Ken Rogoff is a 58-year-old economist who chose that field over chess.
His doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 launched him on a distinguished career, including positions as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and a professor at Harvard University.
The author of a column syndicated in 50 countries and 13 languages, he is frequently consulted by political leaders and interviewed by the media.
Although he no longer plays chess competitively, he hasn’t abandoned his early passion for the game. Formerly a precocious and high-ranked American player, he earned the grandmaster title in 1978.
“I think about chess all the time,” he recently told the magazine New in Chess.
“I’m not thinking about it with any depth, but I think part of my brain is hard-wired to play chess. I’ll think about it in boring meetings, … walking along. It’s something I do to relax.”
Rogoff has found his chess experience useful during his career, particularly for maintaining calm in challenging situations – and in negotiations, where chess taught him “to think about what the other person is thinking in a very disciplined way.”