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Alexandra Kosteniuk

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Alexandra Kosteniuk
Kosteniuk at the Women's European Team Championship, Warsaw 2013
Full nameAlexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk
CountryRussia (before 2022)
FIDE (2022–2023)[a]
Switzerland (since 2023)[3]
Born (1984-04-23) 23 April 1984 (age 40)
Perm, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (2004)
Women's World Champion2008–10
FIDE rating2501 (June 2024)
Peak rating2561 (January 2018)

Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk (Russian: Алекса́ндра Константи́новна Костеню́к; born 23 April 1984) is a Russian and Swiss[4] chess grandmaster who was the Women's World Chess Champion from 2008 to 2010 and Women's World Rapid Chess Champion in 2021. She was European women's champion in 2004 and a two-time Russian Women's Chess Champion (in 2005 and 2016). Kosteniuk 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;[5] and the Women's European Team Chess Championships of 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017; and the Women's Chess World Cup 2021. In 2022, due to sanctions imposed on Russian players after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she switched federations, and as of March 2023 she represents Switzerland.

Chess career

Kosteniuk learned to play chess at the age of five after being taught by her father. She graduated in 2003 from the Russian State Academy of Physical Education in Moscow as a certified professional chess trainer.[6] As a child, she played casual chess for money, in order to earn resources for chess trips.[7]


Kosteniuk won the girls under 10 division of the European Youth Chess Championship.


Kosteniuk 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.[8]


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 won by Zhu Chen.


Kosteniuk became European women's champion by winning the tournament in Dresden, Germany.[9] As she achieved this with a performance rating above 2600,[10][11] she was awarded the grandmaster title in November 2004, 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.[12]


Kosteniuk won the Russian Women's Championship.[13]


In August, 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.[14] However, Kosteniuk's 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.[15][16] Later in the same year, she won the women's individual blitz event of the 2008 World Mind Sports Games in Beijing.[17]


In the Women's World Chess Championship 2010 Kosteniuk 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 (i.e. universal) Swiss Chess Championship.[4] She also won the women Swiss champion title.


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.[18]


In 2015 Kosteniuk won the European–ACP Women's Rapid Championship in Kutaisi.[19] In July of the same year, she lost the Swiss championship playoff to Vadim Milov, and was declared women's Swiss champion.[20]


Kosteniuk again won the Russian Women's Championship.[13]


In 2017 she won the European ACP Women's Blitz Championship in Monte Carlo.[21]


In late May, Alexandra faced Ukrainian-American International Master Anna Zatonskih in the quarterfinal match of the 2019 Women's Speed Chess Championship, an online blitz and bullet competition hosted by[22] Kosteniuk dominated the match and won with an overall score of 20–8.[23] In late November, Kosteniuk won the European Women's rapid and blitz championships in Monaco.[24][25] In December, she shared first place in the second leg of FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2019–20 in Monaco.[26] In December she also achieved 2nd place in the Belt and Road World Chess Woman Summit, behind Hou Yifan.[27]


In August 2020, Alexandra was part of the Russian team which shared the gold medal with India in the Online Chess Olympiad.[28] She was unhappy with this result and has also tweeted regarding this issue, drawing criticism from many chess followers.[29]


In July and August 2021, Kosteniuk participated in the inaugural Women's Chess World Cup, a 103-player knockout tournament in Sochi, Russia, held in parallel with the open Chess World Cup. Seeded 14th in the tournament, she won all of her classical matches without ever needing to play a tiebreak, defeating Deysi Cori, Pia Cramling, Mariya Muzychuk, Valentina Gunina and Tan Zhongyi, before winning the tournament with a 1.5 - 0.5 score against top seed Aleksandra Goryachkina in the finals. In addition to $50,000 in prize money, she also gained 43 rating points and a place in the Women's Candidates Tournament 2022.[30]

Kosteniuk ended the year by winning the women's world rapid championship in Warsaw, with an undefeated and unequalled 9.0 out of 11 score. [31] She also placed second behind IM Bibisara Assaubayeva in the blitz championship.

Other activities

Kosteniuk worked as a model and also acted in the film Bless the Woman by Stanislav Govorukhin.[9][32]

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.[33][34]

Together with 43 other Russian elite chess players, Kosteniuk signed an open letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin protesting against the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[35]

Personal life

Born in Perm, Kosteniuk moved to Moscow in 1985.[9] She has a younger sister named Oksana, who is a Woman FIDE Master-level chess player.

