Women's World Championship, Moscow 1950, by Elizabeth Bykova. Winners' profiles.

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Lyudmila Rudenko
The World Champion, Master of Sports Lyudmila Vladimirovna Rudenko was born on 27th July 1904 in Lubny, Ukraine, in a teacher's family. Father taught her chess when she was 10 years old. In 1925, she moved to Moscow.
The first women's tournament, organized by the Komsomol'skaya Pravda newspaper in 1926, was unsuccessful for Rudenko. But this only made her study chess theory more. In the next training tournament that took place in Spring 1927, she took the first place in her group, finishing the tournament without losing. Soon Rudenko played in the first USSR Women's Championship, finishing 5th and getting the third category in the process.
In the early 1928, Rudenko won men's qualifying tournament with a score of 8/11 and got the second category. In 1928, she won Moscow Women's Championship with a perfect score of 12/12.
Since late 1928, Rudenko had been living in Leningrad. In 1932, she won the Leningrad Championship. In 1935, she finished second, behind Lobanova, in the Leningrad Championship, and shared 1st-2nd with her in 1936. Then she defeated Lobanova in a match and became the Leningrad champion for a second time. In 1935, she finished the methodical courses of the Leningrad Chess Section, writing afterwards, "Only now I learned that I knew nothing about the basic chess theory." In these years, Rudenko's playing has improved much under coaching of the master P.A. Romanovsky.
Rudenko showed good results in 1936. She won the semifinals, and in the final tournament, she fought for the championship until the last round, ultimately finishing half-point behind the USSR Champion Semyonova.
During the war, Rudenko worked as a planner on a factory in Chernyakhovsk (Bashkir ASSR). In 1945, she played in the Bashkir ASSR men's championship and finished sixth. In 1946, she shared first place in the Chernyakhovsk championship with the first-category player Lebedev.
Since 1945, Rudenko regularly plays in all women's tournaments. She shared 2nd-4th in the semifinals of the 6th USSR Women's Championship and then finished second in the final. She was awarded with the first category for this success. In Summer 1946, she won both her games against Bruce in the USSR - UK radio match in good style.

In 1947, Rudenko returned to Leningrad. She shared first place with Volpert in the Leningrad championship and then defeated her in a match, becoming the champion for the third time.

Rudenko led for the most part of the 1948 USSR Championship, but lost to her main competitor in a drawn ending and finished second. In the 9th USSR Championship (1949) she shared 3rd-4th places.

Lyudmila Vladimirovna Rudenko's great chess path ultimately led her to World Championship tournament victory. Losing in the first round, she then never lost a game. By winning 9 games and drawing 5, Rudenko won the championship.

Rudenko became the first Soviet player to win the Women's World Championship. The FIDE Congress awarded her with the international master's title.

After the World Championship, Rudenko is improving her chess with the coach A.K. Tolush.

World Champion Lyudmila Rudenko gives a simultaneous display in the Zhdanov Pioneers' Palace, Leningrad (1950). Katya Bishard, 11, won her game at the first board.

(Sadly, two pages from the book were lost, so there'll be no annotations for Rudenko - Benini game).

Olga Rubtsova
Olga Nikolaevna Rubtsova was born in Moscow on 20th August 1909. Her father Nikolay Rubtsov - the Bauman MSTU professor, distinguished scientists and technician, Stalin prize winner, - was a chess fan. He had first category and would often play in tournaments. Olya learned chess from him in early childhood, but took a real interest in 1925, during the Moscow International tournament. Together with her schoolmates, she would watch the strongest chess players of the time, and she wanted to play in a tournament herself.
Soon, her school organized a chess tournament. Olya defeated many boys and achieved a good result.
In late 1926, Rubtsova took part in a mass youth tournament organized by Komsomol'skaya Pravda newspaper, and, with a score 7/8, won the women's first prize. Then she, along with two more woman players, was invited to the Moscow team for a traditional match against Leningrad, showing the best results among her teammates.
She won the inaugural USSR Women's Championship with a good result - 8.5/10 - and was given the second category. In 1928, Rubtsova finished second in the Moscow championship and won the Central Council of Trade Unions tournament.
She won her second USSR Women's Championship in 1931, getting first category for this success. In the 1934 USSR Championship, she finished second behind Semyonova, but defeated her in a match in 1935.
In the 1936 USSR Championship, Rubtsova finished only third, but then, in 1937, won the championship again.
In 1937-45, Rubtsova played only sporadically. Since 1945, though, she would play in all major tournaments - the USSR Championships, Moscow championships, trade union championships. She won the Moscow championship in 1947 and 1950, and became a 5-time USSR Champion in 1949.
Rubtsova successfully played in men's tournaments. In 1944, she finished third in the Moscow championship quarter-finals and advanced to the semifinal. In the Moscow mass tournament dedicated to Mikhail Chigorin's centenary anniversary, Rubtsova only failed to advance to the All-Russian tournament due to a loss in the last round.
Rubtsova led the Women's World Championship for a long time and only lost her lead to Rudenko in the late rounds. For this success, she was awarded with the Master of Sports title. The FIDE Congress, in turn, awarded her with the Women's International Master title.
Olga Rubtsova is a member of the Stroitel sports society. Since 1938, she studies chess under master A.B. Polyak.
Olga Rubtsova has five children. Her main occupation is smelting engineer.
Here's the list of her main achievements (women's tournaments unless stated otherwise):
  • 1927, Komsomol'skaya Pravda tournament: 1st
  • 1927 USSR Championship: 1st
  • 1928 Moscow Championship: 2nd
  • 1928 Central Council of Trade Unions tournament: 1st
  • 1931 USSR Championship: 1st
  • 1935 USSR Championship match against Olga Semyonova: +6-1=2
  • 1936 USSR Championship: 3rd
  • 1937 USSR Championship: 1st
  • 1941 Moscow Championship: 2nd-3rd
  • 1944 Moscow Men's Championship quarterfinal: 3rd
  • 1945 USSR Championship: 3rd-4th
  • 1946 Moscow Championship: 2nd
  • 1947 USSR Championship: 5th
  • 1947 Moscow Championship: 1st-2nd
  • 1947 Moscow Championship match against N. Voytsik: +4-0=0
  • 1948 USSR Championship: 3rd
  • 1948 Moscow Championship: 2nd
  • 1949 USSR Championship: 1st
  • 1950 World Championship: 2nd
  • 1950 Moscow Championship: 1st



