Thursday, April 13, 2006

Chess Promotion - Kosteniuk in the news

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, yesterday I was on NY1 TV, a big local TV station, to promote the benefits of chess for girls ( I was also recently on CBS TV in New York to promote the benefits of chess for young people ( Afew weeks ago, New York Newsday did a 4 page feature story with me in their Sunday Edition ( about my mission to promote chess, followed by a story in the New York Times the weekend after.

This morning, Penthouse Magazine and PR Newswire published this Press Release to promote Russia's Kournikova of chess, Alexandra Kosteniuk.

April 13 / PRNewswire, 6:00 am ET - Penthouse Media Group Inc

The May 2006 Penthouse issue is currently on sale at newsstands. The new edition features sizzling centerfolds, including May Pet and Illinois native Nevaeh and BrittneySkye, the blonde bombshell who teased millions of viewers by streaking at the U.S. Open in 2003.

CHECK MATE: 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 to just look good while she's doing it...

Personally, I do not read Penthouse and I would not buy it. I think it is degrading to women. However, we live in a free society and I believe that Alexandra can do what she wishes. It is her life and no one can tell her what to or not to do.

Do I approve of this type of promotion? Do I think that it is good for women's chess? Do I think that it is a positive influence for younger players? I would reserve my opinion about this promotional scheme. But the forum is yours.

What is your opinion?

* Does appearing (in the form of interview) in Penthouse help promote chess for women and young girls?
* What about other female players who went even further by appearing nude / nearly nude in some men's magazines?
* Is this type of chess promotion good for chess overall?

I encourage good and fair debates or discussions. However, please keep things clean and no personal insults or attacks. Please give everyone, especially Alexandra Kosteniuk, the proper respect. Thanks! Posted by Picasa


Cindy said...

Kosteniuk is NOT the current runner up of the women's world championship. That's a lie by Kosteniuk.

Secondly, I'm disgusted with this kind of marketing. No, it doesn't help promote chess.

Amin said...

I have same the opinion as Cindy. This is bad marketing and doesn't help chess, maybe Kosteniuk herself. Why does Kosteniuk mislead Penthouse by telling them that she's the current vice-champion of the world? That's incorrect.

I also don't like taking clothes off in men's sex magazine like WGM Manakova. Bad choice by these women.


Anonymous said...

Well, most people accept these actions by beautiful people because they are people accepted anna, serena, venus, steffy graph and many atheletes in bikini in sports illustrated magazine just like the supermodels. Recently maria sharapova also did bikini photoshoot which is accepted by most people. So why not alexandra??
its their choice to do that. If we dont like it, then don't talk about it, mind our own business. Personally I enjoyed seeing those pics of famous atheletes.

Mary said...

As a woman and mother of 3 girls, I object to this kind of marketing. This is not a good example for children, especially young girls. I'll make sure that my daughters won't grow up like Ms. Kosteniuk.

Anonymous said...

She's apparently fully clothed, not nude, in the issue. And it seems Topalov was interviewed in Bulgarian Playboy Magazine December 2005 (look it up on Chessbase).

Take it how you may.

A NYC Chess Mom said...

As the mom of a young chess player, Penthouse is the last place I would look for role models for her. So I don't think that appearing in Penthouse can possibly help chess for young girls. On the other hand, we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture where Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan (none of whom are role models I would choose for my daughters) sell many more magazines than Bill Gates or David Ho so maybe any kind of publicity is better than no publicity. Still, for my daughter's sake, I would rather see the Polgar sisters on the cover of Sports Illustrated (in their clothes!)

SusanPolgar said...

NYC Chess Mom, funny you mentioned Sports Illustrated. I was on SI last year fully clothed :) but not the cover.

Here's the link to that article:

Thank you for your kind comments.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Donna said...

Appearing in Penthouse in any capacity is in poor taste. The question is why Ms. Kosteniuk is so desperate for attention that she's willing to do anything for publicity.

Her behavior may be well received in Russia but not for the American Scholastic Community.

Phi Harris said...

I am not sure why this article is described as "marketing"...

It is highly unlikely that Alexandra approached Playboy magazine and offered to be interviewed, as I would imagine they would expect something more than text to appear.

If, as I believe, Playboy approached her for the interview half hoping she might be prepared to go along with that publications seedy traditions, then I think she deserves congratulations.

Chess is everyones game, it does not belong to any one person to promote. There should be no competition between people to see who can get more airtime. We should all, as lovers of the game, be pleased to see it getting publicity. The fact that Alexandra gave an interview for Playboy, and remained fully clothed while doing it, is perhaps a mark of respect for the game and her achievements in it.

I do believe there is such a thing as bad publicity, but by my definition, this falls a long way short of that.

One other consideration perhaps, is that just because a girl is a good chess player, should that mean she has to behave in a particular way? At what point does she forgo the right to behave how she feels is appropriate?

If the readers of Playboy get to see that chess is a challenging sport, played by attractive women, with their own standards of dignity, then I don't see the harm at all.

Phil Harris said...

Please substitute Penthouse, for Playboy in the above post.

judge judy said...

Susan, let's discuss your questions:

"Does [Kosteniuk] appearing in Penthouse help promote chess for women and young girls?"

In answer to this question, let me ask another important question: How many women and young girls read Penthouse. If you, like me, suspect that very current and prospective female chess players read Penthouse magazine, then Kosteniuk's appearance in Penthouse will not spark women's and young girl's interest in chess. This could change if Penthouse commits to sponsoring women's and young girl's chess tournaments. Note that women manage some of the best selling, so-called, men's magazines.

"Will it help chess overall?"

Probably not (see answer above).

How then should we view Kosteniuk's decision to appear in Penthouse?

