Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Saturday, 31 January 2009

Study boosts women chess players

Researchers asked why chess is so dominated by men
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.

There's no brain difference between men and women, it's just that there are far fewer women playing chess
Dr Peter McLeod, Oxford University

"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."



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific