Many conservative men have contested the claim that a woman could play a consistently good game of 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 woman'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 (New York) to solve the great mystery. It declares, on the authority of a great scientist (what a pity we don't know his name), that the cause of the present intellectual activity of our women folk is due to the use of wire hair pins!
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 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 that 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.
This observation and advice was published in the American Chess Magazine of 1897-98 and maybe it explains why female payers of today play so much better...they no longer wear hairpins!
There was a lot of quack theories about electricity in those days...American Artifacts. There still is.