It is her freedom of speech and freedom of choice decision. In this light, if her choice violates no FIDE conduct code, it has no bearing upon her chess career.

judge judy said...

Susan, let's discuss your questions:

"Does [Kosteniuk] appearing in Penthouse help promote chess for women and young girls?"

In answer to this question, let me ask another important question: How many women and young girls read Penthouse? If you, like me, suspect that very few current and prospective female chess players read Penthouse magazine, then Kosteniuk's appearance in Penthouse will not spark women's and young girl's interest in chess. This could change if Penthouse commits to sponsoring women's and young girl's chess tournaments. Note that women manage some of the best selling, so-called, men's magazines.

"Will it help chess overall?"

Probably not (see answer above).

How then should we view Kosteniuk's decision to appear in Penthouse?

It is her freedom of speech and freedom of choice decision. In this light, if her choice violates no FIDE conduct code, it has no bearing upon her chess career.

Anonymous said...

Ok, let me say something about protecting kids. People..have you ever watched current TV programs? Each and every program on any TV channels is filled with sexually explicit comments, actions and violence. Whatever we do, the kids still will run after brittany, lindsey and others. Our job is only to tell them their good side and bad side but we can't keep kids locked in their rooms.
So what is this fuss about a chessplayer in one magazine...??

Vinay said...

Its her choice. We shouldnt be debating it to death. There are plenty of people doing far more worse things in the world today. Let her enjoy and make money.

- Vinay

Anonymous said...

I think the Penthouse thing is awful, even though I've heard (not checked) that the pictures are not nude.

However, the Australian basketball player Lauren Jackson famously posed nude in some Australian magazine. It wasn't like Penthouse, it was more like artistic black-and-white photos, but it caused a stir. I guess I have less of a problem with an athlete doing that, than with a chess player doing the same.

I heard your hair is blonde now. Is that true? Will you put up a picture? Not a nude :).

tim said...

the premise of this discussion is off base. kosteniuk is not trying to promote chess for young girls by being in penthouse. she's just trying to promote herself. nothing wrong with that and kudos to anyone who can make a living by not working!

additionally, someone in a post mentioned topalov being in playboy, where's the outrade from the chess mom's on that one. i'm sure some of these mom's have young chess playing sons!

Afonso Bernardino said...

It is totally unacceptable the moral remarks about what Kosteniuk does or doesn't.

The best chess promotion she makes is being the 3rd world ranked woman. And that, whatever people say, was earned with work and talent. Not with anything else! Is that so hard to see?

If she makes movies, photos, interviews, the only one who should be sorry is herself, for it may take her some time she needed to work more at chess and become a better player.

Is an actress less respecatble just because she makes sensual pictures? Does it make her less talented? Does it give a bad name to acting? I think it doesn't. We may not like it, we may think it is a poor decision but in the end it is really not our business!

Anyone in chess knows that there are lots of GM's that are alcoholics. Why doesn't anybody seems so mad about the bad name it can give to chess? Or is it some kind of tight moral prejudice against women.

What should be the right behaviour of a chess player? And of an actor? And of a writer? And of an architect? What is their right behaviour in what concerns to their professional activity?

I must say that I find Mrs Kosteniuk's photos and marketing options highly questionable. Really bad taste.

But, between her otions – that I may find questionable – and this kind of hypocrite moralistic crusade trying to tell us what is right and what is wrong, based in who knows who's morals, I really choose Kosteniuk's cheesy pictures.

The problem is when you think a group of people has the big truth about what should be done and what should not be one. And worst, when they try to impose it to the ones who do not think the way they do, by adding guilt to a specific option.

Once you start, sometimes it is hard to stop.

Is some parts of the world it was and is widely used. Tha last ones I think were in Afghanistan. They were called talibans. And if you asked them, they would also tell you what was right and what was wrong. And they really belived it.

Tom said...

Kosteniuk is only interested in self promotion. One only has to look at the CDs marketed on her web site to see that she is leveraging assets other than her chess expertise. It is her right to promote herself, but it is a shame that such a talented individual hasn't taken a higher road.

It is interesting that her web site makes no mention of her marital status even though her husband is the site administrator. Perhaps the illusion that she is available is important to one of her marketing demographics.

Her Penthouse appearance will neither benefit or retard chess. I doubt if any readers of Penthouse will get into chess in order to pick up girls.

Sad to say, but she could have truly become the Woman's Vice Champion
by appearing unclothed in Penthouse.

DutchDunce said...

I consider myself a general supporter of both Kosteniuk and Topalov, but in my mind they both 'goofed' by appearing in porn mags, even though they weren't in nude shots.

Am I wrong NOT to make a distinction between the actions of these two players? Or is there really a difference because Kosteniuk is a female? If someone could explain their point of view on this, I'd be glad to hear it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Since when did self promotion become a crime against the game of chess?
If that is the case, there are a few around who's constant efforts to promote themselves are as bad or worse than Kostenuik.
Most people in sport, entertainment or politics do anything they can to promote themselves. Why not chess players?
As far as it appearing in Penthouse, I find the American idea that freedom of expression and speech lasts right up to the point that they stop liking some aspect of it, quite genuinely repulsive.

Bob said...

A few random thoughts

1) Not sure she "lied." Magazines have long lead-times. At the time the article was prepared, was she perhaps the runner-up? Or was the statement something that the author put in and just got wrong?

Sure she promotes herself, and she may have knowingly lied about the level of her success.

2) Could have a positive impact on MEN's chess. Women may not read these magazines (although some do), but men do. It's not that men will start playing chess because they expect to meet Kosteniuk. But arguably this will help (slightly) change the stereotype of chess as something only for unattractive, socially inept losers.

