Journal of Biosocial Science

Short Report

SEASON OF BIRTH AND CHESS EXPERTISE

FERNAND GOBETa1 and PHILIPPE CHASSYa1

a1 Centre for the Study of Expertise, Centre for Cognition and NeuroImaging, Brunel University, UK

Summary

The origin of talent and expertise is currently the subject of intense debate, with explanations ranging from purely biological to purely environmental. This report shows that the population of expert chess players in the northern hemisphere shows a seasonal pattern, with an excess of births in late winter and early spring. This effect remains when taking into account the distribution of births in the population at large, using statistics from the European Union member countries. A similar pattern has been found with schizophrenia, and the possible link between these two phenomena is discussed.