Women’s world chess champion Lyudmila Rudenko has been honoured with a 60s-inspired Google Doodle celebrating her 114th birthday.
Born in Lubny in modern-day Ukraine in 1904, Rudenko focused on competitive swimming for much of her youth, and only began to compete on the chess scene at the age of 25, after moving to Soviet Leningrad.
Rudenko quickly moved up the circuit, training with chess master Peter Romanovsky to win the Leningrad women’s championship three times.
When the World Chess Federation came to Moscow in 1949 to find its new women champion, the 45-year-old beat off 15 other competitors to win title, which she held until 1953. She was awarded the title International Master in 1950 and Woman Grandmaster in 1976.
Despite her sporting achievements however, Rudenko was most proud of her work in Leningrad during the Second World War. When the armament factory where Rudenko worked was evacuated east, the chess champion was tasked with rescuing the children of workers who were left behind as enemy troops drew ever closer to the city. She organised a special train to evacuate the families, narrowly avoiding the military blockade that would ensnare Leningrad in a bloody 900-day siege.
Rudenko died in Leningrad in 1986 at the age of 81. She was inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame in 2015.