces the
winning/losing probabilities.

You can read the full paper here. The credit for the research goes to Anna Dreber, Christer Gerdes and Patrik Gränsmark. It's kind of technical but you will enjoy it.

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  • At November 28, 2010 at 8:33 AM , Anonymous Sushant Sharma, New Delhi said...

    Oh goodness I don't want my girlfriend reading this. Every time I return from a tournament she will analyse my games against women and accuse me of flirting if I played a sharp game. Wink.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 8:34 AM , Anonymous Aniruddha Pathan, Nepal said...

    I play more cautiously against beautiful women because they are more dangerous (at chess)! No risk-taking moves against any woman actually - definitely not the Russians.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 8:55 AM , Anonymous Sushant Sharma, New Delhi said...

    It's a myth that women are weaker at chess. It's just that fewer women have the opportunity to play chess. Come to my club and some regular girls will beat you with one hand tied. Wink. It's just that these women seem to be busy with professions and things beyond professional chess.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 8:58 AM , Anonymous Sebastian Wolff, Maryland said...

    Yes I agree men get a little upset about losing to women so maybe they try to go all out to win. Maybe, they want to show off before beautiful women or maybe an attacking chess move works like a great pick-up line. It's more an ego thing which is more individual maybe. A man would possibly get equally upset losing to another guy. Not sure.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 8:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I take any risk with any beautiful woman. Not just chess. Thank you.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 9:22 AM , Anonymous Virendra K. Anand, New Delhi said...

    I agree it's an ego thing with most men when it comes to chess with women not matter what their looks but the flip side is that we as men also make our daughters and sisters so strong at chess! So, like in all aspects of life, it's not a gender thing but an individual thing. My daughter always says the best things I gave her was chess.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 9:24 AM , Anonymous derrick fanthome, new delhi, india said...

    My mom taught me chess, my sister helped me become strong and I taught my wife chess. And, when it comes to a game, we go mercilessly at each other's throats. We fight for every square. You bet it's fun. Whose ego, who cares? It's the sheer joy of chess. I don't know about tournament play though.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 9:26 AM , Anonymous Henry Thomas, London said...

    Even if I am world champion (no harm intended against Vishy Anand) I would be willing to let absolutely any beautiful woman win against me. Wouldn't you? I am only 25. Maybe, it's an age thing.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 9:31 AM , Anonymous Jasper Mark, Wellington said...

    See if it's a tournament I would risk anything depending upon the points situation - woman or guy. But yeah otherwise, I would agree with @Henry. I would just be willing to let any lady win. Heh Heh.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 9:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Guess Judith Polgar would be able to answer our queries on this subject best!

  • At November 28, 2010 at 10:11 AM , Anonymous Jason Petersons, Australia said...

    I love chess, I love women, I love taking risks in life - not my fault.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Agree with anonymous. Guess Judith has faced the most number of male opponents than any other woman chess player I suppose.

  • At November 28, 2010 at 11:37 AM , Anonymous remi online said...

    this problem is not only in chess, it's everywhere, that's what happens when you have a goodlooking opponent..


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