Sport

By John Burn-Murdoch and Gavin Jackson

Pity the white queen’s pawn. It tends to survive only one in every four games.

That statistic comes from an analysis of 2.2m master-level tournament games conducted by Oliver Brennan. But statistical analysis has found that overall white wins about 37 per cent of the time to Black’s 28 per cent. Read more

By John Burn-Murdoch and Gavin Jackson

In the latest instalment of The Baseline, our weekly feature on sports statistics, we looked ahead to the ATP Tour Finals, the climax of the men’s tennis season.

The tournament is played on a hard court surface, which goes some way to nullifying the relative advantages afforded to big serving and big returning players by grass and clay courts respectively. But where exactly does hard court fall between those two extremes, and what can this tell us about its impact on the playing styles of grass and clay specialists? Read more

By Jurek Martin, Gavin Jackson and John Burn-Murdoch

In the latest instalment of The Baseline, our weekly feature on sports statistics, we looked at baseball statistician Bill James and the impact his insight and methods have had on not just one but arguably all sports.

Bill James began dissecting the numbers behind baseball in the late 1970s and among his acolytes was Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics and inspiration for Michael Lewis’ best selling book Moneyball. Such was Oakland and Beane’s success that the stats-driven approach has transcended baseball and now has its adherents in hockey, football, tennis, golf and dozens more of the world’s biggest sports Read more

FT Baseline

Between them Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more than 300 league goals in the last four seasons of Spain’s La Liga, but which player provides more goals for their team? Read more

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the world’s top goalscorers. And next weekend will see them pitted against each other in what might be the biggest rivalry in sport: El Clásico, the match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
 Read more

By John Burn-Murdoch and Gavin Jackson

In the latest instalment of The Baseline, our weekly feature on sports statistics, we looked at Serena Williams’ dominance of women’s tennis over the last decade.

Williams has won 17 of the 43 grand slam tournaments she has entered since the 2002 French Open, and the reasons for her success can be explained with a look at performance data for the top players of the modern era Read more