Lyudmila Rudenko: Why was the Soviet chess champion so influential?

  27 July 2018    Read: 1761
Lyudmila Rudenko: Why was the Soviet chess champion so influential?

Lyudmila Rudenko was a Soviet-era chess player born in what is now Ukraine.

A Google Doodle has been created to honour what would have been the 114th birthday of this chess playing great.

Ms Rudenko awed the world with her chess prowess, and first emerged as a world class player in the 1928 Moscow Women’s Championship, where she placed fifth.

She would later go on to become the second Women’s World Chess Champion in 1950 — and she held that title until 1953.

Lyudmila Rudenko, who is remembered as one of the most influential chess players to ever pick up a rook, was first introduced to chess by her father when she was aged 10.

But the game of strategy did not become her primary focus immediately.

Initially, she was fascinated with swimming, and was good enough in that endeavour to win a local competition in the women’s 400-meter breast stroke in Odessa. After that victorious swim, she moved on to Moscow where she refined her chess skills.

While her ascendance to the highest rank in women’s chess in 1950 is perhaps her best known achievement, Ms Rudenko won many, many more of those awards — and said during her lifetime that an instance of bravery and selflessness was her greatest memory and triumphs, not one of chess.

That moment was the organisation of children during the siege of Leningrad during the Second World War. That siege resulted in the deaths of more than one million civilians, and lasted nearly 900 days.

Rudenko died in 1986, and Google says its doodle in her honour “reimagines a focused Rudenko’s determination during the world championship game”.

She was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame in 2015.


The Independent

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