Who Was Today’s Google Doodle Lyudmila Rudenko?
On this day in 1904, Lyudmila Rudenko, one of the world’s most influential chess players, was born in Lubny, Ukraine. Google is commemorating the Grandmaster’s achievements both on and off the board on what would have been her 114th birthday with a stylish doodle.
Today’s doodle draws artistic inspiration from 1960s graphic art and posters—reimagines a focused Rudenko’s determination during the world championship game.
But who really was Lyudmila Rudenko?
Rudenko was initially interested in swimming as a child. She even came in the first position at a local competition in Odessa, Ukraine in the 400-metre breaststroke. But her dad taught her to play chess when she was only 10 years old.
She began playing the sport competitively at tournaments when she moved to Moscow in 1925, winning the capital’s women’s championship three years later. This championship was just one of the many prestigious titles she’d earn in her lifetime.
Rudenko married her scientist husband Lev Davidovich Goldstein after moving to Leningrad, and they had a son in 1931.
It was there that she began training under master chess player Peter Romanovsky, and took the Leningrad women’s championship on three occasions.
During the second world war, Rudenko organised a train to evacuate children from the Siege of Leningrad, one of the conflict’s most destructive and harrowing engagements. In fact, despite all of her major accompliishments in chess, it was this which Rudenko considered the crowning achievement of her life.
In 1950, she became the second woman ever to win the Woman’s World Chess Championship, holding the title until 1953.
Rudenko was named an International Master of Chess in 1950, and later a Woman Grandmaster in 1976, with her exploits paving the way for women to come.
In 2015, the chess master was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.