(Roughly) Daily

Queen takes Knight; checkmate…

Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia, Grandmaster and Women’s World Chess Champion (source)

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.

From a recent IZA research paper “Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess” (pdf download here).  Via Tyler Cowan at Marginal Revolution.

As we are reminded by headlines (today as everyday) that chess is a metaphor for life, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor CH, was elected to Parliament.  She was the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.

Lady Astor, as painted ten years before her election by John Singer Sargeant (source)

Constance Georgine Markiewicz was actually the first woman elected to Parliament, one year earlier.  But Countess Markiewicz was a staunch Irish patriot who refused to take her seat.  Rather, along with other Sinn Féin TDs, she formed the first Dáil Éireann, and subsequently became one of the first women in the world to hold a national cabinet position (Minister of Labor).

Countess Markiewicz (source)

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