Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess

36 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2010 Last revised: 16 Nov 2010

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Christer Gerdes

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Patrik Gransmark

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

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Date Written: November 15, 2010

Abstract

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

Dreber, Anna and Gerdes, Christer and Gransmark, Patrik, Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess (November 15, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1697533 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1697533

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Christer Gerdes

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Patrik Gransmark (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

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