And although it may not HELP women's chess, I doubt if it would HURT much.

3) Many people complain about Penthouse and Playboy because they "objectify" women. If that's your opinion, it seems like there are two broad goals you can have: either (a) hope that they wither away and disappear; or (b) hope that they change and recognize women as more than physically attractive objects of sexual fantasies.

Seems to me that the objections to Kosteniuk appearing in the magazine are based on (a). People oppose it because it helps promote or even legitimize a product they consider objectionable.

To me, (a) seems a very unachievable goal. These magazines are always going to be successful. They're not going away. And I doubt if this interview with Kosteniuk is going to legitimize or strengthen the magazine's business much.

So, to me, Kosteniuk's interview seems a net positive, because it helps with (b). Wouldn't you be happier with those magazines if, every month, they had an article -- with pictures but not nude or overly salacious -- of a woman who was successful because of her MIND rather than her BODY? Wouldn't that be a positive change?

*shrug* Just my thoughts. Worth what you paid for them. Your opinion may (probably will) vary.

Anonymous said...

Penthouse is a pornographic magazine (they have pictures of sex acts). The only pictures Playboy has is of nude women. Just thought I'd share that.

Anonymous said...

as much as i love the game, this is not a good example for young girls.


Anonymous said...

As much as I love this blog, no one mentions the fact that Penthouse is being sold and supposedly widely read in the US and other countries who approve public p****graphy - tells a lot. Chess players should unite against this and similar magazines, not promote it. By the way, where can I get a copy?

Anonymous said...

Susan, how many people would have known of this AK way promotion, if it were not for this blog? I would have never.

Vadim said...

Mrs. Kosteniuk has been married for a number of years. She and her husband (late 40's) dated when she was 16.

She wants to promote chess for children. Therefore, I think it's in poor taste to be in Penthouse.

It seems that her ego (or husband) is simply too big. She/they often inflated her achievement for personal gain.

TKF said...

What's the big deal about Kosteniuk? There're many strong female players who are much better looking and have much nicer bodies. I guess she's willing to take more off.

Bob said...

While Penthouse is more "out there" than Playboy -- I haven't looked at one in many years and don't recall ever seeing actual sex acts portrayed, but will take your word for it -- it is almost mainstream in the U.S.

Where can you find a copy? Try the gift shops in most major airports, and many upscale hotels. You don't have to buy it in a brown wrapper from some seedy looking guy in an alley. We're way beyond the days when you had to have a (male) clerk pull it from underneath the counter, because it can't be displayed in public.

We are living in an age that moves inexorably toward more and more permissiveness and licentiousness. You can deplore the state of affairs, but that's what reality is right now. And it's very difficult, if not impossible, to change that.

Valery said...

A typical wannabe. Kosteniuk has never been a world champion and never been #1. The nickname Kournikova of chess is somewhat fitting except Kournikova is 100 times better looking, more famous and Kournikova was the #1 double's player in the world.

Mack said...

Does Kosteniuk feel ashamed about her husband who is more than twice her age? How come she's hiding that fact to the public? Such a deceiptful act!

Anonymous said...

Why are we wasting time discussing Kosteniuk? Who cares about her?

Phil Harris said...

This character assasination of Alexandra Kostenuik is truly appalling.

Whatever you think of her she is still the number 3 woman player in the world, rated 2540.

On one hand we bemoan the lack of women in chess, and when there is a strong female player who happens to keep her private life to herself, she gets this treatment!

You people should be ashamed of yourselves for attacking her like this. Since when has her private life been any of your business? Are we somehow entitled to know all about the private lives of GM's, or is it only women GM's?

Jealousy is an ugly emotion, and rarely uglier than the stuff I have seen on here....

I for one always believed the GM title should command some respect, its sad to see that no longer appears to be true.

Anonymous said...

Phil Harris, if someone appears in a nudie magazine that's sold on the newsstands, in what way is that private? If anything, it's exposing stuff in public that is more customarily kept private ;-).

I don't have anything against Penthouse or even with porn. Although like drinking it can be addictive and destructive, for occasional users it's just a bit of escape or release. But it's fantasy, and connecting real-world accomplishments to it is not so healthy. It cheapens the actual accomplishment, to market it that way.

Anonymous said...

She does not appear nude, not even slightly.

afonso bernardino said...

Who's business is it if Kosteniuk's husband is twice her age? Or is there also some moral issue here by someone who wants to tell us which is the acceptable age for a husband or a wife?!

This kind of attacks show exactly what is the problem in Kosteniuk's detractors: a medieval mind who finds unacceptable that a woman makes what she really wants to concerning her private life, even if the very same thing is made by men. But for them thet's ok. They're men, right?

SusanPolgar said...

Sorry Glenn,

As I said in the blog, I reserve my opinion on this matter. However, for your information, I would absolutely refuse to be interviewed by such magazine.

In addition, my accomplishments have always been stated as is.

For everyone else, please try to stick to the questions asked. Let's not attack Alexandra on a personal level.

You can agree or disagree with her method of marketing and promotion but let's keep it civil and let's show her the respect she deserves. Thanks!

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Javier said...

Thank you Susan. Let's give Alexandra respect. I don't like her and how she self-promote. I think it's not good for young girls. This is the difference in the cultural.

Glenn, Susan doesn't self promote. She promotes chess, not herself. Everything she does is for the kids. Get your facts straight.


Giaccomo said...

Kosteniuk expects respect for appearing in Penthouse? That's the biggest joke. I also don't get the term vice-champion. Why not say runner up. That's the proper term.

Kosteniuk also fibs on her resume. She never won 3 world championships as claimed in her bio. I guess she needs to beef it up because of lack of accomplishments comparing to other players.

