Like many sports, chess has long been dominated by men. It’s been that way for centuries with tournaments focusing on males and the media attention usually centering on them as well. Yet women have been making their mark in the sport more and more in the last few decades. Indeed, many women have been known to defeat supposedly unbeatable male grandmasters and have been encouraging more focus on the sport. It showcases their intelligence and inventiveness being able to achieve success as this complex game.
It helps that several of these female players are also quite beautiful. While chess players are hardly known for doing magazine spreads, several female players do pull off the feat of looking amazing just staring at a board. Some do show off more on social media but it speaks volumes how attractive others are in just slacks and blazers. Here are 20 female chess players who prove beauty can more than match brains.
20 Sopiko Guramishvili
This Georgian player has chess in her blood as evidenced by her married to Dutch grandmaster Anish Giri. A Woman’s Grandmaster and International Master, Guramishvili looks amazing with her striking eyes and nearly flawless features to showcase a woman whose game is just as great as her very alluring looks and lush eyes.
19 Dorsa Derakhshani
Women in Iran have some trouble getting ahead but the nation does have a respect for chess. That’s allowed Dorsa Derakshani to break out majorly. She gained international attention when she was banned from playing for refusing to wear a hijab as she didn’t want to stand out as much. Moving to the U.S., Derakshani has been playing for teams there and her amazingly exotic looks add something special to her game.
18 Alexandra Botez
You don’t often hear about great Canadian chess players but Alexandra Botez is an exception. Born in Texas, she was raised in Vancouver and came about to chess at a community center. She has the honor of being the first female captain of Stanford’s chess team and a commentator. She’s also very popular with video blogs on the sport and her great looks aid in her fame.
17 Vanessa Feliciano Ebert
Brazil is known for producing some truly strikingly beautiful woman. Vanessa Feliciano Ebert proves not every lady from the nation needs to be a supermodel to get attention. She has done well in various tournaments in her native country although her success on the world stage is limited. Still, with her stunning features and lush black hair, Ebert shows even a chess player from Brazil is a striking sight.
16 Cecile Haussernot
When she was just five years old, Cecil Hausser was moving around pieces on a board, having no idea of the game but somehow an instinct for what to do. After training, she was soon one of the best players of her age, scoring numerous championships and gold medals. The French native is striking for her stunning looks to prove her land can challenge Russia in terms of chess beauties.
15 Kateryna Lagno
She’s not yet hit 30 and Kateryna Lagno can already boast some great credentials. She was Grandmaster at the age of 12 and has helped her Russian and Ukranian teams win numerous gold medals. Her professional demeanor is offset by very nice features with a sharp nose and lush eyes that showcase her intelligence. Given her young age, it’s likely Lagano adds more accolades to her already great career.
14 Hou Yifan
Few live up to the title of “chess prodigy” like Hou Yifan. She was the youngest woman (12) to participate in the World Championships, the youngest World Champion and the earliest age to achieve Grandmaster. She’s won three more World Championships since and is currently ranked the number 1 female chess player on the planet. Her intelligent looks aid her ability and add to her incredible success as one of the finest of any gender to play the game.
13 Anna Ushenina
She’s notable from changing her hair from lush blonde to a punk brunette look and wardrobe shifts to match. But what’s consistent is Anna Ushenina is regarded as one of the best chess players around. Her mother encouraged her to be artistic and intelligent and Anna lived up to that. She’s scored numerous championships across Europe and was Women’s World Champion as well. A manager of teams as well, Ushenina can still command a board like few others.
12 Natalia Pogonia
Getting into checkers as a kid, Natalia Pogonia moved to chess and won her first gold medal before she was 14. This two-time Russian Women’s Champion has been popular for her great drive and amazing looks, especially when she glams herself up. A regular contributor to several chess websites and blogs, Pogonia has mostly settled down in family life but still notable for her great work.
