Male chess players refuse to quit longer when their opponent is a woman

The King’s College study states: “Men quit more quickly – after fewer trips – against other men than against women.

“The men continue to play against the women even when they would quit if they played against men.”

He adds: “Men’s increased willingness to compete stems from a psychological cost to men of losing to a woman.”

The study, published in the journal Quantitative Economic, used data from games involving more than 14,000 players from 154 different national chess federations, and took into account historical attitudes towards women in the chess community.

Fischer and Kasparov

Bobby Fischer said of female chess players: “They are stupid compared to men. They shouldn’t play chess,” and fellow grandmaster Garry Kasparov once wrote that “every component of chess belongs to the realms of male dominance.”

Co-author of the King’s College study, Dr Santiago Sanchez-Pages, believes that the tendency for women to perform worse against men than against other female players stems in part from stereotypical expectations of female abilities.

She said: ‘We suspect the underlying mechanism is some form of stereotype threat – when people are assessed on a task where the group they belong to is stereotyped negatively, they perform worse.

“Even if they want to prove the stereotypes wrong, the fact that they might have these thoughts already tests their cognition.”

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