Cognitive Performance in the Home Office - Evidence from Professional Chess

Steffen Künn, Christian Seel, Dainis Zegners

Research output: Working paper / PreprintDiscussion paper


During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, traditional (offline) chess tournaments were prohibited and instead held online. We exploit this as a unique setting to assess the impact of moving offline tasks online on the cognitive performance of individuals. We use the Artificial Intelligence embodied in a powerful chess engine to assess the quality of chess moves and associated errors. Using within-player comparisons, we find a statistically and
economically significant decrease in performance when competing online compared to competing offline. Our results suggest that teleworking might have adverse effects on workers performing cognitive tasks.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIZA Institute of Labor Economics
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

SeriesIZA Discussion Paper Series

JEL classifications

  • h12 - Crisis Management
  • l23 - Organization of Production
  • m11 - Production Management
  • m54 - Personnel Economics: Labor Management


  • teleworking
  • productivity
  • chess
  • Covid-19


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