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Chess club CSKA - HISTORY



Chess club CSKA - HISTORY

Chess is one of the eight sports that has been a part of CSKA ever since May 5, 1948. For the first few years, the players compete under the name "Narodna Voyska" (national army), and throughout different periods, some of Bulgaria's finest chess players pass through the club, as they also bring plenty of international success for their country.

CSKA was the winner of the first ever republic-wide chess championship in 1950. Later, two team titles were achieved by both the men's team and the women's team, as well as a number of individual titles for notable chess players from CSKA.

Initially, the club's coach was Alexandar Tsvetkov, one of the strongest Bulgarian chess players at the time, who played at the Olympics in Buenos Aires in 1938 against the fourth world champion Alexandar Alehin. Tsvetkov was a six-time Bulgarian champion. He participated in four editions of the Olympics and had immense contributions to chess in Bulgaria. He was the first Bulgarian player to be named a World Master.

The first Bulgarian grandmaster and Bulgaria's champion for 1958, Milko Bobotsov, is also one of the founders of the CSKA chess club. He participated in 8 chess olympiads with the national team of Bulgaria, and in four of them, he played top board. Bobotsov also achieved a bronze medal with the Bulgarian team at the Olympiad in Lugano in 1968. In his memory, CSKA's chess club organized a special "Milko Bobotsov" memorial in 2010.

Another great figure in the history of chess at CSKA is the grandmaster Vasil Spasov. Five times the Bulgarian champion, he takes 2-3 place in the eternal rankings of the country. Spasov is also a World Junior Champion from Tunja, Columbia, in 1989.

His wife, Antonia Ivanova, was Bulgaria's champion among women six times. She finished second four times. Her first two titles were achieved with unique results - 10 wins out of 10 games and 8 wins out of 8 games. Antonia Ivanova participated in the first two Olympiads as a member of the Bulgarian national team.

In the 70s, under the leadership of the world renowned master Petar Orev, CSKA's junior team was Bulgaria's champion for six consecutive years - something that is yet to be matched by similar achievement in the history of Bulgarian chess.

A serious legacy was also left by Maya Cohen, who also became the Bulgarian champion in 1992, and before that - the winner of the republic's title for girls below the age of 20.

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant figured in the entire history of "red chess" is grandmaster Kiril Georgiev. In his rich list of achievements, he has six individual Bulgarian champion titles - 1984, 1986, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Georgiev was also junior world champion in 1983. He has also had success as a member of the CSKA team - in 1988 and 1990, as well as second place in 2010.

Grandmaster Kiril Georgiev was awarded for his achievements by CSKA in 2016 with a special prize for his sport longevity.

It is a little known fact that grandmaster Kiril Georgiev participated at 16 Olympiads, which are held once every two years instead of once every four. Regardless, this is an achievement no other Bulgarian sportsman has made.

For a short while, at the turn of the millennium, the previous world champion Veselin Topalov was also a competitor for CSKA. He is undoubtedly the most vibrant figure in the history of Bulgarian chess.

In recent years, CSKA's chess club is one of the most rapidly developing teams among the United sports clubs of CSKA. The youths' interest, and that of their parents, is not directed only at the ancient game.

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