Vassily Ivanchuk is a Ukrainian chess Grandmaster born on March 18th 1969 in Kopychyntsi, Ukraine. He won the 1987 European Junior Chess Championship in Groningen and first achieved international notice by winning the 1988 New York Open with 7,5/9 ahead of many grandmasters.
He tied for the first place at the 1988 World Junior Chess Championship in Adelaide. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1988 and entered the world top 10 the same year. Ivanchuk received world chess fame in 1991 at the age of 21 when he won the Linares tournament. By winning the tournament he became part of a small group of chess players considered the ‘world elite’ and has been part of the group to this date, making it an outstanding achievement. He has won many tournaments but the most notable ones are: Linares (1989, 1999 and 1995), Wijk aan Zee (1996), Tal Memorial (2008), the Gibraltar Masters (2011) and the M-Tel Masters (2008). He conquered the world of chess twice: once at the Blitz World Chess Championship (2007) and once at the Rapid Chess Championship (2016). He has also had great results as a team player. He has played in 14 Chess Olympiads, twice for the Soviet Union (1988 and 1990), and twelve times for the Ukraine. He has won a total of thirteen medals, and has been on four gold-medal winning teams (USSR in 1988 and 1990, the Ukraine in 2004 and 2010). He plays for the chess club “Zagreb“ on board 1 and achieves exceptional results. He achieved the highest Elo of 2787 in October 2007 which was the second best rating in the world.


Ivan Cheparinov was born on November 26th 1986 in Bulgaria.
He learned to play chess at the age of five and progressed quickly, winning the junior championship of Bulgaria in 2000. He is a four-time Bulgarian champion (2004, 2005, 2012, 2018).
Some of his more notable individual successes are: sharing the first place at the Essent open in Hoogeveen with 7/9 in October 2006, and sharing the first place at the Morelia open in 2007.
He won at the traditional Sigeman & Co Invitation tournament in Malmo in April 2007. He shared the first place, with six others, at the 2007 European Individual Chess Championship in Dresden. In June 2009 and in June 2010, he won the Ruy Lopez Masters, an invitation tournament, with a performance rating of 2904 (2010). He won at the strong Gibraltar Chess Festival in 2014 after winning the tie-break play-off. The first time he passed the Elo threshold of 2700 was in January 2008. He achieved the highest Elo of 2718 in August 2018.
In 2018 he started playing for the national team in Georgia.


Etienne Bacrot is a French chess Grandmaster and former chess prodigy. He was born on Janaury 22nd 1983 in Lille, France. He learned to play chess when he was four years old and he quickly started winning junior tournaments. At 13 years of age, he won a game against Vasily Smyslov, former chess World Champion.
He became a chess Grandmaster in March 1997 at 14 years and 2 months of age, which at the time made him the youngest person to hold that title.
As individual he has achieved many notable results, such as defeating Boris Gelfand and Ivan Sokholov in a match on standard time control, also defeating Judit Polgar in a match on rapid time control.
He was the French champion eight times.
He won the Aeroflot Open in 2009 and the Karpov Poikovsky tournament in 2005.
His notable team results playing for the French national team are winning the 2nd place at the European Team Chess Championship and the 3rd in 2005.
He was the French team Champion and European club Champion with the chess club “Nao” numerous times.
His highest Elo of 2749 was achieved in November 2013.


Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is a German player born on August 1, 1976 in Brasov, Romania.
Nisipeanu became a bronze medallist at the European U19 championship when he was 15.
He’s a multiple winner of the Romanian national championship and was for many years a member of the Romanian national team.
In 1999, Nisipeanu as a clear outsider made it to the semifinals of the FIDE World Chess championship by beating Vasily Ivanchuk in round 4 and Alexei Shirov in the quarterfinals only to succumb to the eventual champion Alexander Khalifman. He was particularly successful in open tournaments in 2003/4, when his triumphs included Santo Domingo, Andorra and the Neckar Open in Deizisau. Nisipeanu won the European Individual Chess Championship 2005 in Warsaw with 10 points out of 13 games, half a point ahead of runner-up Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan. In April 2006, Nisipeanu played FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov in a four-game match. Topalov won by a score of 3:1. In those years, Liviu-Dieter was a wanted guest at super tournaments, where he defeated Shahkriyar Mamedyarov, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Michael Adams, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Ruslan Ponomariov and other leading chess players. Since 2014, Nisipeanu has been playing under the German flag. In 2017 he won the German Chess Championship in Apolda for the first time. Throughout his career, Nisipeanu was distinguished by a colourful, aggressive playing style. He often said that he liked to think of himself as heir to Mikhail Tal.
His highest Elo of 2707 was achieved in October 2005.




