The Bulgarian chess grandmaster Veselin Topalov (or in Cyrillic Веселин Топалов) celebrates his birthday today. It is not just any birthday – it is his 40th! Round lots seem to play a special role in his life anyway. At the exact age of 30, 10 years back, Topalov was crowned chess world champion. The best reason for us to have a closer look at the life of the superstar who has constantly stayed at the world’s top in matters of chess.
. Veselin Topalov was born Son of an economist and doctor on March 15 1975 in Russe, Bulgaria.
. In 1982, at the age of seven, he learned to play chess. Owed to his quick and remarkable development, he began his chess career early.
. Topalov won the U14 World Championship in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico in 1989.
. He was announced grandmaster in 1992.
. In 1993 he ranked 11th in worldwide standings and has remained at the world’s top ever since.
. 1994 was the year Topalov achieved the best ELO-performance at the Chess Olympics that he competed at with the Bulgarian national team.
. He had his longest sequence of successes in 1996 when he won in Madrid (1.-2.), Amsterdam (1.-2.) León (1.-2.), Novgorod (1.), Vienna (1.-3.), and Dos Hermanas (1.-3.).
. Topalov competed at the Chess Olympics with the Bulgarian national Team again in 1998 and 2000 and achieved the second best ELO-performance of all participants.
. Furthermore, he represented Bulgaria at the European Team Chess Championship in 1999 at which he delivered the best ELO-performance of all participants.
. The same year he participated at the European Club Cup as a member of the ŠK Bosna Sarajevo that won the tournament.
. At the international traditional tournament in Vijk aan Zee in 1999 Topalov played against Kasparov which is one of the most commented duel in the history of chess (he lost, unfortunately).
. In 2002 he made it all the way to the final duel at the Braingames Candidates’ Tournament which he lost to Peter Leko in the end.
. Topalov prevailed over World Champion Vladimir Kramnik at Vijk aan Zee in 2005 and thus ranked 3rd.
. With Kasparov, whom he defeated in the last round, he won the Tournament of Linares and also secured gold at the M-Tel Masters in Sofia one point ahead of Visvanathan Anand.
. Veselin Topalov won the 2005 edition of the double-rounded FIDE World Championship tournament at the Argentinian city San Luis prematurely. One round prior to the last he secured the victory and should have become first single World Champion in history. As the classical World Champion Kramnik was not present, the title remained divided.
. In 2005 topalov was awarded with the Chess Oscar.
. The year after he won a shared first rank with Visvanathan Anand at thr world-class tournament Corus Vijk aan Zee.
. In addition, he prevailed over European Champion Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and repeatedly won the M-Tel Masters in Sofia.
. Topalov and Kramnik faced each other for the battle for the title in 2006. The question of who would be the single World Champion was finally to be answered. After the two were even in score and had drawn in the last round, Kramnik was able to decide the rapid chess tiebreaks in his favor – and thus became Chess World Champion.
. In 2007 Topalov, Aronian, and Radjabov won the Grandmaster Tournament in Vijk aan Zee. Another victory followed at the Spanish tournament of Category 19 the same year.
. He won the Bilbao Final Chess Masters and the Pearl Spring Tournament in Nanjing in 2008. With the Bulgarian national team he also achieved the third best result at the Chess Olympics.
. Topalov won the 2009 edition of the Candidates‘ Final in Sofia prematurely which qualified him to compete for the World Championship title.
. In 2010 he competed against World Champion Visvanathan Anand at the World Championship duel in Sofia, which he lost with a one point disadvantage. In April that year his ELO rated 2816.9 points and is therefore the seventh highest rating ever achieved.
. At the Candidates’ Tournament 2011 for the World Championship 2012 Topalov made it to quarter finals, but then dropped out after a defeat through Kamsky.
. Topalov achieved the best result at third board of all European Club Cup participants (as a member of SOCAR Baku).
. At the FIDE Grand Prix 2012/13 he secured ahead of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana the overall victory and qualified for the Candidates’ Tournament 2014.
. He also represented Bulgaria at the European Team Chess Championship 2013 and achieved the best result at third board.
. In 2014 he, unfortunately, he ended up in bottom rank with 6 out of 14 points at the Candidates’ Tournament. At the Chess Olympics, however, he achieved the best result at first board as a member of the Bulgarian national team. He also won the European Club Cup with SOCAR Baku and achieved the best result at second board. He ranked 3rd (behind Carlsen and Caruana) at the Sinquefield Cup the same year.
. The year 2015 had a good start for him at stake: In February he ranked 5th with a 2747 ELO-performance at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival.
After several successful decades of chess Topalov is currently 4th in worldwide standings at 2798 ELO points behind Carlsen, Caruana, and Nakamura.
All the best, Veselin! To a successful year!
written by Sarah, translated by Birthe