The Swiss Chess Federation (SSB) has confirmed that 2008 women’s world chess champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk, has joined the ranks of Russian players leaving their country to play under the Swiss banner from January 1, 2024. Kosteniuk, who holds dual Russian-Swiss citizenship and is often referred to as the “chess queen” in online circles, is currently living in France and already plays for SD Zurick in the Swiss Team Championship. She last played for Russia in December 2021. The change in Kosteniuk’s case will only come into effect in 2024 to avoid having to pay a 10,000 euro transfer fee to the Russian Chess Federation. This means that the grandmaster will miss out on the 2023 European Team Championship.
Kosteniuk is one of the most accomplished players of her generation with a grandmaster title and an ELO rating of 2520. Currently rated #9 on the women’s world rankings, Kosteniuk was the women’s world chess champion between 2008 and 2010 and won the women’s rapid chess championship as recently as 2021. The move of Kosteniuk serves as an example that while history doesn’t repeat itself, it certainly rhymes: In 1976, Viktor Korchnoi defected from the Soviet Union, not returning home after the 1978 Amsterdam tournament, becoming a Swiss citizen in 1978 and joining their chess federation two years later.
The Russian GM Alexandra Kosteniuk has decided to leave the Russian Federation due to the Russia-Ukraine war, and will play for the Swiss Chess Federation from 2024. The reason why Kosteniuk will not play for Switzerland in 2023 is financial. If she were to change federations now, the SSB would have to pay the Russian Chess Federation a transfer fee of 10,000 dollars. After a two-year waiting period, the change of federation is free of charge.
The fact that Alexandra Kosteniuk will not play for Switzerland as early as 2023 has a financial background. If she were to change federations now, the SSB would have to pay the Russian Chess Federation a transfer fee of 10,000 dollars. After a two-year waiting period, the change of federation is free of charge.
Alexandra Kosteniuk, who last played for Russia in December 2021, will still miss the European Team Championship in Budva, Montenegro, in November 2023, but she will still play the men’s title tournament at the Swiss Individual Championships in Leukerbad in July 2023.
Read the press release here: https://www.swisschess.ch/news-112/gm-alexandra-kosteniuk-spielt-ab-2024-fuer-die-schweiz.html