1897: First Woman
Mary Rudge of England won the first Women's International Chess Congress. She began playing chess at age 30, but took to it quickly. She played in local tournaments for many years and was considered the strongest woman in the world before the first Woman's International Chess Congress. Her score of 18 wins and 1 draw made that very clear! Her play was on par with the male masters of her time - including a notable win against world champion Emanuel Lasker in a simul. She was an inspiration for a generation of female players to come.