Lurking in the background, hiding their identity, they seem mysterious, magical, beautiful. At first, they observed the game from a distance, but as centuries went by, women were drawn closer to the chessboard.
Levon Aronian's brilliant victory at the prestigious Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands, would normally be the topic of our conversation. But it was a young Chinese girl, Hou Yifan, 17, who stole the limelight.
As we enter the new decade, the chess world is ruled by a middle-aged man and a teenage girl.
A twenty-something phenom presides over the world's ratings and a new book recalling one of the greatest chess magicians has been published recently.