The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

A study of 117,000 professional tennis matches and 5 million observations in online amateur chess found that even when competitors are evenly matched, players perform worse against an opponent they know has been climbing in rank. Dubbed “status momentum,” a positive trend in an opponent’s ranking can be threatening for athletes, even for seasoned pros whose training often includes creating the right mental space for high-stakes match-ups.