Alexey Dreev is a Russian player born 30 January 1969 in Stavropol, former Soviet Union.
He was awarded the title Grandmaster by FIDE in 1989. Dreev was world under 16 champion in 1983 and 1984, and the European junior champion in 1988. His best tournament victories were at the Biel Grandmaster Tournament and at the Hoogovens tournament, both in 1995; in the latter Dreev beat Evgeny Bareev by 2.5-1.5 in the final. Dreev’s best performance in the Russian Championship was in 2004 at Moscow when he finished third. This tournament was won by Garry Kasparov.
He has participated the world championship cycles and FIDE World Championship tournaments (1999, 2000, 2001, and 2004).
In 2000 Dreev won the 1st European Blitz Chess Championship in Neum on tiebreak over Ivan Sokolov. Dreev won the European Rapid Chess Championship of 2012 in Warsaw.
He has represented Russia in five Chess Olympiads between 1992 and 2004, with the Russian team winning gold medals in 1992, 1994, and 1996, and silver in 2004.
His highest Elo of 2711 was achieved in July 2011.


Markus Ragger is an Austrian chess grandmaster born on February 5th, 1988 in Klagenfurt, Austria.
Ragger became a Grandmaster in 2008. That year he also won his first Austrian Championship, a feat he repeated in 2009 and 2010. Further strong European performances followed, including 6th place at the 2011 European Championship in Aix-les-Bains, France, 25th place the following year in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and the 18th place at the 2013 event in Legnica, Poland, qualifying for the World Cup each year.
In 2015, Ragger won the Politiken Cup in Helsingør on tiebreak over Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Jon Ludwig Hammer, Laurent Fressinet, Tiger Hillarp Persson, Samuel Shankland, Sebastien Maze, Mihail Marin, Sune Berg Hansen and Vitaly Kunin, after all players finished on 8/10. In the same year, he led the Austrian team to victory at the Mitropa Cup in Mayrhofen.
Markus is a sought after as team player and is active in several leagues. In 2011 he won with ZSK Maribor in the Slovenian league, and the Bosnian League with Bosna Sarajevo, while in the German Bundesliga his SG Solingen team finished third in the 2011/12 season.
His highest Elo of 2703 was achieved in February 2017.




Melkumyan Hrant is an Armenian chess grandmaster born on April 30th, 1989 in Yerevan, Armenia.
In 2006, he won the U18 silver medal at the World Youth Chess Championship. He tied for 1st–5th with Sergey Volkov, Andrey Rychagov, Andrei Deviatkin and Zhou Weiqi in the Chigorin Memorial in 2009. In 2010, tied for 1st–8th with Sergey Volkov, Viorel Iordachescu, Eduardo Iturrizaga, Gadir Guseinov, David Arutinian, Aleksej Aleksandrov and Tornike Sanikidze in the 12th Dubai Open.
In December 2011 Melkumyan tied for 1st–3rd with Alexei Dreev and Radoslaw Wojtaszek in the European Blitz Chess Championship and won the event on tie-break.
In 2013 he tied for 1st–8th with Alexander Moiseenko, Evgeny Romanov, Alexander G Beliavsky, Constantin Lupulescu, Francisco Vallejo Pons, Sergei Movsesian, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexey Dreev and Evgeny Alekseev in the European Individual Chess Championship.
On February 21, 2014, Melkumyan won the Casino Graz International held in Graz, Austria.
On June 2014, he won International Chess Tournament Teplice Open in Czech Republic. On July 12, 2014, Melkumyan won the XXXIV Open International Villa de Benasque held in Benasque, Spain.
His highest Elo of 2678 was achieved in September 2014.


