Photo: karpidis on flickr
The St. Louis Fed recently posted a huge archive of economic papers. One of the papers that caught our eye was “Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess.”It turns out men take risks to impress pretty women even in something as cerebral as chess. And when they take risks, they are more likely to lose.
Specifically men are more likely to use risky openings, which have a higher probability of win or loss versus a draw. Women seem not to be affected when they play an attractive woman (and the study did not test for attractive men).
The following chart shows the results when men and women played against an attractive woman with an equal chess rating. Men were significantly more likely to lose within 40 moves; after reaching the midgame their odds improved. Women showed a wide range of results without any significant conclusions.
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