Before becoming the first woman to be awarded the International Master’s degree, she helped evacuate children stranded during World War II.
Lyudmila Rudenko gained fame by defeating kings and queens, but was very proud to help save the lives of children during World War II.
The Soviet chess teacher helped pave the way for women in sports, becoming the second female chess champion in 1950, the same year she became the first woman to be awarded the title of International Master. To honor his achievements and the many titles that Rudenko collected, Google devoted his Doodle on Friday to the chess champion on his 114th birthday.
Born in 1904 in Lubny (now part of Ukraine), Rudenko began to learn chess from her father at the age of 10, but did not start playing tournaments until she was 25 years old. During that period, he obtained a degree in economics and focused more on competitive swimming than chess, becoming a champion in the 400 meter breaststroke in Odessa.
At the beginning of the Second World War, Rudenko went to work at an armaments factory in Leningrad. When factory workers were evacuated to another city hundreds of miles away, the children of many workers were left behind.
When the siege of Leningrad began, Rudenko was put in charge of the evacuation of the children of the workers. She organized a special train that took the children before the military blockade closed around the city. Despite her success as a chess champion, Rudenko considers this to be the most important achievement of her life.
Rudenko died in 1986 at the age of 81 in Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg, Russia. He was included in the Chess Hall of Fame in 2015.