Dubai: She is cute, young, attractive and as the reigning world chess champion 25-year-old Alexandra Kosteniuk is pushing vigorously to have chess included as an Olympic sport in the not-too-distant future.
"My desire is to help chess and support the movement of having chess as an Olympic sport one day," Kosteniuk told Gulf News along the sidelines of the SportAccord International Convention at The Atlantis.
"My reason for coming here is to tell people about chess and to impress upon the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the need to have chess as an Olympic sport," she said.
Born in 1984 in the Russian city of Perm, Kosteniuk showed tremendous talent from an early stage. The Women's World Champion since 2008, Kosteniuk wants to get rid of the notion that chess has been under-rated.
"I have always considered chess as a sport," she said. "Unfortunately, it is not as popular as it used to be. But chess has a lot of potential worldwide as we have 171 affiliated federations. And after spending all my life in the sport, I now see the need to help chess in some way."
In fact, Kosteniuk has been doing a lot of work to promote chess including travelling, seminars, and lectures.
"This is a very interesting sport and it helps a lot of kids," she said. "I love chess very much and I want to share this passion with the world. I believe chess deserves much more attention."
The pretty Russian believed her approach was working for the good of the sport.
The sport has witnessed a renaissance of sorts with an increased following in recent times, partly due to such initiatives from FIDE, the world governing body for the sport.
"We have to move on," she said. "We need to find better ways of working and operating, with the sponsors and with the media.
"We have a huge advantage in chess as the distance really doesn't matter. The world is changing and life is faster nowadays."