How To Avoid Elite Chess Player 17pc Mistake Rate When Remote Meeting

Rotterdam Business School studied 441 online chess matches between the game’s best. A total of 27,267 moves.

One headline finding was, that when errors were made, they increased in size by 17 percent compared to when playing in-person.

A consequence of this, was to render the Number One player shrinking in rank to that of only the 20th grandmaster.

Here’s one such paragraph of subsequent reporting;

The research, published in the journal of the Royal Economics Society, said: “Our results show a clear decrease in overall performance in the remote setting, which is particularly pronounced at the beginning of the time period when chess players had to switch to the new setting… we think the initial drop in cognitive performance and the adaptation time might be even more pronounced for most other workers.”

Have you done near 441 video meetings of your own these past 18 months or so?

If so, noticed any ‘drop in performance’ in them? Or ‘pronounced adaptation time’?

One reason for the decline noted, was the difficulty in replicating the “competitive atmosphere” arena when virtual. The number-crunchers saw striking similarities for us away from an office place when WFH.

Not just the lessened hustle and bustle, cackle of deadlines looming in the air, or buzz.

But how any sense of jeopardy, urgency or ambition might be dulled when dialling-in.

If you are conscious that a lack of “concentration”, productivity or focus blights video calls, then there are measures that will quickly re-invigorate proceedings, output and participation perceptions.

One key area revolves around Effective Starts.

Particularly if true that wayward acclimatisation can send a meeting off-course.

Examples with big impact include (in no particular order) these ten for starters;

  • avoid trad ‘icebreakers’ for your ’round-the-rooms’
  • gain immediate ‘feel’ for issue among attendees
  • signal an emotion for the meeting issue vibe
  • adopt (& refine) a winning kick-off ritual
  • provide mini problem to solve early
  • namecheck everyone as soon as
  • make punctual starts the norm
  • request a physical interaction
  • deploy an “unofficial start”
  • bring credentials out

You might even wish to show the Dutch b-school researchers’ formula for determining outcomes. Would make for an entertaining slide;

Yigm = α + δOnlineg + βXigm + ηi + γm + Vigm

In short, the calculations that deduced a 17% drop-off online versus face-to-face [* see footer for more]. A reduction that we can now stave off from our own online video meetings.


[* as their published findings explain; “…where Yigm is the outcome variable measured in game g played by player i at move m …  Our parameter of interest is denoted by δ, which measures the difference in outcome variables between games conducted online and offline. We identify the parameter of interest by observing the same individuals i playing moves in the online and the offline tournaments.”]

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