Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk (Russian: Алекса́ндра Константи́новна Костеню́к) was born April 23, 1984 in in Perm, Russia. Initially, she learned to play chess from her father, Konstantin, an officer in the Russian Army, who decided to quit his military job to begin teaching her chess full-time. When she was five years old, she played blindfolded, and not soon after; she dominated European tournaments with her brilliant play. Kosteniuk is a Russian chess grandmaster, a Women’s World Chess Champion from 2008 to 2010. Furthermore, she was the European women’s champion in 2004 and the two-time Russian Women’s Chess Champion in 2005 and 2016. She won the team gold medal in chess-playing for Russia at the Women’s Chess Olympiads of 2010, 2012, and 2014. Moreover, the Women’s World Team Chess Championship of 2017, and last but not least, the Women’s European Team Chess Championships of 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2017.
What makes Kosteniuk special? Well, apart from her chess-playing ability and analytic skills, she looks nothing like the old-school, middle-aged female player that you’d tend to associate with Soviet chess. Instead, Kosteniuk represents a new generation of Russian women. She’s smart, stylish, and beautiful and makes women’s chess seem fashionable! Kosteniuk has a very popular Internet presence. According to Alexa’s worldwide rankings, her website, kosteniuk.com, is one of today’s most popular chess websites. The website’s ranking should have shot through the roof after she became the women’s world champion in 2010, but Alexandra Kosteniuk was just one of at least 50 chess players from around the world at the championship. Initially, 64 players were supposed to participate in the knockout event, but 11 withdrew just before the tournament due to the military conflict between Georgia and Russia that began just days before the championship started. Subsequently, the conflict overshadowed the championship and the result.
Furthermore, Alexandra Kosteniuk is an aspiring model who uses her good looks to promote chess. As a result, she has been compared to the Russian tennis knockout (and Miami Beach, Florida, resident) Anna Kournikova. Still, Kosteniuk doesn’t like the comparison, while Kournikova hasn’t won any individual tournaments, in contrast to Kosteniuk, who has won almost everything. But, like Kournikova, Kosteniuk has managed to manifest her sport’s appeal by selling her combination of beauty and talent. Around 3,000 people subscribe to her podcast at chessiscool.com, and about 10,000 others log on to her two websites each month, www.chessqueen.com and www.kosteniuk.com, where they can read about her career, her achievements, all of her online social networks (twitch.tv/chessqueen have about 200 000 registered fans), see photos of Kosteniuk in bikinis and buy her instructional DVDs. All of her online activities are managed by her husband, 49, who is also her publicist and webmaster.