Queen Isabella: Chess Feminist?
"Chess was invented in India in the fifth century and was spread by Islamic conquests to Europe, where the piece known as the vizier became the queen -- the only female in the all-male club of chess pieces... It was in the late tenth century, during the regency of Empress Adelaide, that the vizier underwent his sex change. Five hundred years later, in Queen Isabella's Spain, the queen was transformed from a timid lady mincing one diagonal step at a time into what one shocked Italian bishop called a 'bellicose virago.' But there's a sting at the end of this feminist historical fable: [ironically] the queen's supremacy made the game so much faster and more competitive that it was considered unsuitable for upper-class women."