Mary Rudge was born on February 6, 1842. She was born in Leominster, a small town in Herefordshire, England and she grew up to be a master cheese player. She won the first international women’s chess tournament in London, 1897 with 18.5/19 ahead of Louisa Matilda Fagan.*
Growing up she would play chess with her father. She began playing chess in 1872 by correspondence and she joined the Bristol Chess Club. She was the first female member. After the death of her father she began playing seriously and moved to Bristol. She had an older sister Caroline, and older brother Henry. She and her sister went to live with her brother after the passing of their father. Caroline and Mary helped her brother teach school until the school closed. When the school closed her brother moved to North Meols, but Mary stayed behind. By this time she had established herself at the game of chess.
In 1889, she became the first woman in the world to give simultaneous chess exhibitions and she was being hailed as the leading lady chess player in the world. In 1898, she played against world champion Emanuel Lasker in a simultaneous display in London. Lasker was unable to finish the game and conceded defeat because he would be lost with Rudge best play.
To be a master at chess she had to understand the game, and understand strategy. She knew when to strike, but also when to fall back, so to speak. She was one of many women to take up the game of chess, and Rudge definitely showed she had the courage and the wit to play against her male counterpart. If she could best him at chess, at this time, didn’t it show that women were meant for more? Her heart and spirit definitely proved that she was in the game.