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Did the Soviets collude? A statistical analysis of championship chess 1940-1978

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  • Moul, Charles C.
  • Nye, John V.C.

Abstract

We expand the set of outcomes considered by the tournament literature to include draws and use games from post-war chess tournaments to see whether strategic behavior can be important in such scenarios. In particular, we examine whether players from the former Soviet Union acted as a cartel in international all-play-all tournaments - intentionally drawing against one another in order to focus effort on non-Soviet opponents - to maximize the chance of some Soviet winning. Using data from international qualifying tournaments as well as USSR national tournaments, we consider several tests for collusion. Our results are inconsistent with Soviet competition but consistent with Soviet draw-collusion that yielded substantial benefits to the cartel. Simulations of the period's five premier international competitions (the FIDE Candidates tournaments) suggest that the observed Soviet sweep was a 60%-probability event under collusion but only a 25%-probability event had the Soviet players not colluded.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 70 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (May)
Pages: 10-21

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:70:y:2009:i:1-2:p:10-21

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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Keywords: Tournaments Draw strategy Collusion Cartels Chess Sports economics;

References

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  1. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-24, December.
  2. Christopher N. Avery & Mark E. Glickman & Caroline M. Hoxby & Andrew Metrick, 2013. "A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 425-467.
  3. Zitzewitz, Eric, 2002. "Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and Its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making," Research Papers 1796, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  4. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
  5. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios & Canice Prendergast, 2001. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," NBER Working Papers 8376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2013. "Leading-effect vs. Risk-taking in Dynamic Tournaments: Evidence from a Real-life Randomized Experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 15452, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Björn Frank & Stefan Krabel, 2012. "Gens una sumus? – Or Does Political Ideology Affect Experts’ Aesthetic Judgement of Chess Games," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201237, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  3. Gränsmark, Patrik, 2012. "Masters of our time: Impatience and self-control in high-level chess games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 179-191.
  4. Gränsmark, Patrik, 2010. "A Rib Less Makes you Consistent but Impatient: A Gender Comparison of Expert Chess Players," Working Paper Series 5/2010, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  5. Gränsmark, Patrik, 2010. "Social Screening and Cooperation Among Expert Chess Players," Working Paper Series 4/2010, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  6. Gerdes, Christer & Gränsmark, Patrik & Rosholm, Michael, 2011. "Chicken or Checkin'? Rational Learning in Repeated Chess Games," IZA Discussion Papers 5862, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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