Economics of Chess

Sunday 6 December 13.00 – 14.00

This lecture session examines the macroeconomics and the microeconomics of chess. Are chess players making different choices from the rest of the Population? What is the utility of investment in chess?

JohnAdamsJohn Adams (Australia)

John Adams is an Australia based economist, public policy and governance expert. John is a current management consultant with Ernst & Young delivering public policy and implementation solutions primarily to clients in the federal government sector.

John has previously been a federal civil servant and a former economics advisor to Senator Arthur Sinodinos who is now the Cabinet Secretary to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Government Cabinet. In these roles, John’s main areas of focus included regulatory reform, public sector governance and economic management.

John is now leading a research effort in Australian examining the public policy benefits that chess may have in Australia. John is currently the Government Relations Director and the Assistant Treasurer to the Australian Chess Federation.

Presentation (PDF)
John Adams Conference Paper

BjörnFrankBjörn Frank (Germany)
Professor of Behavioural Economics
Kassel University

Björn has published on the economics of chess in academic journals such as Kyklos, the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization and Economics Letters. His current inactivity in international tournaments prevents his Elo rating from dropping below 2125.


The title of Björn’s talk is “How cool are chess players?” He will provide answers from recent studies by behavioural economists. His talk explores dimensions of “coolness” such as objectivity or the ability to resist short-run temptations and to think ahead instead. It turns out that most experimental and empirical studies challenge common stereotypes about chess players’ coolness.

Björn has invited all participants of the conference to take part in a guessing game, and the winner even gets a prize. It takes only a minute.