Aleksandra Kosteniuk, chess grandmaster
Aleksandra Kosteniuk is a wonderful girl. She is a Russian chess Grandmaster (2004), the 12th women’s world chess champion (from September 2008 to December 2010), European Champion (2004), Champion of Switzerland (2011), two-time winner of the Chess Olympiad (2010, 2012) and three-time winner of the European Championship (2007, 2009, 2011), vice-champion of the World Rapid Chess (2012).
Aleksandra was born on April 23, 1984 in Perm. In 1985 the whole family moved to Moscow and seven years later the girl became a champion of the capital.
Kosteniuk began playing chess at the age of five. Her father Konstantin Kosteniuk, Honored coach of Russia, is her coach. Aleksandra has a younger sister Oksana, who is also a chess player.
At the age of 14 she has achieved the title of Grandmaster among women (one of the youngest in the world) and international master.
Her mottos are “chess is cool” and “beauty and intelligence can go together”.
She quickly made a name for herself on the international stage by reaching the final of the world championship in 2001, aged 17. Three years later, she became European women’s champion by winning the tournament in Dresden, Germany.
In 2003, Kosteniuk graduated from the Russian State University of Physical Culture and Sports.
In November 2004, Aleksandra became the 10th woman in the world to receive the highest title of the World Chess Federation, FIDE.
Kosteniuk has proved her talent for the game after being crowned “Queen of Chess” at the women’s championships held in Samara, Russia (2005).
Aleksandra is a glamorous Russian part-time model. In 2006, her photos appeared in men’s magazine “Penthouse”.
She said: “Modeling is not a job. It is just a hobby, like reading books”.
“I want people to see there is a fun side to chess. It can be made as exciting as soccer or tennis. Things are changing. I am clever, so I can play chess; and I am not ugly, so I can be a model.”
Aleksandra 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.
Kosteniuk played title role in Stanislav Govorukhin’s film “Bless the woman”.
Aleksandra and her father wrote a book titled “How to become a Grandmaster at the age of 14”. It was published in Russian, English and Spanish. She is also an author of the books titled “Play chess with Aleksandra Kosteniuk” and “Diary of a Chess Queen”.
Aleksandra is married to Swiss-born Diego Garces, who is 25 years older. On April 22, 2007 Kosteniuk gave birth to a daughter named Francesca Maria.
Believe in yourself, even a pawn can become a queen!
Her official site