Good luck to her if this is what she chooses to do. In no way this type of promotion is good for girls or chess, only for Kosteniuk herself. It's about fame, ego and money. Let's not beat around the bush. Nothing wrong with that. Just don't hide or lie about it.


Luis Moreno said...

(Since when did self promotion become a crime against the game of chess? If that is the case, there are a few around who's constant efforts to promote themselves are as bad or worse than Kostenuik.)

Many people promote chess, ie. Karpov, Kasparov, Susan Polgar, Topalov, etc. But no one promotes chess the way Kosteniuk does, a whole new low,.

I don't blame her. I blame her husband. He's the mastermind behind it to fulfill his own ego. If the goal is to make Kosteniuk into a star, he is the man. If the goal is to promote chess for children as claimed by the Kosteniuk camp, he's the last person who should be involved.

Kosteniuk is a very nice person. It's very unfortunate that she's controlled by her husband.

Anonymous said...

-- Does Kosteniuk feel ashamed about her husband who is more than twice her age? How come she's hiding that fact to the public? Such a deceiptful act! --

That's not a nice thing to say. Sasha Kosteniuk loves her sugar Daddy Diego. He makes her into a star, a truly great promotion for someone who hasn't won any world championship. How else would an ordinary looking guy nearly 50 marry a young chick like Sasha Kosteniuk? He is proud to show her off. Just look at her website. They're selling everything of her.


Vic said...

I would respect Kosteniuk if she admits that she's doing things like this to help her career instead of thinking all of us are stupid by saying she's doing this to promote chess.

This doesn't help chess. This doesn't help women's chess. This helps only Kosteniuk and her husband. Nothing wrong with self-promotion. Just don't lie about it.

Tommy said...

Judge Not Least You be Judged. what Jesus meant by that was that we are all One. and thus in the same instant we are judging others we are in reality judging ourself. There is not 2, a me and a you. we are One. there is only one whos mind is split into thinking there are millions of different people. but all this occurs only in the mind.

Healing the One mind so that it stops judging that there are Others, is very tricky and subtle.

As soon as we catch ourself making a judgment we need to simply stop judging both others and ourself. do not judge the self as wrong to have just judged. for it is all nothing. just stop the judgment in the moment and go one loving yourself. of course yourself is One with everyone. so loving yourself is loving everyone.

But what is the purpose of this judgement of others. The purpose is to bring up into the light that which we need to heal in ourself.

Repeat after me 100 times when we forget. "There is no one else separate from me to judge. when I am judging others I am really judging myself. what I judge in others is what I need to heal in myself.


If someone else judges me then I dont listen because I know he is simply judging himself and not me. To listen to the judgement of me would only give it power inside of me and I would feel abuse.

Since God Loves Me so perfectly just the way I am. then any criticizm of me is really a statement that God is Not God for he made a mistake.

Alexandra Kostiniuk is the one holy blessed son of god perfect in every way. She is one with Jesus, she is one with me, she is one with everyone. for there is ONLY ONE.

Mama Mia said...

* Does appearing in Penthouse help promote chess for women and young girls?

Not whatsoever. It can only deter girls to stay away from chess.

* What about other women players who went even further by appearing nude / nearly nude in some men's magazines?

That's their right but don't complain when people view them as trash.

* Is this type of chess promotion good for chess?

No. It's only good for Kosteniuk. Maybe it's not even good for her since it makes her look like a greedy ego maniac.

* Will it help chess overall?

Not at all.

morally coded said...

I agree with a lot of posters here:

- Kosteniuk did an interbiew for Penthouse. As FIDE's code of ethics has no rule against this interview, what's the problem?

- Kosteniuk didn't discuss/promote her/chess player's sexual choices/mores in the interview, so what harm did she do?

- Kosteniuk is currently one of the very top Women Grand Masters, and she may have blown her own horn a little during the interview, but, I ask you, so what else is new? How many recent World Champions or contenders have done likewise, in ALL PROFESSIONAL SPORTS?

- Setting Kosteniuk aside for a second, though, I am apalled! To think that there are pictures of naked people in literature! Gasp! And pictures of these unclothed people are available to the general adult public, as well! Gadzooks Martha! What's worse, I hear that some people in the world ACTUALLY TALK [surely they whisper] ABOUT SEX! Horrific! Shocking!

You would think that people actually believed that they are the result of a man and a woman engaging in the above mentioned 3-letter word act! Shocking!

And worse still some of these same people [that engage in sex] actually do outside of wedlock! To top it all off, some of them even have children outside of wedlock!

I can't go on...

Anonymous said...

Cindy: "Kosteniuk is NOT the current runner up of the women's world championship. That's a lie by Kosteniuk."

Did she say that, or the interviewer wrote wrongly?

Anonymous said...

Who are all the women in the world who promote chess for children?

Who are all the men in the world who promote chess for children?

Anonymous said...

"Susan Polgar is the current World Champion in Women's Chess and the top ranked woman chess player in the United States.".

That's what is says here:

Anonymous said...

* Does appearing in Penthouse help promote chess for women and young girls?

Of course not. Necessary comment: women and young girls are not the only ones who play chess.

* What about other women players who went even further by appearing nude / nearly nude in some men's magazines?

Same as above.

* Is this type of chess promotion good for chess?

As this blog proves, obviously, yes. Necessary comments: it helps us to think out of the box, and make the right decisions. I couldn't understand "good for chess". What is chess? An entity?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the AK idea was for the Penthouse readers to switch to chess, and not reading magazines?

Anonymous said...

As we can see from different photos world 'round, different dressing rules in chess apply for men and women. Men are mostly not allowed to play in shorts. Women can dress as they seem fit.

Anonymous said...

