Bulgaria, this small Balkan country, can proud itself of a bunch of world chess champions.
Grandmaster Antoaneta Stefanova was a Women’s World Chess Champion from 2004 to 2006 and European Women’s Champion of 2002. In 2005 Bulgarian chess grandmaster Liuben Spassov won the world senior title. In the same year Topalov became the FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005.
In 1983 Kiril Georgiev became the World Junior Champion with an unusually strong score of 11½ out of 13.
In 1989 another Bulgarian young chess player Vasil Spasov won the World Junior Championship in Tunja, Colombia, and became World chess champion for youth.
The Bulgarians also have an unequalled record for defeating the Russians in team competition. It was at the Olympiad at Moscow in 1994 that Topalov crushed Garry Kasparov in a Sicilian Defence and really made his name on the world stage for the first time.
Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgarian: Антоанета Стефанова; born 19 April 1979) is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster, Women’s World Chess Champion from 2004 to 2006 and European Women’s Champion of 2002
Veselin Topalov is a Bulgarian grandmaster. He became the FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. He lost his title in the World Chess Championship 2006 match against Vladimir Kramnik. Topalov won the 2005 Chess Oscar.
Kiril Georgiev (born 28 November 1965) is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster and six-time national champion. In 1983 he became the World Junior Champion with an unusually strong score of 11½ out of 13. This result automatically gave him the International Master title. Two years later FIDE awarded him the International Grandmaster title. In 2009, he broke the world record for the most simultaneous chess games played: 360 games in just over 14 hours. He won 280, drew 74 and lost 6 for a total score of 88%. A score of at least 80% was required for the record to be accepted.
Vasil Spasov (born February 17, 1971) is one of the strongest Bulgarian chess grandmasters. Spasov won the 1989 World Junior Chess Championship. Spasov has been Bulgarian Champion six times on classic and eight times on rapid chess. His highest Elo rating was 2621 on the September 2010 FIDE list. He shared first place with Topalov on Budapest Zonal Tournament in 1993.
Grandmaster Spasov has played for Bulgarian National team on eight Olympiads. He is a winner on Yugoslavian Open Championship in 1996.
GM Spasov has won many tournament victories during his carrier as a chess player.
Georgi Tringov (7 March 1937 – 2 July 2000) was a Grandmaster of chess from Bulgaria. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1963. GM Tringov was active mainly during the 1960s and 1970s and qualified for the 1964 Interzonal stage of the process for selecting a challenger for the World Chess Championship, but finished fifteenth in the Interzonal held in Amsterdam, so did not advance to the Candidates matches held in 1965. Tringov had numerous successes in international tournaments to his credit, including first place at Vrsac 1973. Tringov placed fifth in the 1955 World Junior Championship. He was a regular member of the Bulgarian team in the Chess Olympiads, playing in 12 Olympiads (every contest from 1956 to 1982 except 1960 and 1976). In 1968 and in 1978 he had his best Olympiad results, twice winning the individual gold medal with a score of 78.6% (+8=6-0) on board two and ten years later with 77.3% (+6=5−0) on board three respectively.
Milko Bobotsov was the first Bulgarian to attain the chess title of Grandmaster, achieving this title in 1961. His best result was equal second at the powerful Alekhine Memorial tournament in Moscow in 1967. Other successes included first or shared first places at Varna 1957, Pécs (Asztalos Memorial) 1964 and Sarajevo, Bosna 1971.