Alexandra KosteniukChess Player
Born: 23 April 1984
Birthplace: Perm, Russia
Best known as: The Russian champ who says "Chess is cool"
Russian fashion model Alexandra Kosteniuk leads a double life as a chess champion, having won the 2008 Women's World Chess championship. In the top tiers of international chess competition since her teens, she was intitially compared to tennis star Anna Kournikova: a young talent not shy about showing off her good looks. Trained by her father, Kosteniuk began playing chess as a little girl, and became a European champion before she was 10 years old. She became an International Woman Grandmaster in 1998, an International Master (competing against men) in 2000, and an International Grandmaster in 2004, the same year she won the Women's European Chess Championship. She and her father published a book, How I Became Grandmaster at Age 14, and followed it with her own line of chess games and DVDs. In later years she has become a mentor for other young chess players, pitching the game with her mottoes "chess is cool" (also the title of her podcast) and "beauty and intelligence can go together."
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