This is an issue which only women can resolve. Men should not comment.

Anonymous said...

World Chess Federation excerpts:

2.2.8 In any top level tournament, players, delegations or teams must comply with a high standard dress code. Delegations includes both a player's seconds and any other individual who the player allows to conduct business on behalf of the players. Players are responsible for the actions of acknowledged members of their delegations.

2.2.9 Players or members of their delegations must not make unjustified accusations toward other players, officials or sponsors. All protests must be referred directly to the arbiter or the Technical Director of the tournament.

2.2.10 In addition, disciplinary action in accordance with this Code of Ethics will be taken in cases of occurrences which cause the game of chess, FIDE or its federations to appear in an unjustifiable unfavorable light and in this way damage its reputation.

2.2.11 Any conduct likely to injure or discredit the reputation of FIDE, its events, organizers, participants, sponsors or that will enhance the goodwill which attaches to the same.

3.1 FIDE federations, officials and affiliated organizations acting in contravention to this code can be temporarily excluded from membership or office.

3.2 Anyone acting in contravention of this code can be excluded from participation in all FIDE tournaments or from specific types of tournaments for a period of up to 3 years. Weight shall be given to the type of violation and to any previous violations in decided upon the length of the exclusion period.

Anonymous said...

The chess videos made at the Polgar Center are great!!! Can we see more?

Dick said...

Kosteniuk, a pathetic egomaniac!

Anonymous said...

The number three rated woman player in the world, she got that by winning chess games.
Why don't those of you who are obviously jealous of her, at least respect her chess ability.
This thread has shown that even in the great game of chess there are small minded nasty little people.
A fact I find rather depressing.

Anonymous said...

This is the great game of blog, not chess.

Anonymous said...

Arrest A.K. if she has faulted! Arrest the editor of Penthouse for daring to promote chess among the nudes!

Beatrice said...

Kosteniuk and her husband thrive for attention at any cost. What a pair of ego maniacs.

Max said...

** Anonymous said...
The number three rated woman player in the world, she got that by winning chess games.
Why don't those of you who are obviously jealous of her, at least respect her chess ability.

Because she doesn't want people to respect her chess. She and her husband were the one who compared her to Kournikova. They continued to promote her in skimpy outfits and not Penthouse. So stop the whining. They got what they wanted. She also never won the big one, failing in 2001, 2004 and 2006.

Flower Bud said...

My problem is Kosteniuk constantly said that she wants to promote scholastic chess. Being in Penthouse in any capacity doesn't go well with that mission. It's obvious that she'll do anything for money and fame and not for the good of chess.

Pete said...

Amazing what some people would do for money and recognition. What's next for Kosteniuk? Hustler?

dudley doright said...

Heh, Fischer once did an interview for Playboy after beating Spassky for the World Title.

Look what it did to his mind!

The filth! The sleeze! Shocking!

We need to bring back chasity belts, corsets, veils, etc.!

Anonymous said...

Penthouse is no Playboy!

Oxana said...

I wonder if it's legal in Russia to have sexual relation with a minor? She was 16 when he caught her. What some girl would do for money.

Anonymous said...

16? really? how despicable! shame on her hubby.

Anonymous said...

These personal insults are disgusting, you people should be ashamed of yourselves.
What gives you the right to talk about her like this?
She is a person with feelings too, and will probably read this.
If any of you could achieve world number 3 in anything, with the exception of bad manners, I would be amazed.

Solomon said...

Because that's whay she asked for. She and her husband constantly want to promote her look and body instead of her brain.

Her website is full of fashion photos for SALE! No other woman constantly go out there to sell her look.

#3 is not #1. She was never #1. She never won the world championship. So instead of working harder, they want a shortcut to fame and fortune.

Anonymous said...

Soloman your wisdom appears to have deserted you, and been replaced with bitterness.
Her current rating is her highest so far, her current standing is her highest so far.
You talk as though her career is over, where as statistics would support the view that she is getting stronger.
I was never a particular fan of hers, but all these vile attacks have made me wish better for her. If she can suceed in the face of so many small minded critics, then I wish her the very best.

Kuznetsov said...

Kosteniuk is quite arrogant in her way of self-promoting. She misled a lot of people with her self-inflated resume.

It's understandable when the media misprint a player's accomplishments. It's horrible when a player is misreprensenting her own bio.

I hope Mrs. Kosteniuk finds what she's looking for. I for one find her actions and decisions digusting.

Anonymous said...

I don't care about Kosteniuk. I don't think this will help chess or women's chess. This appearance to Penthouse is purely to promote herself and not chess.

Anonymous said...

Kosteniuk should learn how to play chess as good as the Polgar sisters instead of learning to behave like Paris Hilton.

maximillian said...

Number 2? Number 3? What's in a number?

Experience shows that if the person treats others uniformly, badly, then the old saying "what goes around, comes around" eventually bites them in the bud, and they lose popularity, anyway.

On the other hand, as we travel through life, part of independence and learning is to err. Also, sometimes boldness is rewarding. Sometimes not. All these adventures are stepping-stones along the way to full self-actualization.

Did Kosteniuk say personally insulting things in this magazine article about any other chess player? If so, allow the other chess player to respond. If not, as she was merely interviewed, this interview is perhaps somewhat harmless in the grand scheme of things.

Married at 16? Maybe bad...maybe good. It is only in the 20th century that the average age of women, when marrying for the first time, became older than this. Only time will tell.

Perhaps this is a signal to other female chess players to lead the whole of chess from its somewhat stodgy, Elizibethian, cramped nature and into the daylight of a new, more enlightened 21st century.

Anonymous said...

#3 = she's not good enough to be #1. She should be spending more time to work on her game and less time promoting mutt.

