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Is there something about the world of chess that prepares you for a career in economics?

Take the case of Irwin Lipnowski and Fletcher Baragar, two Winnipeg chess masters who went on to become economics professors at the University of Manitoba. Both use their analytic minds to succeed over the board and in the academy.

Then there’s Kenneth Rogoff, an American who earned his chess grandmaster title in 1978 and his PhD in economics two years later. He served a term as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, and now teaches at Harvard University.

The latest example of chess player-turned-economist is Rachel Reeves, shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer with Britain’s Labour Party. Given the recent economic chaos plaguing Britain’s Tories, the London School of Economics graduate could soon be overseeing the country’s finances.

Reeves started playing chess at seven and became Britain’s Under-14 girls champion. She still enjoys playing and promoting chess as an activity in schools.

“Strategic thinking is essential in both politics and chess,” Reeves once told the Guardian. “So I definitely feel continuing to play chess when I can helps keep me nimble in the Labour campaign to be our next government. Always thinking two moves ahead.”

Rachel Reeves v. Abigail Cast, London, 1995

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Handout

White finds a quiet move to secure an advantage. What is it?

White played. 18.a4. If the Knight retreats, White wins material and space on the Queenside. Black tried Nbxd4, sacrificing the Knight, but White eventually won.

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