11 Anastasiya Karlovich
A bit older than others when she learned to play at eight, Anastasiya Karlovich has made up for it with her great talent. Not only was she the Women’s Champion in her native Ukraine but actually got to the semifinals of the men’s tournament. She’s now better known as a journalist covering chess and helping write about it in numerous magazines. She’s also served as FIDE Press Secretary and thus unable to let this sport go.
10 Anna Zatonskih
Ukranian born, Anna Zatonskih has become an American citizen and no matter which nationality, is a standout. Her parents were chess masters and naturally, Zatonskih followed in their footsteps. She even beat her own mother in a tournament with her mom proud of how well Anna had learned her lessons. Besides a great player, Zatonskih is also a coach and has been credited with molding several current chess prodigies to follow her.
9 Jennifer Shahade
Arguably the most famous American female chess player, Jennifer Shahade is a two-time U.S Chess Champion and grandmaster. She’s also written several books on the sport to encourage younger girls to take part in the sport. She’s a terrific poker player as well and has been great getting her name out there. With her striking good looks and humor, it’s little wonder Shahade is so popular in chess circles.
8 Antoaneta Stefanova
This Bulgarian-born Grandmaster made her mark by winning three straight World Championships. She’s represented her nation in team tournaments and events for over a quarter of a century and still notable for her great game as well as great looks. While not as drop-dead gorgeous as others on this list, Stefanova looks amazing when she “glams up” to back her success with her beauty.
7 Anna Rudolf
This Hungarian beauty has become one of the most known and popular chess personalities in the world. Just four years old when she learned the game, she’s scored numerous championships in her native land and Europe. Rudolf has become better known as a commentator for the World Chess Tournaments. She’s also quite popular on YouTube and other channels to bring attention to the game. Thanks to her great looks, Rudolf has little trouble succeeding.
6 Eva Repkova
Like many, Eva Repkova grew up in chess, watching her parents play helped teach herself the game at the age of five. She was Slovak Women’s champion by the age of 12 and has scored numerous championships for both her native Czechoslovak and across the Baltic states. Known for her intensity at the game, Repkova still looks amazingly hot for her region.
5 Valquira Rocha
This Brazilian-beauty is part of the new generation of female chess players who use social media a lot more to enhance themselves. Her Twitter page does boast some good looks and is notable for her striking appearance. With the dark skin, sleek hair, and bright smile, Rocha sure looks much better away from the board so while not a successful player, is one of the hotter ones around.
4 Elizabeth Pahtz
This German-born beauty was just nine years old when she won her first championship. In 1999, at only fourteen, she was the German chess championship. Oddly, Pahtz claims to not be a genius as she seems to be failing math and “an intuitive player and not a universal genius.” The European champion has had some run-ins with competitors but her great beauty makes her an impressive figure for sure.
3 Almira Skripchenko
This Moldovan-French beauty has been one of the most impressive players in her native land. Almira Skripchenko is a six-time French chess champion and won the Women’s European Individual Championship in 2001. Not only that, she’s also a very good poker player as well. At meets, she looks alluring her lush blonde hair and glasses but can get glam as well. Whatever sport she plays, Almira looks amazing at it.
2 Anna Sharevich
While born in Russia, Anna Sharevich was raised in Illinois and that double nationality has added more allure to her. Some call her the “Anna Kournikova of chess” as her looks are, frankly, much better than her game. She has won four Belarusian championships and done a very good job making her mark. She has posted a lot on social media with a body looking more like a surfer than a chess lady but makes the game very hot.
1 Alexandra Kosteniuk
Taught to play at the age of 5 by her father and just five years later was a European champion and a Master by 13, Alexandra's accolades since have included three gold medals at the Chess Olympiad and five European Women’s Team Chess Championships. A strikingly intelligent woman, Kosteniuk rests more on her brains than her looks but with looks like that, she’s a true champion in the game.
Sources: Chess.com, sportsshow.com, wikipedia.org