Chess psychometrics – The length of games

One of the easiest metrics to extract from chess databases is the number of moves certain games contain on average. This can be seen as a measure of grit – both the determination to beat the other player even if it takes 7h and 120 moves to do so, and also the ability to hang in there and defend bad positions for a long time to save the draw.

Unfortunately at the same time it can also be a measure of caution: Very aggressively played games tend to be short, such is the nature of risk taking.

Nevertheless, we take the opportunity to shine further light onto the male-female over-the-board-relationship. For this little investigation we look at the length of games between women and men, men and men, and finally women and women. We use a different method here to identify female players. Instead to trying to connect the players to the Fide player database, we just classify the players given name into male or female. This provides us with a few hundred games for each combination of male and female where both players are rated above 1500 Elo.

We see that men playing white against women probably try a little shorter to turn the first move into a win than against men, while women generally play somewhat longer games. But overall the differences aren’t too big. Not terribly exciting but another indication, that men probably on average do not try harder to beat women than to beat other men.

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