GM Alexandra Kosteniuk hardly needs an introduction, as the former Women’s World Champion has been a successful and high profile player throughout her career. Born in Perm, Russia (USSR) in 1984, Alexandra learned chess from her father at the age of five. She won numerous junior titles, including the European Girl’s U10 and U12, as well as the Girl’s U12 division of the World Youth. Kosteniuk also won the Women’s Russian Rapid Championship that same year, an impressive feat for a 12-year-old.
In 2001 at the age of 17, Kosteniuk reached the final of the Women’s World Championship, only coming up short against GM Zhu Chen in the final. She won the European Women’s Championship in 2004, and as a result became the 10th woman to secure the Grandmaster title. Alexandra is also a two-time Russian Women’s Champion, capturing the title in 2005 and 2016. Her biggest success came in 2008, however, when she won the Women’s World Championship by defeating Chinese super-talent Hou Yifan in the final.
Alexandra has been a member of the Russian Women’s Team since 2002, a team which has won the Olympiad three straight years (2010, 2012, 2014), and the most recent World Team Championship in 2017. In addition, they won three European Team Championships in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Kosteniuk has enjoyed success in open events as well, including winning the 2013 Swiss Chess Championship. Outside of chess, she has done both modeling and acting. She is also a member of “Champions for Peace,” a group of elite athletes that promote peace through sport.