World Chess Champion of 2004 Antoaneta Stefanova is one of the most eminent participants of the Women's World Chess Championship scheduled to be held in Nalchik.
In her home country Bulgaria people call the chess queen Eti. She was born on April 19, 1979 in Sofia to the family of an artist and a psychiatrist. Her father taught her and her sister Liana to play chess when she was a little girl. At the age of 9 she swept the world chess crown for kids getting 11 points in 11 matches. When she was 13 she triumphed in the girls under-14 European championship. By the age of 15, she had become a champion of Bulgaria,
Antoaneta won the European title at the 3rd European Women's Individual Chess Championship. She got 9 points of 11 possible. Also she earned the title of Grandmaster, a title held by only ten other women. From 1992 to 2002 Stefanova has played in six Chess Olympiads. In 1992 she was the youngest competitor and in 2002 she took part in the men's competition. In 1997 Stefanova's FIDE rating broke into the top ten of women worldwide. She got the second place in the World Cup Tournament in 2002. On June 7, 2004 she won the Women's World Chess Championship in a 64-player knockout tournament held in Elista, Kalmykia. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, the President of the republic of Kalmykia placed the diamond crown on her head. That victory brought Eti great popularity. She gave a lot of interviews, took part in TV programmes. Sometimes journalists asked her provocative, acrimonious questions looking forward to hearing some piquant answers about her competitors, arbiters - mainly Russian ones. But quite an intelligent Eti always spoke well about sportsmen, chess enthusiasts and fairly estimated her place in the world sport. Winners are not attributable to envy, this lot is for meanie and hopeless people. Antoaneta knows that if you want to win it is not enough to have a talent. Good education, hard working, refusal of usual human pleasures, physical and intellectual training - this is just the list, by no means the full one, of the requirements leading to the pedestal. Like many other real champions she is sure that it's is not enough to win - the most essential thing is to hold the title.
At first Stefanova didn't have a coach. She attended tournaments, registered, trained and competed all by herself. It prevented her from concentrating on the games to the maximum, keeping her psyche stable. But soon she got a sponsor - a long-sighted and serious man. His first go was to find a coach and a second for Antoaneta. Grandmaster Vladimir Georgiev not only became her teacher who taught her to analyze her competitors games in order to get into their individual styles, but he developed together with Stefanova a psychological strategy. For example, when she perfectly knows the best move she pretends to think thoroughly and hesitate - to make her competitor believe in her impromptu. Bit in general Eti doesn't allow any tricks and superstitions, she remarked though that it is better that one shouldn't lose, drop or lend anybody her pen.
Antoaneta anwers all questions laconically. Perhaps this is the way a young, serious, businesslike and all-sufficient woman is supposed to speak. She doesn't get into hysterics after the loss, doesn't relax taking drugs or alcohol, doesn't focus on her appearance she has all reasons for it though.
Up to 8-10 months a year Eti travels. But she doesn't go to exotic beaches or famous museums - she is laboring in sport. At the same time she has graduated from the economics faculty, she is also planning to get the diploma of a psychologist. So that sort of person Antoaneta is - a purposeful and many-sided chess queen from Bulgaria.
The Press Service of the President and Government of KBR