Appearing in Penthouse is in very poor taste. Don't defend despicable actions.

Chess fan

Eva said...

Like some other people, I also find Kosteniuk appearing in Penthouse is a poor choice. It's obvious that Kosteniuk doesn't care about any other female player. She'll do anything to satisfy her own fame and ego. She's no role model for chess, especially kids. I certainly hope that she'll never be invited to any USCF scholastic event.

Miami Chess Mom

Anonymous said...

Chess fan suggeests that number 3 means she is not good enough to be number 1?
Number 3 is her highest position SO FAR. Which player do you know who went straight to number 1???
She still plays a lot of tournaments and is a very active player.
Why are you guys so bitter?
It demeans yourselves to speak like this about a rapidly improving player.
I hope she continues to improve and gets to number 1, if only to annoy you guys.

Stanislav said...

No, they don't suggest that #3 is not good. They suggest that Mrs. Kosteniuk is a phony. She likes to pretend that she's better than other. She'll never be #1 unless the Polgar sisters retire.

Kosteniuk is just another Kournikova wannabe. The difference is Kournikova won a bunch of double's grand slams and she was the #1 double's player in the world. Kosteniuk will never be.

Kournikova's face and body are also 100 times better than Kosteniuk. All Kosteniuk is a wannabe and a gold digger with a big ego. Kosteniuk makes other Russians look bad.

Jan said...

Why are you attacking Kosteniuk? If she wants to be trash then let her. If she wants to humiliate herself by appearing in Penthouse then let her. No one cares about her. Leave her be. We're lucky enough to have a great role model in Susan. Why waste time attacking an ego maniac like Kosteniuk?

Volke said...

Kosteniuk is a liar. She lies to everyone. When she's in Russia, she says she's Russian. When she's in America, she pretends to be American. She'll never be accepted her in the US, especially among the scholastic circuit. We need good role models like Susan, Maurice, Yasser and not dirt like Kosteniuk.

Kosteniuk is only about money and ego and nothing else. The appearance in Penthouse truly defines who she is. I can understand Playboy which is a classier magazine, but Penthouse? You have to be kidding me!

Anonymous said...


This whole thread is mean-spirited and unnecessary.

Even from the start, it is rude to refer to a woman as 'A. Kosteniuk'.

Alexandra is Russian, she has no duty to American Scholastic Chess, although she seems to do a lot for children and children's chess wherever she travels.

She never appeared nude in a magazine. She is interviewed by a magazine that you choose to disapprove of. So what? There is no need for you to follow your path, especially at her younger age. Many famous people have been interviewed by these magazines. They have serious articles and reach an afluent and influential demographic.

You should have known what a nasty disrespectful thread you would provoke.

This makes you look bad, Susan, not Alexandra. She did nothing wrong and you created a place where all the bitter people can come to attack her.

Why don't you just delete the whole thread. And apologise to Alexandra.

Anonymous said...

correction - "her to follow your path"

Anonymous said...

No Stanislav, you make Russians look bad. You make them look small minded, ignorant, and bad mannered.
Number 3 in the world is not a small achievement, Kournikova never even got close to that.
Your nasty, bitter and personal attack on Alexandra says far more about you than it does about her.

SusanPolgar said...

(Anonymous said... Susan, This whole thread is mean-spirited and unnecessary...)

First of all, why are you posting as anonymous? I make my opinion known. Secondly, this is a chess blog for chess players. I share with readers worldwide about chess news.

This is the heading of my blog:

Welcome! This site is where I provide chess fans and enthusiasts with updates on my chess activities as well as commentary on important chess news from around the world. It is also a site where everyone can productively discuss or ask questions about various chess issues! Your comments are welcome and appreciated! Please keep it civil! There will be at least one new fun puzzle a day. Enjoy! --

Alexandra made news with the NewsWire and Penthouse. This was their releases. I posted what was sent to me by Google. I did not pass judgment on Alexandra. I only said that I would not read that magazine. That is the truth and I fail to see the problem with that.

Even Kasparov, Karpov, Fischer and others including the Polgar sisters are not immune to criticism by the fans. When you are a public figure, that is what you have to prepare to face. Otherwise, don't be famous.

I have never insulted Alexandra. I have the right to disagree on various issues. Would I do an interview for Penthouse? Not in a million years because it would affect my ability to be a positive role model for young children in America. That is MY CHOICE. But if Alexandra thinks that it could help her career then power to her. No one stood in her way.

This is not the old communist regime. There is no dictator here. People have the right to disagree with me, Alexandra, Kasparov or any other chess player.

If people do not like this blog, they do not have to read it. But close to a million people do and they like it. I often update news faster than ChessBase, Daily Dirt and many other chess sources.

As you can clearly see, Alexandra has many supporters and many who do not approve of her actions. I wish her the best in life and in her career.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

NJ Chess Mom said...

Kosteniuk wants things both ways. She wants to be famous for doing trashy things and she wants people to love her for what she does.

It doesn't work that way in life. You are judged by what you do. She made a poor decision. She's the one who should apologize to chess fans. Shame on her!

Val said...

I'm appalled of what Kosteniuk is doing. She's an embarrassment to chess. How shameful!

Phil Harris said...

Susan, I have the greatest respect for everything you do, and I am a great fan of you and your family.

I feel I must mention one thing here however.

The post you made regarding Alexandra, started with a list of your recent, very admirable, publicity efforts.

You then said, "not to be out done" and pasted the news link you had on the Penthouse article, including what else might be found in the issue.

Is it not obvious that this is a comment in itself? The post was about Alexandra in Penthouse, so why compare it with your own efforts, unless you wish to draw a comparison?

