WGM Lyudmila Rudenko

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

According to Wikipedia, a Google doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages that commemorates holidays, events, achievements, and people. By 2014, Google had published over 2,000 regional and international doodles throughout its homepages, often featuring guest artists, musicians, and personalities.

Last July 27, the Google doodle for the day featured a picture of former Women’s World Champion Lyudmila Rudenko. I am not sure if I am allowed to reproduce the doodle here but anyway here is that portion with the picture:

Lyudmila Rudenko
WGM Lyudmila Rudenko

Many of our readers might not be familiar with the women’s world championship, so here is a quick enumeration of our champions:

1. Vera Menchik CZE 1927-1944 (her death)

2. Lyudmila Rudenko UKR 1950-1953

3. Elisaveta Bykova RUS 1953-1956, 1958-1962

4. Olga Rubtsova RUS 1956-1958

5. Nona Gaprindashvili GEO 1962-1978

6. Maia Chiburdanidze GEO 1978-1991

7. Xie Jun CHN 1991-1996, 1999-2001

8. Susan Polgar HUN 1996-1999

9. Zhu Chen CHN 2001-2004

10. Antoaneta Stefanova BUL 2004-2006

11. Xu Yuhua CHN 2006-2008

12. Alexandra Kosteniuk RUS 2008-2010

13. Hou Yifan CHN 2010-2012, 2013-2015, 2016-2017

14. Anna Ushenina UKR 2012-2013

15. Mariya Muzychuk UKR 2015-2016

16. Tan Zhongyi CHN 2017-2018

17. Jun Wenjun CHN 2018-present

Vera Menchik was the first woman player who competed on equal terms with the world’s leading male chess masters. Have you ever heard of the “Vera Menchik Club?” During the 1929 Carlsbad tournament the Viennese master Albert Becker, who also wrote a very influential chess column, ridiculed her entry and proposed that any player who lost to her should be indicuted into the “Vera Menchik Club.” Well, he became the very first member. In the following years the other members “inducted” would include future world champion Max Euwe, Mir Sultan Khan, the famous English C.H.O.D. Alexander, Samuel Reshevsky, and many more.

Vera Menchik did in an air raid bomb attack which destroyed her home in London in 1944. At that time she was still world women’s champion and so the title became vacant for a number of years after the war.

In the winter of 1949-1950 the World Chess Federation (FIDE) held a tournament in Moscow to determine the new Women’s World Champion.

Women’s World Chess Championship
Moscow, Russia
Dec. 20, 1949-Jan. 16, 1950

Final Standings

1. Lyudmila Rudenko UKR 11.5/15

2. Olga Rubtsova RUS 10.5/15

3-4. Elisaveta Bykova RUS, Valentina Borisenko RUS, 10.0/15

5-7. Edith Keller Hermann GER, Eileen Betsy Tranmer ENG, Chantal Chaude de Silans FRA, 9.5/15

8. Fenny Heemskerek NED, 8.0/15

9. Clarice Benini ITA, 7.0/15

10-11. Jozsa Langos HUN, Maria Teresa Mora Iturralde CUB, 6.0/15

12-14. Gisela Gresser USA, Nina Hruskova-Belska CZE, Mona May Karff USA, 5.0/15

15. Ingrid Larsen DEN, 4.5/15

16. Roza Maria Hermanowa POL, 3.0/15

Lyudmila Rudenko was born on July 27, 1904 in Lubny, Ukraine. During her youth she was an avid swimmer as well as chessplayer.

Here is a quick enumeration of her accomplishments:

1925 — became the swimming champion of Odessa in the 400-meter breakstroke. She then started a career as an economic planner for the Soviet Union and moved to Moscow.

1928 — won the Moscow women’s championship and then moved to Leningrad where she married and had a son.

1929 — started training with the famous Leningrad master Peter Romanovsky. She won the Leningrad women’s championship three times.

1941-1944, the Siege of Leningrad. The siege lasted almost 900 days and resulted in the deaths of more than one million civilians. She was at that time working in an armament factory in that city which was evacuated ahead of the advancing German troops but the workers’ children were left behind. As the siege started she was placed in charge of rescuing them and organized a special train which saved thousands of childrens’ lives. She has described this as the most important accomplishment in her life, and the main reason why she now has her own Google doodle.

1950 — won the women’s world championship and held it until 1953 where she lost in a match to Elisaveta Bykova with a score of 5 wins 2 draws and 7 losses.

2015 — was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.

In the “Soviet School of Chess” the authors Kotov and Yudovich describe Rudenko as a master of combinative play and offer up her game with Maria Teresa Mora Iturralde of Cuba, played during the 1950 world championship.

