Russian queen crowned world rapid chess champion

Russia's Alexandra Kosteniuk has claimed the World Rapid Chess Championship title

Russian chess star Alexandra Kosteniuk has become world champion in the game's rapid-format version for the first time with victory in Warsaw, Poland.

The 37-year-old saw off the likes of Kazakh teen sensation Bibisara Assaubayeva and dethroned previous ruler Humpy Koneru of India by earning seven wins, four draws and zero defeats across the tournament. 

On 9.0 points, Kosteniuk became unreachable by her nearest opponents such as Assaubayeva on 8.5 points, plus compatriots Valentina Gunina and Kateryna Lagno on 8.0 points.

As a consequence, Kosteniuk clinched the tournament for the first time in her career after runner-up finishes in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Speaking after the victory, the Russian pointed out that she hadn't lost a single game throughout the tournament, saying "of course, it helps a lot."

"When you lose, you have to find the balance, [and] fight back. I was lucky not to lose any."

She described a game against Gunina earlier in the tournament as "very special" and something that spurred her on.

"I was losing terribly and saw several ways for her to finish the game. After finally winning it I knew that luck was on my side."

"Sometimes you need to get lucky in order to win the tournament," she added.

Kosteniuk was dubbed an all-time great by fans and pundits online following her triumph.

She was pictured celebrating with her husband Pavel Tregubov, who is also a chess grandmaster and a European champion in 2000.

The achievement caps off a fantastic 2021 for the former Women's World Chess Champion from 2008 and 2010, who was also European champion in 2004 and twice Russia's chess champion.

In October, she formed part of a quintet of Russians that beat India at the World Women's Team Championship in Spain.

READ MORE: Russian chess queens beat India to win World Women’s Team Championship

Competing under the banner of the Chess Federation of Russian (CFR), Russia won the competition for a second time to make up for heartbreak in China in 2019.

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