 Valentina Belova

Valentina Mikhailovna Belova was born on 28th January 1920 in Cherepovets, in a doctor's family. Valya learned to play chess in a Leningrad school. In 1937, a school tournament was organized, and the 10th-grader Valya Belova took part. In this competition, she got the 5th category norm. In Autumn 1937, Belova got 4th, and then 3rd category in men's qualifying tournaments.
Her first women's tournament was the 1937 Leningrad championship semifinal. In May 1938, the Leningrad woman players, including Belova, came to Moscow for a match. She played on 5th board and won both her games in style. In late 1938, Valya won 2nd category in men's qualifying tournament. She won the 1940 Leningrad championship.
During the war, Belova worked as a Russian and German language teacher in the Khogot village, Irkutsk region, and in the summer holidays, she worked as a tractor driver.
Belova returned to Leningrad in early 1945. In Autumn that year, she took the Leningrad championship, winning almost all games.
In 1945, Belova played in her first USSR Championship against strong and experienced opponents. She won the semifinal with a score of 8.5/12, getting the first category norm. Then, in the final, Belova overtook Rudenko and former champions Rubtsova and Semyonova and won the championship.
In 1946, Belova played at the first women's board in the USSR - United Kingdom radio match and won both games against Tranmer.
Belova failed to defend her title at the 1947 USSR Championship, but still shared 2nd-3rd places. She won the 9th USSR Championship Leningrad semifinal. She successfully played in men's first-category tournaments, scoring above 50%.
1950 was a particularly successful year for Belova. In the USSR Championship, she was one of the title contenders, but lost an important game and finished second. She shared 1st-2nd places at the Leningrad championship.
In a training tournament of USSR's strongest woman chess players, dedicated to the centenary anniversary of Mikhail Chigorin, Belova achieved an outstanding result: 8.5/12, winning all her mini-matches and finishing two points ahead of Rudenko.
In the Women's World Championship, Belova shared 3rd-4th places and received the Master of Sports title. The FIDE Congress awarded her with the Women's International Master title.
Valentina Belova is a student of the Leningrad Institute of Mines. In 1942, she graduated from the Leningrad University (school of philology).
Belova's best results:
  • 1940 Leningrad championship: 1st
  • 1945 Leningrad championship: 1st
  • 1945 USSR Championship: 1st
  • 1947 USSR Championship: 2nd-3rd
  • 1947 Nauka sports society championship: 3rd
  • 1947 Central Council of Trade Unions championship: 2nd
  • 1948 USSR Championship: 4th-5th
  • 1948 Leningrad championship: 3rd
  • 1949 USSR Championship: 3rd-4th
  • 1950 Women's World Championship: 3rd-4th
  • 1950 USSR Championship: 2nd
  • 1950 Leningrad championship: 1st-2nd
  • 1950 Training tournament: 1st


Elizabeth (Elizaveta) Bykova

Elizaveta Ivanovna Bykova was born on 4th November 1913 in Bogolyubovo village, Vladimir region, in a peasant family. She moved to Moscow in 1925 and learned chess in that year.
Bykova's first chess competition was in Summer 1935, when she played in the so-called "smaller Moscow championship". She finished at one of the last places. This failure showed the need to study theory, and so Bykova started visiting a chess school for the 5th and 4th category players. Later, she became a pupil in the Moscow women's chess school.
Bykova would often take part in men's qualifying tournaments. In one of such tournaments, in Autumn 1936, she shared 1st-2nd place and got third category. Second category was awarded to her after finishing third in the 1937 Moscow women's championship.
In 1939, Bykova qualified for the Bolshevik sports society championship, where she met masters, candidate masters and first-category players. In 1944, she played in the quarter-finals of Moscow men's championship and got first category.
Bykova won three USSR Championships and four Moscow Championships. She shared 3rd-4th place in the Women's World Chess Championship and was awarded with the Master of Sport title. The FIDE Congress awarded her with the Woman International Master title.
Bykova works as a planning economist; she's a member of Iskra sports society. Here's her sporting biography:
  • 1937 Moscow championship: 3rd
  • 1938 Central Committee of State Institutions championship: 1st
  • 1938 Moscow championship: 1st-2nd
  • 1939 Moscow championship: 1st
  • 1941 Moscow championship: 2nd-3rd
  • 1945 Moscow championship: 1st
  • 1945 USSR Championship: 3rd-4th
  • 1946 Moscow championship: 1st
  • 1947 USSR Championship: 1st
  • 1947 Central Council of Trade Unions team championship: 1st
  • 1948 USSR Championship: 1st
  • 1948 USSR Team Cup: 1st
  • 1949 Bolshevik sports society championship: 1st
  • 1950 Women's World Chess Championship: 3rd-4th
  • 1950 USSR Championship: 1st



Check Bykova's report about the world championship here.