Centuries ago found that women played chess when it had slightly more quiet strategy and rules. At that time, it was regarded as a social function and its popularity among women was seen across kingdoms that especially had a strong woman Queen at court. The game was pursued by the elite at court who found it most appealing for both an entertaining challenge as well as a means of finding time for love and affection. In Jewish communities mothers would educate their children in the art of chess play, emphasizing the value as an educational tool toward success.
In Medieval times women had made chess part of aristocratic life. It served as an important bond among Christians, Jews and Muslims, particularly in Spain. But beyond that, it afforded the courtship and opportunity to play a game that lasted for hours giving the lovers an opportunity to be socially seen together.
A change took place with the increased power of the Rook and Queen pieces. It is likely that game results being shortened eventually led to less amorous affections being possible so that interest for ladies began to wane. What chess had done to equalize men and women intellectually and romantically as a social value lessened. Male players put more emphasis in winning a game and creating works of art in tactics. You can see it in the modern development of tournaments and growing feeling that chess was a masculine struggle for supremacy in social circles.
There is the age-old thought of self-gratification that began to surface in recent decades. Girls began to study chess as did boys with a desire to attain a level of skill and attain a club and national ranking. This spirit which exists in both boys and girls sharpened where it was a learned and practiced level of achievement not only for chess but many endeavors. This commitment to excellence varies with ability. This makes life interesting. And I suspect chess still carries with it the romance of two souls who find each other sharing such values.