Sorry, more de-railing from the original topic, but:
Mick Norris wrote:
it was January 2013 when I got this email
My name is Peter Backus and I am a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Manchester. I am currently working on a research project about how men and women compete with each other and we are using data from chess games to test some theories. Our initial results are interesting, suggesting that women are more likely to lose when they play against a man. I must confess, however, that I am, as are my co-authors, almost completely ignorant when it comes to the game of chess itself.
he had relatively recently arrived from the University of Barcelona (presumably for the better weather here)
I looked up Dr B and found that they had published a version of their chess work (or at least put it on a web repository
There is a growing literature looking at how men and women respond differently to competition. We contribute to this literature by studying gender differences in performance in a high-stakes and male dominated competitive environment, expert chess tournaments. Our findings show that women underperform compared to men of the same ability and that the gender composition of games drives this effect. Using within player variation in the conditionally random gender of their opponent, we find that women earn significantly worse outcomes against male opponents. We examine the mechanisms through which this effect operates by using a unique measure of within game quality of play. We find that the gender composition effect is driven by women playing worse against men, rather than by men playing better against women. The gender of the opponent does not affect a male player’s quality of play. We also find that men persist longer against women before resigning. These results suggest that the gender composition of competitions affects the behavior of both men and women in ways that are detrimental to the performance of women. Lastly, we study the effect of competitive pressure and find that players’ quality of play deteriorates when stakes increase, though we find no differential effect over the gender composition of games.
It is actually an interesting read in the context of the ongoing discussions (other threads) re. women chess players. Their headline conclusion is that woman players in their sample (a big sample of players rated FIDE 2000 or better, with an average rating of 2350) performed"30 FIDE rating points worse on average"
against male players than they did against other female players.
I think the authors must have found some expert chess-playing help (perhaps among their Spanish/Catalan or Slovenian co-authors or friends?) as the chess-related bits are sensibly done. E.g. the data they analyse are games taken from TWICs PGN files:
We use the PGN files published by TWIC for 2012 and the first six months of 2013 giving us information from 79,242 games played by 14,056 players from 154 national federations
- and the exclusions they use for the analysis (players rated <2000, games <15 moves) are also logical in a chess context. Finally, their "unique measure of within game quality of play"
is a statistic they compute by comparing the moves a player makes in the middle-game (moves 15-30) with the top engine suggestions, in some ways a little bit reminiscent of what the anti-computer assistance detectors are doing. Anyway, an interesting contribution to the 'chess players and gender' discussion.