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It seems clear to me that there must be a statistical bias in the move selection of master level games in relation to the natural "hand" of the move, right or left.

Let me explain. For the sake of argument let's select the population of master level chess players who are right handed, and consider blitz games played by these players. In each position, the vector of each legal move has a more-or-less clockwise or counterclockwise orientation with respect to the center of the board. Yet for purely anatomical and biological reasons, clockwise moves may be easier to execute on the physical board as it is placed before the players. Given a players hand literally hovering over a board searching for a move, there must be a bias in which more easily executed moves are preferred over less anatomically natural ones.

Is there any evidence of this sort of geometrical bias in move selection, beyond that expected from the actual theoretical value of the moves themselves?

There might be many statistical imbalances: towards advancing or retreating moves, towards kingside or queenside directed moves, and possibly towards clockwise or counter-clockwise flowing moves, as I mentioned above.

Edit: The key phrase here is 'actual theoretical value'. I wish to compare human play against perfect play and suggest that the discrepancies which arise might indicate more than a deficit of mental chess ability but also because of the way the brain-body system and handedness might favor moves that are quicker to find with the hand.

  • I don't think so.... Left-handed players (playing white) still castle to the king-side, does that answer your question? – SmallChess Apr 13 '16 at 6:05
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    Building on Student T: Statistically, White is more likely to castle queenside than Black. Since 90-93% of people are right-handed, this is contrary to your theory. – Mike Jones Apr 13 '16 at 7:15
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    This is somewhat irrelevant if it is theoretically sound for white to castle queenside more often than black. My suggestion is that there may be a bias, even after we take theory into account. For example, suppose human players statistically favor advancing over retreating. It is still possible that human players are biased towards retreating if in fact they play advancing moves less often than a perfect computer does so. I wish to compare human moves versus perfect play. Evidence such as the above is only admissible if it is demonstrated to be against perfectly rational play. – Rex Butler Apr 13 '16 at 7:55
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    There is huge such bias in chinese chess where the starting position is left-right symmetrical. Most games start from right side. For western chess I don't think such bias exists. – jf328 Apr 13 '16 at 8:26
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    "It seems clear to me that there must be a statistical bias in the move selection of master level games in relation to the natural "hand" of the move, right or left." It seems clear to me that this is opinion based nonsense. I'm right-handed but I much prefer to move the pieces with my left hand and have the clock on the left side so that I can record the game on the right. The idea that I would prefer moves on the left side of the board is nonsense. In time trouble when this kind of thing might have an influence I would prefer short moves near the clock, whether right or left. – Brian Towers Apr 13 '16 at 16:51
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I found no scientific literature on hand bias in Chess on Google Scholar.

From the comments there doesn't seem to be any database analysis supporting a theory of hand bias, e.g.

Statistically, White is more likely to castle queenside than Black. Since 90-93% of people are right-handed, this is contrary to your theory.

Accredited to @Mike Jones.

Additionally, I haven't found any anecdotal evidence of hand biased in my own chess books. E.g. there is no mention of it in the 'Psychology' or 'Tournament Tactics' sections of The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess.

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