Home ACHIEVERS Antoaneta Stefanova- The only Bulgarian player to have won World Chess Championship...

Antoaneta Stefanova- The only Bulgarian player to have won World Chess Championship crown

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Interestingly, exactly ten years after the birth of Susan Polgar, another future Women’s World Champion was  born, this time in a neighbouring country. This champion won the World U-10 Girls Championship in 1989, qualified to the National Team for Open Chess Olympiad in 2000, became an International Grandmaster in 2002 and went on to win the World Women’s Championship in 2004. She is the only Bulgarian player to have won World Chess Championship crown, Antoaneta Stefanova.

Antoaneta Stefanova was born on 19 April 1979 in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. When she was four years old, she received Chess lessons from her father, Andon Stefanov, a designing artist.

In 1989, Stefanova won the Girls U10 section at the World Youth Chess Festival in Puerto Rico. At the age of 13, in 1992, she played her first Chess Olympiad (Women’s section) at Manila in Phillipines. The same year she became European under-14 girls’ champion and  won the Bulgarian Women’s Championship in 1995.

In January 1998, Antoaneta Stefanova entered the top ten women.  She was awarded the title of International Grandmaster at Doha in 2002 as the ninth woman to have received this honour. In the same month, i.e.  July 2002, Stefanova won the Wismilak International Chess Tournament in Indonesia, scoring 9½/11 points with a performance ELO rating of 2750 points. She is one of the very few woman players who have played almost all over the world.

Antoaneta Stefanova became the tenth Women’s World Chess Champion in June 2004 by winning a 64-player knockout tournament held in Elista, Kalmykia. In 2006, she lost her crown to Xu Yuhua of China. However, it was not the end of her Chess career.

In 2012, Stefanova won the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship. She was the runner-up in the Women’s World Chess Championship 2012, losing to Anna Ushenina in the final on the tie-break. In 2017, Stefanova won two gold medals at the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huai-an, China, in the Women’s Rapid Chess event and the Women’s Blitz Chess event.

In 2021 Antoaneta Stefanova became a Member of Parliament in Bulgaria for a political party named There Is Such A People and was nominated as the party’s candidate for the election of Prime Minister of Bulgaria. 

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