Mladen Palac was born on February 18th 1971 in Donji Mamići, Bosnia and Herzegovina. When he was younger his family moved to Vukovar (Croatia) where he grew up.
He received his International Master title in 1990 and the Grandmaster title in 1993.
He won the Croatian Individual Chess Championship four times (2001, 2004, 2008 and 2012).
He won a few dozen international open tournaments, a few more notable ones being: Graz, Cannes, Vienna, Cap d’Agde, Biel, Montpellier, Munich, Nice, Lausanne, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Pula, Zadar, etc.
As a team player he was always considered a valuable player for the national team, achieving some outstanding team results. He won the gold medal on the 3rd board playing for the national team at the European Team Chess Championship in Pula 1997; the bronze medal playing for the national team on the 2nd board at the European Team Chess Championship in Batumi in 1999, and again the gold medal on the 2nd board at the European Team Chess Championship in Goeteborg in 2005.
He was part of the team that achieved the highest placement in Croatian history at the 12th European Chess Club Cup in Budapest in 1996. He played for the chess club “Borovo–Vukovar ’91“.




Robert Zelčić was born on September 21st 1965 in Zagreb, Croatia.
He received his International Master title in 1990 and the Grandmaster title in 1997.
He won the Croatian Individual Chess Championship three times (1996, 1998 and 2003).
He won a few dozen international open tournaments, some of which are are: Saint Vincent, Metz, Ljubljana, Graz, Schwarzach, Zadar, Pula, Zagreb, etc.
His biggest success as an individual competitor was winning the European Individual Chess Blitz Championship in 2006.
He played for the national team six times and in 2006, at the Olympiad in Torino, he won the silver medal for results achieved on the 4th board.
He was part of the team that achieved the highest placement in Croatian history at the 12th European Chess Club Cup in 1996 in Budapest. He played for the chess club “Borovo – Vukovar ’91“.
At the Interzonal tournament in Dresden in 1998 he shared the first place and was able to qualify for the Las Vegas World Championship in 1999.


Zdenko Kožul was born on May 21st 1966 in Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He learned to play chess in primary school. He quickly showed progress and started drawing attention to himself because of his exceptional chess skills. He achieved his International Master title in 1987 and the Grandmaster title in 1989. He won the Individual Chess Championship of Yugoslavia two times, in 1989 and 1990. He played at many Olympiads, winning the bronze medal at the 1990 Olympiad on his board. He won the Croatian Individual Chess Championship two times, in 2006 and 2016. His biggest success as a chess player is winning the European Chess Individual Championship in 2006. He won at the Interzonal tournament in 1993 in Zagreb. In 2004, he reached the final sixteen at the FIDE World Chess Championship, which has since been the best Croatian placement at that tournament.  He is the triple champion of the European Champions’ Cup, winning it with the Bosnian team. In his rich career he won many closed and open tournaments and as a team player he was the cornerstone of the Croatian national team for over 20 years. He currently manages the Croatian national team and has achieved great results.

Marin Bosiočić was born on August 8th in 1988 in Rijeka, Croatia.
He received his Grandmaster title in 2008.
He won the Croatian Individual Chess Championship twice (in 2017 , and in 2019).
As a team player his biggest success is the Croatian national team’s 4th place at the European Team Chess Championship in 2017 on Crete with a rating performance of 2824 ELO.
He has won many open tournaments and is a sought after as team player and is active in several european leagues.
His highest Elo of 2629 was achieved in June 2019.



Hrvoje Stević is a Croatian Grandmaster born on January 8th 1980 in Osijek, Croatia. He learned to play chess at an early age and was considered a chess prodigy.
He won the World Youth Chess Championship in the under-16 category in 1995 in Brasil.
He won the Croatian Individual Chess Championship twice (in 2008 in Split, and in 2012 in Plitvice).
He won many tournaments during his career but most notable victories are winning the Zadar Open (2002 and 2011), and winning at the Mediterranean Open in 2010 in Rijeka.
As a team player his biggest success is the Croatian national team’s 4th place at the European Team Chess Championship in 2017 on Crete.