Researchers asked why chess is dominated by men
Oxford University researchers are challenging the assumption that women's brains are not suited to playing chess.
They analysed results from more than 120,000 members of the German Chess Federation, in which men outnumber women by 16 to 1.
The fact that men outperformed women was explained by the huge mismatch in the numbers of women playing compared to men, according to researchers.
There is currently only one woman in the top 100 chess players in the world.
Chess teacher Heather Lang agreed with the findings from Oxford University's Department of Psychology.
"In Oxfordshire, last year's under 11 team was 50% boys, 50% girls. A few years previously, when there were fewer girls playing, there was only one girl in a team of 24.
"So much depends on what's happening at grass roots level," she added.
Oxford University student Agnese Salputra is one of the few women in her chess club.
"Most girls drop out because society doesn't think they should play. It's not considered cool for a girl to play chess," she said.
Researchers say this helps explain why there are fewer women in science and engineering as well.
"There's no brain difference between men and women, it's just that there are far fewer women playing chess," said Dr Peter McLeod, from Oxford University.
"So you shouldn't conclude that there are few women at the top of science and engineering because women's brains aren't suited to it."