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  1. #1
    CC Candidate Master
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    Chess in modern Bulgaria

    I'm currently travelling all over Bulgaria and have noticed that in every big city here (Sofia, Burgas, Plovdiv, Varna, etc,), there's a park where a bunch of old men play. Occasionally someone will show up with a clock (always a battered old thing that looks like it's from 1964 - never digital) and play blitz but mostly it's just casual chess between players - all over 60. Some look close to 80. No women, no younger players, and if you hope to get a game in yourself, good luck - the same two guys will play each other all day and not let anybody else into the mix. The general playing strength seems to vary between 1300 and 1850, no matter which city I visit. Regular chess clubs are much harder to find here than I anticipated as well - after all, this is the home of Topalov and a healthy handful of other super-strong players.

    I've surprisingly found it harder to get a casual game of chess in Europe than in major South American cities. Buenos Aires has a brilliant (and very welcoming) chess club; you'll find dozens and dozens of strong players in Santiago Chile's main square every night, Lima Peru has a great place near the main park where hustlers wil try to take you on at 30 cents a game, etc. But I was surprised how tough it has been to find a game of blitz in places like Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, etc. Quite the mystery....

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheroff View Post
    I'm currently travelling all over Bulgaria and have noticed that in every big city here (Sofia, Burgas, Plovdiv, Varna, etc,), there's a park where a bunch of old men play. Occasionally someone will show up with a clock (always a battered old thing that looks like it's from 1964 - never digital) and play blitz but mostly it's just casual chess between players - all over 60. Some look close to 80. No women, no younger players, and if you hope to get a game in yourself, good luck - the same two guys will play each other all day and not let anybody else into the mix. The general playing strength seems to vary between 1300 and 1850, no matter which city I visit. Regular chess clubs are much harder to find here than I anticipated as well - after all, this is the home of Topalov and a healthy handful of other super-strong players.

    I've surprisingly found it harder to get a casual game of chess in Europe than in major South American cities. Buenos Aires has a brilliant (and very welcoming) chess club; you'll find dozens and dozens of strong players in Santiago Chile's main square every night, Lima Peru has a great place near the main park where hustlers wil try to take you on at 30 cents a game, etc. But I was surprised how tough it has been to find a game of blitz in places like Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, etc. Quite the mystery....
    What I found when playing against Ukrainians, Germans and Serbs is that some don't losing to outsiders or at least not to Lebos ??? Not sure your background. They would boast how many GMs they have and zero from my background. Then again I think Lloyd Fell resented chess prize money in Oz comps to "foreigners" whom he thought some used underhanded tactics to win the money. I love the Philippines because many fantastic players are jobless (sorry for them) so they loving playing foreigners for money or good chess books.

    Re those European countries the youth may be into computer games etc. - wasted youth.
    Zionism is racism as defined by the UN, Israel by every dirty means available steals land and water, kill Palestinian freedom fighters and civilians, and operates an apartheid system to drive more Palestinians off their land

  3. #3
    CC FIDE Master
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    The Bulgarian Chessfederation(s) are quite messy in these years. A lot of strong Bulgarian chessplayers have changed federations. GM Boris Chatalbashev and WFM Maria Vasova are for an example now representing Denmark. Vasova speaks Danish btw.

  4. #4
    CC Grandmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by machomortensen View Post
    The Bulgarian Chessfederation(s) are quite messy in these years. A lot of strong Bulgarian chessplayers have changed federations. GM Boris Chatalbashev and WFM Maria Vasova are for an example now representing Denmark. Vasova speaks Danish btw.
    The very fact that she managed to Master Danish (quite difficult for Slavs ) should be sufficient for making her part of the team.
    Wondering why Boris chose Denmark over other options. He got a job there?
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  5. #5
    CC FIDE Master
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    Maria Vasova has lost a lot of ELO-points since she came to Denmark. She was board two at the latest Olympiad. At the female trainingcamps she is very posittive and active making some small movies.

    Chatalbashev doesn't live nor work in Denmark. I don't expect to see him at the Danish national team. At least noboby have expressed such a wish. We have some juniortalents on the way up.

  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by machomortensen View Post
    Maria Vasova has lost a lot of ELO-points since she came to Denmark. She was board two at the latest Olympiad. At the female trainingcamps she is very posittive and active making some small movies.

    Chatalbashev doesn't live nor work in Denmark. I don't expect to see him at the Danish national team. At least noboby have expressed such a wish. We have some juniortalents on the way up.
    But does he get any $$$ or being Danish does not pay off for GMs?
    Interested in Chess Lessons?
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  7. #7
    CC FIDE Master
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    "Officially" he is NOT payed ... But of course he is. He plays for the richest club in Denmark, Køge. At the Danish Championship I suppose, he received "startmoney" as a Grandmaster. And he might receive starting money in all other tournaments held here.

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