VASSILY IVANCHUK (Ukraine)
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 (Georgia)
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 (France)
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.
BASKARAN ADHIBAN (India)
Baskaran Adhiban is an Indian chess Grandmaster, born on August 15th 1992 in Mayiladuthurai.
In 2007 he won the Asian under-16 championship in Tashkent.
He was the 2008 under-16 World Champion and the 2009 Indian champion.
He won the 2013 Sants open in Barcelona with a score of 8.5 points out of 10. This event included 23 GMs and 28 IMs.
In July 2014, he won the Masters open tournament at the Biel Chess Festival. In August that same year, he contributed to India winning the bronze medal at the 41st Chess Olympiadin Tromso scoring 7/11 on board four.
In January 2016, he won the 2016 Tata Steel Challengers Tournament in a three-way tie.
He won the 2018 Reykjavik open with a score of 7.5/9.
His highest Elo of 2689 was achieved in September 2016.
BASSEM AMIN (Egypt)
Bassem Amin is an Egyptian chess Grandmaster, born on September 9th 1988. He learned to play chess when he was five years old. His father taught him to play.
He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Tanta University in 2012. He is the highest ranked chess player in Egypt and plays for the national team on board 1.
He won two bronze medals at the World Youth Chess Championship (in categories under-18 and under-20). He won the African Men Championship five times.
He was the Arab men’s champion (UAE) in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he tied for the first place at the Abu Dhabi Chess Festival, with a performance rating of 2747. He was also the co-winner of Reykjavik Open in 2013, and the Mediterranean chess champion in Greece in 2014.
Playing for the Egyptian national team he scored 8,5 points out of 11 on Board 1 at the 41st Chess Olympiad, and at the 42nd Olympiad he scored 8 points out of 11.
He achieved his highest Elo of 270 in November 2017.
VLADIMIR MALAKHOV (Russia)
Vladimir Malakhov is a Russian chess Grandmaster born on November 27th 1980 in Ivanovo, Russia.
His father taught him to play chess at the age of five and he participated in his first tournament at age seven. He won at the under-12 Russian Championship in 1992 and at the under-14 World Chess Championship in 1993.
He earned his International Master title in 1995 and his Grandmaster title in 1998.
He was the European Chess Champion in rapid chess for 2009 (Warsaw). He tied for the first place in Sarajevo in 2006 at the 17th strength category tournament, and won the 3rd Tournament of the Stars in Benidorm.
He contributed to the Russia team gold at the 2009 World Team Chess Championship, scoring 5/7, a feat that earned him the gold medal on board five.
Apart from his career in chess, he also works as a part-time nuclear physicist. He is married, with two children.
IVAN ŠARIĆ (Croatia)
Ivan Šarić is a Croatian Grandmaster born on August 17th 1990 in the city Split, Croatia. He learned to play chess at an early age and was considered a chess prodigy.
As a junior player he was twice crowned at big international competitions: once as the European Chess Champion in the under-18 category in 2007, and the World Chess Champion in the under-18 category in 2008.
As a senior player his biggest success is the recent conquest of the European chess scene – becoming the European Chess Individual Champion for 2018. The tournament was played in Batumi, Georgia.
He won the Croatian Individual Chess Championship four times (2009, 2013, 2014 and 2018).
During his career he won at opened and closed tournaments, but the first time he drew significant international attention to himself was when he won at the Tata Steel Challenger in 2014.
For the national chess team he plays on board 1.
He is the Croatian player with the highest Elo in history. He reached his highest rating of 2690 in August 2018.
HRVOJE STEVIĆ (Croatia)
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.
ZDENKO KOŽUL (Croatia)
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.
MLADEN PALAC (Croatia)
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 (Croatia)
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.
ZORAN JOVANOVIĆ (Croatia)
Zoran Jovanović was born on June 7th 1979 in Osijek, Croatia.
He learned to play chess in his hometown.
He received his Grandmaster title in 2006.
He won second place at the Croatian Chess Championship in 2018.
He won the gold medal with the national team twice, in 2009 and 2017 at the Mitropa Cup.
As part of a team he was the national champion twice, the first time with the chess club “Osijek” in 2009, and the second time with “Liburnija” in 2016.
He won many open tournaments, a few notable ones being: Rijeka (2007), Schwarzach (2008), Pula (2014), Bošnjaci (2001), etc.