Kosteniuk has dual Swiss-Russian citizenship.[4] She married Swiss-born businessman Diego Garces born in 1959, who is of Colombian descent,[36] at eighteen years old. On 22 April 2007 she gave birth to a daughter, Francesca Maria. Francesca was born 2½ months premature but made a full recovery after an 8-week stay in the hospital.[37] In 2015, Kosteniuk married Russian Grandmaster Pavel Tregubov.[38]

Notable games

Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2007


  • 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. ^ Several Russian players officially switched federations in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[1][2]


  1. ^ Russian Grandmasters Leave Russia: 'I Have No Sympathy For This War',, 1 May 2022
  2. ^ FIDE Condemns Military Action; Takes Measures Against Russia, Belarus,, 28 February 2022
  3. ^ "Transfers in 2023". FIDE. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  4. ^ a b c " - Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk's Chess Blog". Archived from the original on 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
  5. ^ McGourty, Colin (2017-06-28). "Flawless China retain World Team Championship". Archived from the original on 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  6. ^ bio 2015 Apr 9"
  7. ^ Jennifer Shahade, Chess Queens, 2024, p. 215.
  8. ^ "Alexandra Kosteniuk: "The victory was so close!"". FIDE Women World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2014. FIDE. 2014-04-24. Archived from the original on 2016-02-25. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "The 2004 European Women's Chess Champion". ChessBase. 2004-04-04. Archived from the original on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Certificate of Title Result Grandmaster". 2004-04-06. Archived from the original on 2004-04-06. Retrieved 2024-03-15.
  11. ^ "FIDE Handbook 2003: International Title Regulations of FIDE" (PDF). Arbitri Lombardia Scacchi. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 December 2021. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  12. ^ Alexandra Kosteniuk rating card at FIDE
  13. ^ a b Silver, Albert (2016-11-01). "Riazantsev and Kosteniuk are 2016 Russian champions". Chess News. ChessBase. Archived from the original on 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  14. ^ "Mainz 2008: Kosteniuk wins Chess960, Rybka and Shredder qualify". Chess News. Aug 1, 2008. Archived from the original on October 7, 2020. Retrieved Oct 2, 2020.
  15. ^ Alexandra Kosteniuk is Women's World Champion Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine ChessBase
  16. ^ The crowning of Kosteniuk as a World Champion Archived 2017-10-18 at the Wayback Machine Chessdom
  17. ^ "Kosteniuk wins WMSG blitz title" Archived 2015-01-24 at the Wayback Machine. Chessdom.
  18. ^ "Title: Kateryna Lagno crowned Women's World Rapid Champion". FIDE Women World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2014. FIDE. 2014-04-25. Archived from the original on 2016-02-25. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Alexandra Kosteniuk wins European-ACP Women's Rapid Championship". Chessdom. 2015-06-04. Archived from the original on 2015-12-30. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "Anna Muzychuk & Alexandra Kosteniuk won the European ACP Women's Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship". FIDE. 2017-10-24. Archived from the original on 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  22. ^ "Nakamura Defeats So To Repeat As Speed Chess Champion". 8 April 2020. Archived from the original on October 8, 2020. Retrieved Oct 2, 2020.
  23. ^ Doggers, Peter (27 May 2019). "Women's Speed Chess: Kosteniuk Too Strong For Zatonskih". Archived from the original on 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Chess-Results Server - European Women Individual Blitz Chess Championship 2019". Archived from the original on 2021-02-25. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  25. ^ "Chess-Results Server - European Women Individual Rapid Chess Championship 2019". Archived from the original on 2020-01-29. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  26. ^ "Alexandra Kosteniuk wins the Monaco Women's Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 2020-02-20. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  27. ^ "The Week in Chess 1311". Archived from the original on 2020-10-27. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  28. ^ "India, Russia announced joint winners of Chess Olympiad after controversial finish". Aug 31, 2020. Archived from the original on August 31, 2020. Retrieved Oct 2, 2020.
  29. ^ Kosteniuk, Alexandra [@chessqueen] (August 30, 2020). "Let's clarify one thing: India didn't win the Olympiad, but was rather named by FIDE a co-champion. imho, there is a huge difference between actually "winning" the gold or just being awarded one without winning a single game in the final #onlineolympiad" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2021-06-16. Retrieved 2021-08-10 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ [@chess24com] (August 2, 2021). "Congratulations to Alexandra Kosteniuk (@chessqueen) on winning the 2021 Women's #FIDEWorldCup, earning $50k (40k after FIDE's cut) and picking up an amazing 43 rating points in the process! #c24live" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2021-08-07. Retrieved 2021-08-10 – via Twitter.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  31. ^ "Results - Women Rapid". Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2021-12-28.
  32. ^ Alexandra Kosteniuk at IMDb
  33. ^ "The Chess Queen Becomes Champion for Peace". 2010-03-03. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  34. ^ Champions for peace Archived 2015-11-19 at the Wayback Machine Peace and Sport
  35. ^ 'Stop the war.' 44 Top Russian Players Publish Open Letter To Putin Archived 2022-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, March 6, 2022
  36. ^ "Various photos of Frascati". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved Oct 2, 2020.
  37. ^ "Francesca Maria Kosteniuk enters the world". ChessBase. 2007-06-21. Archived from the original on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  38. ^ "Alexandra Kosteniuk Marries Pavel Tregubov". 2015-08-08. Archived from the original on 2015-08-10. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
Preceded byXu Yuhua Women's World Chess Champion 2008–2010 Succeeded byHou Yifan
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Alexandra Kosteniuk
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