SI Vault
June 17, 2002
Why you should learn her name
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
June 17, 2002

Who Is...alexandra Kosteniuk

View CoverRead All Articles

Why you should learn her name

At 18 she's the fastest-rising woman in chess—rated 21st in the world.

Why you should care about her deft use of the Dutch defense and the Noteboom variation

Like another Russian sportswoman with the same initials, this A.K. has received as much attention for her looks as for her playing ability. The World Chess Federation has tabbed her to model a new line of chesswear—a sporty black-and-white collection of jackets, trousers, skirts and stockinette tops. Unlike the other A.K., Kosteniuk trounces her opponents. Last December she tore through the field at the Women's World Chess Championships before losing to fifth-ranked Zhu Chen, 26, in the final.


Co-author (with her dad) of the book How I Became Grandmaster at Age 14; studying at the Russian State Academy of Physical Education to become a certified chess trainer; writes poetry and likes to ski.


"I am clever, so I can play chess. And I am not so ugly, so I can model."