The original Pawn Wise: The Atlantic All-Ages Chess Festival 2020 full panel event, Chess Considered: Four Questions (shown below) is postponed until further notice.


Guilhem Lecouteux, PhD
Is chess an art or a science? (I) Science

Guilhem Lecouteux is Associate Professor in Economics at the Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France. He is primarily interested in the ethical and social implications of the current rise of behavioural sciences in economics and policy design. He has published on behavioural economics, psychology of decision-making, philosophy of science, and is the editor of Team Reasoning: Political Economy Review (2018), a collection of essays on behavioural game theory. There is little doubt that his past as a chess player significantly shaped his current research on how people choose and form their beliefs in a complex environment.

Stephen Davies, PhD
Is chess an art or a science? (II) Art

Stephen Davies is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland. He publishes mainly on the philosophy of art and aesthetics. His books include The Artful Species (Oxford University Press, 2012), The Philosophy of Art (Wiley, 2016), and Adornment: What Self-Decoration Tells Us About Who We Are (Bloomsbury, forthcoming January 2020). On the idea of profundity in instrumental music, he draws “a parallel with great chess, which illustrates the fecundity, flexibility, insight, vitality, subtlety, complexity, and analytical far-reachingness of which the human mind is capable … of deep significance, given the wider importance of an appreciation of our intellectual and imaginative powers.” Professor Davies is the former president of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Emily Ryall, PhD
Is chess a sport?

Dr Emily Ryall is a Reader in Applied Philosophy at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. Her main research interests lies in the philosophy of sport, games and play. The Canadian philosopher, Bernard Suits, refuting Wittgenstein, formulated a philosophical definition of games that remains unchallenged to this day, including for sport. Where does chess fit in? Professor Ryall may have the answer. She is the author of Philosophy of Sport: Key Questions, and has edited four collections of essays on philosophical issues in play. She is associate editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport and the former Chair of the British Philosophy of Sport Association. She has written for the New York TimesGuardian and BBC. She is definitely not a chess player.

Diego Rasskin-Gutman, PhD
Is chess calculation or imagination?

Diego Rasskin-Gutman is a Senior Researcher at Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity & Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, where he leads the Theoretical Biology Research Group. He specializes in mathematical models of evolutionary and developmental phenomena, with a focus on questions of human creativity, cognitive processes, and the reduction of complexity in the world. He is the author of Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind (MIT Press, 2009). He also writes for the online cultural magazine, Jot Down.

Sabine Vollstädt-Klein, PhD
Is chess good for the brain? (I)

Dr. Sabine Vollstädt-Klein is Adjunct Professor, Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, and leads the Research Group, Neuroimaging of Addictive Behaviour, Central Institute for Mental Health, Mannheim. A mathematician and neuroscientist, her research focuses on the neurobiology of addiction. Using functional and structural brain imaging, she is currently studying the effects of chess-based cognitive remediation as an “add-on intervention” for smokers and patients with alcohol use disorder. Dr. Vollstädt-Klein is also an internationally rated A-Class chess player.

Jack de la Torre, MD, PhD
Is chess good for the brain? (II)

Dr. Jack de la Torre is Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Texas at Austin and Honorary Professor of Physiology at the University of Valencia, Spain. His work in Alzheimer’s disease dates back to 1992 when animal research led him to advance the concept of Alzheimer’s disease as a vascular disorder with neuro-degenerative consequences. His proposal is now known as “the vascular hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease.” He has written over 200 peer-reviewed articles and edited or co-edited eight volumes on the vascular pathophysiology of dementia. His latest book is Alzheimer’s Turning Point: A Vascular Approach to Clinical Prevention (Springer, 2012). Dr. de la Torre was an avid chess player during high school.