This is a delicate subject, as many people moralise on what was NOT a nude appearence, but they speak as though it was.
Using words like "trashy" and "liar" in respect of a Grandmaster has really shocked me, and I feel that attitude and lack of respect is far more detrimental to chess as a whole, than anything Alexandra has done.

SusanPolgar said...

Dear Phil,

The part not to be outdone was deleted shortly after the post was made.

Unfortunately, sometimes the corrections do not appear until a few days later. This is one of the problems with blogspot. Sometimes posts do not appear for 3-4 days. When I was in Russia, most of my post did not appear for a week.

That part was meant for Penthouse and Newswire, not Alexandra. She of course cannot control what Newswire or Penthouse do. But when I realized that people may misunderstand, I deleted it. I hope the corrected version will appear soon.

I am also sad to see some of the shocking comments made about Alexandra. But I think this shows how passionate some people are about this issue.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Julian Hirst said...

Dear Susan,

One thing for sure you're not is naive! And knowing that truth, it is obvious that the questions you made in the end of this post had in mind the kind of reaction they had: mean-spirited remarks, insults and character assassination.

The bad opinion you have about Kosteniuk is as obvious as is obvious the cinicism when you declare yourself shocked by the comments made about her. Like if you haven't almost asked for them!

I have to agree with those many who say that Kosteniuk is an ego-maniac.

But unfortunately I haven't seen one single post saying how ego-maniac you are yourself!

The reading of your blog is a true essay about a very smartly disguised narcisism: you are always the one who help, the one that is right, the one that should be an example, the one that has the truth in her pocket.

If you ask me, I would tell you this: Kosteniuk is a case of delusion, ambition and ingenuity. You are a case of narcisism, presumption and – worst of all – bitterness.

You say this is not the communist regime. You're right. But it seems that old mental schemes are hard to erase.

SusanPolgar said...


I will take a stance against things I do not believe in. Jennifer Shahade was my Olympiad teammate. I like her very much and I would do what I can to help her. But I did not approve the title of her book. I said so and I also said that she is entitled to choose any title she wants. I have the right to like or not to like it. But I never told anyone not to buy her book. In fact, I said that people should check it out.

I did not think Kramnik's behavior from 2001 - 2006 was good for chess. I made my comments even though Kramnik is one of my favorite players.

I said very clearly that I will not grant Penthouse an interview if I was approached. It would totally be against my personal belief and what I want to achieve for scholastic chess in America. I also said that Kosteniuk has the right to do what she wishes.

I posed many questions in my blog. I am not going to tell anyone how to think. I always offer choices. I often offer my opinion in many issues. In the case of Kosteniuk, I held back my opinion out of respect for her.

I spent my whole life fighting for equality for the benefits of younger female chess players like Kosteniuk. Women were not allowed to compete in the Men's World Championship 20 years ago until I changed that and many other things. I think I have earned my place in the chess world and I earned the right to have a voice. If expressing my opinion and voicing my personal belief makes me an ego maniac then I have to live with it.

Bitter? Absolutely not. Jealous? Not even one bit. I am more than happy with my life and everything I have accomplished so far. But you have the right to form your opinion. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Juan Alvarez said...

Julian, I completely disagree with you. I for one would like to hear what Susan has to say. That's why I read this blog 5-10 times a day.

Her opinion is refreshing and often for the good of chess. She is a great role model for my children and countless of other children. I could not care less about Mrs. Kosteniuk.

Anonymous said...


Of course you have a right to your opinion. Your opinion is that it is worth associating yourself with the creation of what has turned into a nasty and mean thread against Alexandra Kosteniuk.

People will judge you, as a public figure, by your publicly expressed opinions.

You have lost a lot of respect by creating this anti-Alexandra platform.

Imagine if she ran something like this against you. Right away you would say 'this kind of bitter personal attack is why so many women leave chess'.

As I am not a public figure, my opinion is that I would rather be anonymous.

SusanPolgar said...

(Anonymous said... Susan, Of course you have a right to your opinion. Your opinion is that it is worth associating yourself with the creation of what has turned into a nasty and mean thread against Alexandra Kosteniuk. People will judge you, as a public figure, by your publicly expressed opinions. You have lost a lot of respect by creating this anti-Alexandra platform. Imagine if she ran something like this against you. Right away you would say 'this kind of bitter personal attack is why so many women leave chess'.)

If people lost respect for me because I bring forward important issues daily for the chess fans worldwide then so be it. Should I not allow people to express themselves?

Alexandra can do as she wishes. I never said she could not. She made an incredibly controversial decision to do something that many people strongly disapproved. At the same time, many also supported her decision.

That is the beauty of democracy. Do you demand for Alexandra to issue an apology to chess fans worldwide? Of course not. It is her right to do what she wishes. The fans will be the ultimate judge of her decision, not me. If she is afraid of this kind of reaction then why do what she did?

This is not an anti-Alexandra platform. I am sorry you feel this way. That is quite an insulting remark to me. I pose questions to my readers all the time and it will not stop. You have the right to insult me and I allowed you to make it. This is a blog about chess news, the same news that Penthouse and Newswire posted for the world to see.

You are entitled to your opinion. Other people are entitled to theirs. How come Xie Jun, Zhu Chen, Xu Yuhua or Humpy Koneru get this kind of reaction from chess fans?

Lastly, please do not assume how I would react or what I would say if she or anyone posts about me. Many have said worst things. I cannot stop what people think. I can only try to do my best for chess and follow my conscience.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Anonymous said...

Many people dragged Susan's name to Kosteniuk's site. They said bad things about Susan there. They made up lies. I've never seen Susan respond to that kind of trash. Some people like to pair them against each other when there is no issue.

truth or consequences said...

