Happy Birthday Alexandra Kosteniuk!

| 15 | Chess Players

Alexandra Kosteniuk is the current Women's World Chess Champion - a title she won in September 2008, beating Hou Yifan in the final match.

Kosteniuk was born in Perm, Russia on 23 April 1984 and was taught to play chess by her father when she was five years old.

As a talented young player, she became as well known for her attractive looks and self promotion as for her chess, but her terrific chess skill was never in question.

At the age of just 17, she reached the final of the Womens' World Championship, losing out to Zhu Chen of China.  In 2004 she became only the 10th woman to earn the (Men's) Grandmaster title.

Her current rating is 2516 Elo, placing her 11th on the women's ranking list.

Kosteniuk now lives in Key Biscayne, Florida with her husband Diego Garces.  In April 2007 Kosteniuk gave birth to Francesca Maria.  Francesca was born prematurely, but made a full recovery.

Diego Garces also plays chess, but spends most of his time supporting his wife's career, including running her very popular website.

Kosteniuk's hard work, chess skill and attractive looks have made her a high profile ambassador for the game of chess.  Happy birthday Alexandra!

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