Kosteniuk has switched to Switzerland

by Frederic Friedel
3/17/2023 – Former women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, currently in the top ten of women's chess, is one of several top Russian players who have left the country or criticized the invasion of Ukraine. Kosteniuk will in future play under the Swiss flag.

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It is interesting to read the many comments of colleagues greeting Alexandra's move.

A rule change allowed an earlier switch than planned. Kosteniuk is a dual Russian-Swiss citizen, and the Swiss federation announced in January that she would be making the switch in 2024. A recent change in rules by world chess governing body FIDE, however, made an earlier move possible. 

Normally, when players switch federations are expected to pay a fee in compensation to the federation they leave. But FIDE recently decided that players who wanted to switch to joining another European federation as a result of as a result of the Russian Chess Federation switching from the ECU to the ACF, would not have to pay any fees.

"Players previous belonging to the CFR [Russian chess federation] will be allowed to represent their new federation with immediate effect, from the next day of submitting their application, without any restrictions. All transfer fees, to FIDE or CFR, are waived," FIDE has announced.

Chess has taken a similar approach to tennis but a milder one than sports like football. Russia is banned from international team tournaments, but individual Russian players can still eligible to compete under a neutral flag.

Several high profile Russian grandmasters have left the country since the war broke out, and others have made critical comments. Those who have left include Dmitry Andreikin, Vladimir Fedoseev, Alexander Predke and Alexey Sarana. Forty-four top Russian players published an open letter to President Vladimir Putin calling on him to stop the war in April last year, Kosteniuk among them, as well as World Championship challenger Ian Neopmniachtchi

"In Russia there are people who like to repeat that Russia 'has never attacked anyone in history,'" Kosteniuk said in a Chess.com report. "I used to gladly believe such stories, that Russia had never invaded other countries, but unfortunately, it's not true. Of course, at the beginning of 2022, we were following the news, and there were rumors about a possible invasion, but we refused to believe for a single moment these stories. That's why we were so shocked when it actually happened."

Alexandra Kosteniuk and chess beauty

Alexandra Kosteniuk is a former Women's World Rapid Chess Champion. She won the team gold medal for Russia at the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Women's Chess Olympiads, the 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017 Women's European Team Chess Championships, and the Women's Chess World Cup 2021. In February Alexandra was the overall winner of last month's Munich International Tournament, part of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix series. 


An illustrious chess career. But her fame was also connected with her looks, which she proudly displayed in photo shoots and adds for luxury products. She even played in a Russian film, directed by the famous Stanislav Govorukhin.

Alexandra also has a very active web site, http://www.kosteniuk.com/. She has a personal blog on Instagram and conducts regular streams on her twitch channel. More than 200,000 chess fans follow Alexandra's official pages:

Since 2007, Alexandra has been holding a children's chess tournament "Alexandra Kosteniuk Cup" - www.chessqueencup.com, in which more than 1000 children have already taken part. She is an Ambassador for Chess for Peace in the organization Sport for Peace and is actively involved in charitable activities.

Google Alexandra Kostiniuk and click "images" to get an overview of her glamorous activities.

Also read

2002 ChessBase report: 
One giant leap for mankind

"Why is a great chess player, vice champion of the world at that, dangling at the end of a 150-foot rope?" we wrote at the time. "Well, just taking a break from chess and going for adventure in the south-sea island of Bali. Alexandra Kosteniuk, who stopped over in Hamburg for a few days, brought along an electronic picture album."

2005 ChessBase report:
Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russian Champion

She is a disconcertingly beautiful creature, the perfect subject for glamour shoots. When dealing with Alexandra Kosteniuk one sometimes tends to forget that she is also intelligent, analytical and extremely determined – winning the Russian Women's Championship with 9/11 and a performance rating of 2691 speaks for itself.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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genem genem 3/19/2023 08:39
Alexandra continues to enjoy a long and durable career near the very top of women's chess, a career that includes her own stint alone at the top. Similar to another point that Garry Kasparov made about "hard work" being a skill in itself, Alexandra continues to demonstrate the skill of maintaining to put in the hard work to have such as extended career.
NoSystem NoSystem 3/17/2023 07:28
Following Korchnoi's example.
Chesstiger9 Chesstiger9 3/17/2023 06:01
Молодец-Александра! Ваш поступок -вызвышает Вас в наших глазах! Мы гордимся -Вами! Удачи и успеха во всем!
Flopmartin Flopmartin 3/17/2023 03:22
Congratulations Sacha ! And welcome home ! Hop Suisse ! :)