Mora Iturralde, Maria Teresa — Rudenko, Liudmila [C41]
World Women-ch Moscow (Russia) (10), 06.01.1950

Nowadays when you speak of the Philidor Defense the prescribed move order is 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 rather than the one used in the game. I will explain in the notes.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nd7 4.Bc4 c6

Some pitfalls Black has fallen for:

4…Be7? 5.dxe5 Nxe5 (5…dxe5 6.Qd5 Black loses a piece) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Qh5!± with a double attack on e5 and f7;

4…h6? 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Nxe5+± Kf6 8.Nc3! White’s attack is winning. The king cannot take the knight because of 8…Kxe5 9.Qd5+ Kf6 10.Qf5+ Ke7 11.Nd5+ Kd6 12.Bf4+ Kc6 13.Qe6+ you get the picture;

Would you believe that 4…Ngf6? also loses? Here is why: 5.dxe5 Nxe5 (5…Nxe4 6.Qd5; 5…dxe5 6.Ng5) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2! Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2 Black is a pawn down with no compensation;

Still another pitfall: 4…exd4 5.Nxd4 Be7? (5…Ngf6 is correct, but did you want your opening play to lead to this position?) 6.Bxf7+!! Kxf7 7.Ne6!! Qe8 (7…Kxe6 8.Qd5+ Kf6 9.Qf5#) 8.Nxc7 Qd8 9.Qd5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ Ke8 11.Nxg7+ Kf8 12.Ne6+ Ke8 13.Qh5#

5.dxe5

The reason why people avoid the move order in this game is that with 5.0–0 Be7 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Ng5 Bxg5 8.Qh5 Qe7 9.Bxg5 Ngf6 10.Qe2. The theoreticians give White a stable advantage here, since Black has no compensation at all for the two bishops.

5…dxe5 6.0–0 Be7 7.Nc3

White lets slip the opportunity to play 7.Ng5! Nh6 (7…Bxg5 8.Qh5 is also nice for White) 8.Ne6!! fxe6 9.Bxh6 Nb6 (9…gxh6? 10.Qh5+ Kf8 11.Bxe6 Qe8 12.Qxh6#) 10.Qh5+! Kf8? (Best is 10…g6 11.Qe2 but even here White is clearly better) 11.f4!! 1–0 A. Mende-M.Tyrtania, 2nd Bundesliga 1987-1988.

The famous Bobby Fischer vs Reuben Fine skittles game which made its way to “My 60 Memorable Games” continued 7.Qe2 Ngf6 8.Rd1 Threatening 9 Nxe5. 8…Qc7 9.Ng5 0–0 10.Bxf7+! Black resigned on account of 10…Rxf7 11 Qc4 or 10…Kh8 11 Ne6. Fischer,R-Fine,R New York Blitz 1963.

7…Ngf6 8.Qe2 0–0 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.a3 Nc5 11.b4 Ne6 12.h3 b5 13.Bb3 a5

Now Black starts taking over the game.

14.bxa5 Qxa5 15.Bb2 Qc7 16.Nb1 Nf4 17.Qe3 Ng6 18.Nc3 Nd7 19.Ne2 Nc5 20.Rd2 Na4 21.Bxa4 Rxa4 22.Nc3 Ra8 23.Rad1 Be6 24.Rd3 Nf4 25.R3d2 f6 26.Kh2 Ra7 27.Ne1 Rfa8 28.Nb1 Qa5 29.Nd3 Nxd3 30.Rxd3 Qa4 31.R3d2 Qc4

Now Black will transfer her bishop from e7 to the g1–a7 diagonal.

32.f3 Bc5 33.Qd3 Qa2! <D>

POSITION AFTER 33…QA2

Funny how putting a queen on a2 can paralyze your opponent’s forces so much.

34.c3 Bc4 35.Qc2 Bb3 36.Rd8+?

White impatiently lashes out. She could keep resisting by 36.Qc1 Bxd1 37.Qxd1 Bxa3 38.Bxa3 Qc4 although White’s position still remains difficult to defend.

36…Bf8 0–1

WGM Lyudmila Rudenko. She achieved the highest title in her passion for chess, and the highest accomplishment possible in her service to humankind. That is what you call a life well lived.

* * * * *

By the way, last Saturday on the kind invitation of Mr. Larry Murillo, I visited the Makati Gospel Church New Life Academy to meet with the coaches and members of their chess club to talk to them about computer chess, the various ways of using it in chess training and the tools available, some of them free, some of them not free.

I was very surprised with the facilities of the club, with DGT clocks, boards, air-conditioned training room and really nice facilities.

Mr. Murillo talked to me about how he would like to start on a grassroots program to develop grade school and high school students to achieve their potential in chess. His plans are quite impressive. If any of our BW readers are of like mind, that to develop the next Wesley So we need a program from grade school up, and would like to help, please e-mail me at my address and give me a shout-out. I will contact you and we will proceed from there.

 

Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant, he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.

bobby@cpamd.net