Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess
36 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2010 Last revised: 16 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 15, 2010
In this study we explore the relationship between attractiveness and risk taking in chess. We examine whether people use riskier strategies when playing with attractive opponents, whether this affects performance, and whether there are gender differences in the reaction to an attractive opponent. We use a large international panel dataset on chess competitions which includes a control for the players’ skill in chess. We combine this data with results from a large survey on an online labor market where participants were asked to rate the photos of 626 expert chess players. Our results suggest that male chess players choose significantly riskier strategies when playing against an attractive female opponent, although this does not improve their performance. Women’s strategies are not affected by the attractiveness of the opponent.
Keywords: risk taking, attractiveness, aggressiveness, chess, gender differences
JEL Classification: D03, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation