Why Women Can't Play Chess

 This article, profferring the scientific reason why women play chess erratically,    was published in an 1898 edition of the American Chess  Magazine.

A Scientific Hint for Women Players.


     Verily, this is a world of strange happenings, and still stranger explanations.

     Many conservative men (a fair correspondent avers they are brutes more or less) have strongly contested the claim that a woman could play a consistently good game at chess. They persistently declare that, though the play of this or that woman may be, at times, of a fair order, it is inevitably erratic, and subject to those illogical aberrations which science, as exemplified in chess, most severely frowns upon.

     Now, if there is any foundation for this charge, it is evident that the women's game must be affected by some extraneous cause that does not influence the men, and there has been much puzzled inquiry as to what that cause can be. It has remained for the Troy Times to solve the great mystery. It declares, on the authority of " a great scientist"—what a pity we do not know his name—that the cause of the present intelleciual activity of our women-folk is due to the use of wire hairpins!

     He explains the matter in a charmingly lucid manner which, as so often happens with scientific explanations, leaves the unscientific reader in rather more of a muddled entanglement than ever, but when "boiled down" it amounts to this: That the wire hairpins excite "counter-currents of electricity," whatever they may be, and so bewilder the wearer's brain with strange vagaries, and lead them to do whimsical things. Now, it would be well for players to take note of this, for the "wire hairpin" theory explains many things. It is evident that when a woman wears a handful of wire hairpins there is an amount of electrical disturbance going on around her scalp ihat puts good chess out of the question. When she wears shell contrivances her head is clear and cool, and she plays the fine, winning game her friends admire. So, in future tournaments, one of the rules governing the play should be: "All ladies-players are requested to wear shell hairpins."