GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, the former Women’s World Champion was born in Perm, Russia (USSR) in 1984. Alexandra learned chess from her father at the age of five and 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.