Well, it appears to this humble reporter that Susan has a ways to go before/if she reaches the same level of international diplomacy as Henry Kissenger. But then again, part of learning, and building such a foundation such as HK enjoyed, requires, of necessity some trial and error, some "stretching of the fabric" in a social group...all the more dificult internationally...ask Laszlo.

Anonymous said...

what is happening?is susan polgar anti-kosteniuk?If like this i will support kosteniuk,she is prettier,younger and more potential(and i mean potential,much younger and had granmaster title before she turned 20,although have not win 4...champions)what is susan polgar ranking now?

Veronica said...

It's sad to see male hormones taking over this discussion. It's wrong for someone who claims to promotes chess for children to appear in Penthouse. Period!

The same group would also be the first to buy the magazine if Kosteniuk poses nude in Penthouse as well. The bottom line is Kosteniuk is doing this for her own ego and wealth and not for children.

Jesus said...

I'm a male player, 32, 1900 USCF. At one time, I was a fan of Mrs. Kosteniuk. Unfortunately, I start to see more and more for who she is.

She has done very little for chess and mostly to promote her own name for personal gain. It's fine. My problem is the team of Diego/Alexandra have misled the public, asking people to donate money to them.

The last straw is this appearance in Penthouse. It confirms my opinion about her.

Stay in Russia and enjoy your fame as a Kournikova wannabe.

Anonymous said...

I feel very sorry for Kosteniuk. She's the victim of the sleezebag husband of her. Very sad indeed!

Miguel said...

This is truly a monumental mistake for Kosteniuk. I also agree with the last poster. I blame her husband for all of this. He's old enough to know what's right and wrong. But his ego caused him to make this very poor decision for his wife.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of hearing about Kosteniuk. I hope she'll go away. What kind of girl would appear in Penthouse? Trash! Stay in Russia!

Anonymous said...

Don't blame Kosteniuk. Blame her perverted husband. She's under his influence. He's the sugar daddy. She does what he says.

lifes a beach said...

Heh! I dopn't care! I've got post number 101!

I would kiss either lady, Susan or Kosteniuk!

Anonymous said...

I am a man, I like beautiful women, and I love chess. But I think it'sad that there are women that use such cheap tricks to promote themself. She must have a deperate need to be admired. There are also much more attractive female chessplayers than her, to be honest.

Deepan said...

There're a dozen good chess players who look better than Kosteniuk. So what's the big deal with Kosteniuk? I for one don't see it.

I also don't like how she's promoting herself. Her husband has used countless cheap tricks to get her name in the lime light since she doesn't have the resume to back it up.

Koneru is younger, better and nicer. Koneru doesn't lower her standards the way Kosteniuk does.

It was the Kosteniuk team who started to compare her to Kournikova. Now they want respect as a player? Try to win a few world championships before you can get respect.

It's very sad! Koneru rules!

V. Singh said...

Of course Humpy is better. Kosteniuk is all about smoke and mirror with cheap, trashy and deceptive marketing with a big fragile ego to boost.

History will be the judge and Kosteniuk will never have a world championship or #1 ranking to show for it.

Tom D said...

I don't think the original questions asked by Ms. Polgar were mean or deflamating to Kosteniuk. Unfortunately I think the discussion thread did get mean-spirted and degraded into personal attacks.

Ms. Kosteniuk was within her right to grant an interview, regardless of motivation, to Penthouse. One only needs to look at her web site to validate that she inflates her resume and leverages her appearance and sex appeal for self-promotion.

Chess is probably not helped, or hurt, by an interview in Penthouse.

V. Kotonov said...

I agree with Tom D. They were good questions by Ms. Polgar, just like her many other questions in her blog. Unfortunately, the threat turned sour by attacks from both sides. It's also unfortunate that Mrs. Kosteniuk rely on this kind of degrading marketing ploy to inflate her ego.

men2boyz said...

Maybe she did the Penthouse interview because she needed the money.

Maxim said...

I don't think so. She married a millionaire at 18.

Anonymous said...

And how old is her husband?

Maxim said...

I think he's around 50. She's around 15-16 when they dated and they got married a few years later.

Anonymous said...

When you think of the top professionals of other sports (ie: Soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey etc) the higest ranked players usually make mountians of cash. Then there are endorsements on top of that.

And they usually go a lot further and a lot more tasteless to promote themselves, even with mountains of cash in the bank and more worldwide recognition that Chess GMs.

Pro chess players across the board really are underpaid and unknown compared to top athletes in other sports, so maybe ANY interview in ANY magazine would help raise awareness of chess, and help bring the sponsors that are needed so GMs can earn what they really deserve if they win tournaments. Hell if Mike Tyson got like 25 mil to fight a guy that takes a dive in 89 seconds during his comeback fight after DOING TIME, then chess players deserve just as much maybe more.

Relatively speaking, chess GMs of either gender in any forum of promotion they chose so far, look like saints. GM's would have to go way out there before they could be considered tasteless in their choice of magazines to appear in compared to other professionals.

Now if Alexandra ends up posing nude, appearing in rap videos drinking crunk and driving a hummer, doing commercials for a poker website and starts talking about herself in the third person in interviews, THEN you gotta point about being a poor role model for chess.

Till then, chess GMs look pretty respectible at their worst, compared to the other top athletes that are followed by girls and boys alike, at their best.

Maxim said...

I disagree. If you're an ordinary chess player, you can do what you wish. But if you claim to do this FOR the children, you can't be in Penthouse or Hustler. This isn't a good role model for kids.

Let's face it, Alexandra received bad advice from her husband by appearing in Penthouse. "Just say NO" to anything that is not good for kids. She should say sorry, learn from this and move on. Any further excuse would be in bad taste.