Alexandra Kosteniuk in Penthouse

by ChessBase
5/13/2006 – This is not something you will want to miss: chess beauty Alexandra Kosteniuk, number three female chess player in the world, has been given a full four-page spread in the American Penthouse Magazine (May 2006 issue). "All the right moves" is the title of the beautifully illustrated article by Dave Hollander. Quick, go get a copy!

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"CHECK MATE," writes the Penthouse Media Group in a recent press release. "Alexandra Kosteniuk is the current women’s Chess vice-champion of the world and in the May issue of Penthouse, interviewer Dave Hollander finds out that this 'Anna Kournikova of chess' brings more to the table than just her ethereal beauty. A ruthless and competitive opponent, Alexandra has all the right moves and unlike Anna, she plays to win and not just look good while she’s doing it."

The introduction to the article reads: "Most women probably wouldn't mind being likened to former tennis beauty Anna Kournikova, but the gorgeous chess grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk can do without the comparison. After all, Kournikova failed to win a singles WTA title during her career. Kosteniuk, who started playing chess at age five, has plenty of victories. She is the 2004 European champion, the 2005 Russian champion, and the current women's vice-champion of the world (sort of like being vice-president of the game). Kosteniuk was named a woman grandmaster at age 14. In 2004, she became the tenth woman in history to earn the title of grandmaster (men), placing her in chess's upper echelon."

Here are some of the points Alexandra makes in the two-page interview:

  • I do think it's possible for women to play as good as men. They just need to work hard from a very early age.

  • To play chess well, you need to concentrate for a long time and not make a mistake. For this, you need to be in good physical shape. I consider chess a sport. I consider myself an athlete because I know how much effort you need to play chess well. Part of my preparation consists in physical training. I run five kilometers every day. During the winters, when in Moscow I ski. When in Miami I swim.

  • My dream has always been to see chess as a part of the Olympic games, because I see the Olympics as an important way to measure the ideal in human performance. I met Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former president of the International Olympic Committee. I told him what I thought, and we got very close to putting chess into the Olympic games. Unfortunately, Samaranch retired and the whole idea came to a sudden halt.

  • The most dangerous thing for chess is electronic performance enhancement – the use of chess computers. Sometimes players cheat by using chess programs during a game. That's what we really have to be aware of.

  • To me, chess was and is the battle of two human beings. What I love in chess is psychology – to play against an opponent who is not a computer.

  • A good chess player has to have chess intuition. That doesn't come from being a man or a woman – it comes from your chess experience.

  • [In reply to the question "Since the queen is the most powerful piece, protecting a vulnerable king, why isn't chess seen as the ultimate feminist game?"] In Russia, the queen is male. We have a
    different name for that piece. It's called feef [Firzan]. It's the "adviser of the king." I think we are the only country that does it that way.

  • I would like to play with Kasparov one day. He's retired from chess, but he's still No. 1 in the world.

Penthouse is a men's magazine founded by Bob Guccione, combining urban lifestyle articles and soft-core pornographic pictorials. In the 1990s it moved towards hardcore, and is currenly located somewhere in between Playboy and Hustler in terms of explicitness. The most famous issue of Penthouse was September 1984, which was the largest selling issue of any magazine in history (it featured explicit photos of the current Miss America, Vanessa Williams, from early in her modeling career). Penthouse made its founder Guccione one of the richest men in the United States.

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