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Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk (Russian: Алекса́ндра Константи́новна Костеню́к; born 23 April 1984) is a Russian chess grandmaster and Women's World Chess Champion from 2008 to 2010. She won the team gold medal playing for Russia at the Women's Chess Olympiads of 2010, 2012 and 2014, the Women's World Team Chess Championship of 2017,[1] and the Women's European Team Chess Championships of 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017.

Alexandra Kosteniuk
Aleksandra Kosteniuk 2013.jpg
Kosteniuk at the Women's European Team Championship, Warsaw 2013
Full nameAlexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk
Born (1984-04-23) 23 April 1984 (age 35)
Perm, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (2004)
Women's World Champion2008–10
FIDE rating2546 (May 2019)
Peak rating2557 (April 2016)


Chess careerEdit

Kosteniuk learned to play chess at the age of five after being taught by her father. In 1994, she won the girls under 10 division of the European Youth Chess Championship and in 1996 she won the girls under 12 title at both the European Youth Championships and World Youth Chess Championships. At twelve years old she also became the Russian women's champion in rapid chess.[2]

Kosteniuk at the 35th Chess Olympiad, Bled 2002

In 2001, at the age of 17, she reached the final of the World Women's Chess Championship and was defeated by Zhu Chen. Three years later, she became European women's champion by winning the tournament in Dresden, Germany.[3] Thanks to this achievement, in November 2004, she was awarded the grandmaster title, becoming the tenth woman to receive the highest title of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Before that, she had also obtained the titles of Woman Grandmaster in 1998 and International Master in 2000.[4]

She won the Russian Women's Championship in 2005 and 2016.[5] In August 2006, she became the first Chess960 women's world champion after beating Germany's top female player Elisabeth Pähtz by 5½–2½. She defended that title successfully in 2008 by beating Kateryna Lahno 2½–1½.[6] However, her greatest success so far has been to win the Women's World Chess Championship 2008, beating in the final the young Chinese prodigy Hou Yifan, with a score of 2½–1½.[7][8] Later in the same year, she won the women's individual blitz event of the 2008 World Mind Sports Games in Beijing.[9]

In the Women's World Chess Championship 2010 she was eliminated in the third round by the eventual runner-up, Ruan Lufei, and thus lost her title.

In 2013, Kosteniuk became the first woman to win the men’s Swiss Chess Championship.[10] She also won the women's Swiss champion title, and thus became the first person to win both the women’s and men’s national chess titles in Switzerland.[10] In 2014, she tied for first place with Kateryna Lagno in the Women's World Rapid Championship, which was held in Khanty-Mansiysk, and took the silver medal on tiebreak, as Lagno won the direct encounter.[11] In 2015 Kosteniuk won the European–ACP Women's Rapid Championship in Kutaisi.[12] In July of the same year, she lost the Swiss championship playoff to Vadim Milov, and was declared women's Swiss champion.[13] In 2017 she won the European ACP Women's Blitz Championship in Monte Carlo.[14]

Other activitiesEdit

Kosteniuk worked as a model and also acted in the film Bless the Woman by Stanislav Govorukhin.[3][15]

Kosteniuk is a member of the "Champions for Peace" club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.[16][17]

Personal lifeEdit

Born in Perm, Kosteniuk moved to Moscow in 1985.[3] She has a younger sister named Oksana, who is a Woman FIDE Master level chess player.

Kosteniuk has dual Swiss-Russian citizenship.[10] She married Swiss-born Diego Garces, who is of Colombian descent,[18] at eighteen years old. On 22 April 2007 she gave birth to a daughter, Francesca Maria. Francesca was born 2½ months premature, but after an 8-week stay in the hospital has made a full recovery.[19] In 2015, Kosteniuk married Russian Grandmaster Pavel Tregubov.[20]

Notable gamesEdit

Bibliography by KosteniukEdit

  • Kosteniuk, Alexandra (2001). How I became a grandmaster at age 14. Moscow. ISBN 5829300435.
  • Как стать гроссмейстером в 14 лет. Moscow, 2001. 202, [2] с., [16] л. ил. ISBN 5-89069-053-1.
  • Как научить шахматам : дошкольный шахматный учебник / Александра Костенюк, Наталия Костенюк. Moscow : Russian Chess House, 2008. 142 с ISBN 978-5-94693-085-7.
  • Kosteniuk, Alexandra (2009). Diary of a Chess Queen. Mongoose Press. ISBN 978-0-9791482-7-9.


  1. ^ McGourty, Colin (2017-06-28). "Flawless China retain World Team Championship". Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  2. ^ "Alexandra Kosteniuk: "The victory was so close!"". FIDE Women World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2014. FIDE. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "The 2004 European Women's Chess Champion". ChessBase. 2004-04-04. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  4. ^ Alexandra Kosteniuk rating card at FIDE
  5. ^ Silver, Albert (2016-11-01). "Riazantsev and Kosteniuk are 2016 Russian champions". Chess News. ChessBase. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  6. ^ – Chess News – Mainz 2008 Kosteniuk wins Chess960, Rybka and Shredder qualify
  7. ^ Alexandra Kosteniuk is Women's World Champion ChessBase
  8. ^ The crowning of Kosteniuk as a World Champion Chessdom
  9. ^ "Kosteniuk wins WMSG blitz title". Chessdom.
  10. ^ a b c - Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk's Chess Blog
  11. ^ "Title: Kateryna Lagno crowned Women's World Rapid Champion". FIDE Women World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2014. FIDE. 2014-04-25. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Alexandra Kosteniuk wins European-ACP Women's Rapid Championship". Chessdom. 2015-06-04. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Abschluss der SEM in Leukerbad: Erster Titel für GM Vadim Milov" (in German). Swiss Chess Federation. 2015-07-17. Archived from the original on 19 January 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Anna Muzychuk & Alexandra Kosteniuk won the European ACP Women's Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship". FIDE. 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  15. ^ Alexandra Kosteniuk on IMDb
  16. ^ "The Chess Queen Becomes Champion for Peace". 2010-03-03. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  17. ^ Champions for peace Archived 2015-11-19 at the Wayback Machine Peace and Sport
  18. ^ Various photos of Frascati (in Italian)
  19. ^ "Francesca Maria Kosteniuk enters the world". ChessBase. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Alexandra Kosteniuk Marries Pavel Tregubov". 2015-08-08. Retrieved 10 October 2015.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Xu Yuhua
Women's World Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Hou Yifan