Veselin Topalov (born March 15, 1975) is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster. In the April 2005 FIDE rating list, he was number three in the world with an Elo rating of 2778.
He was born in Ruse, Bulgaria. He was taught the rules of chess when he was eight years old by his father. In 1989 he won the World Under-14 Championship in Aguadilja, Puerto Rico, and in 1990 won the silver medal at the World Under-16 Championship in Singapore. He became a Grandmaster in 1992.
Topalov has been leader of the Bulgarian national team since 1994. At the Chess Olympiad in 1994 in Moscow he beat Garry Kasparov (see below), and led the Bulgarians to a fourth-place finish. He has won a number of tournaments, and at the FIDE World Championship in New Delhi in 2000 reached the quarter-finals.
Topalov has a negative record against Kasparov, but has beaten him on a few occasions, including the last game Kasparov played before he announced his retirement at Linares 2005, and this encounter, played at the 1994 Chess Olympiad when Topalov was just 19 years old (moves given in algebraic chess notation):
Topalov-Kasparov, Moscow Olympiad 1994
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 h6 8.f4 Nc6 9.Be2 e5 10.Nf5 g6 11.Ng3 exf4 12.Bxf4 Be6 13.Rf1 Rc8 14.h3 Qb6 15.Qd2 Bg7 16.Bxd6 Nxg4 17.Bxg4 Qxb2 18.e5 Nxe5 19.Rb1 Qxc3 20.Qxc3 Rxc3 21.Bxe6 fxe6 22.Rxb7 Nc4 23.Bb4 Re3+ 24.Ne2 Be5 25.Rff7 Rxh3 26.Nd4 Re3+ 27.Kf1 Re4 28.Rfe7+ Kd8 29.Nc6+ 1-0
Topalov was also on the receiving end of what Kasparov considered his best ever victory, played at Wijk aan Zee in 1999.
Notable tournament victories
- Madrid 1994, 1996, 1997
- Dos Hermanas 1996
- Amsterdam 1996
- Vienna 1996
- Novgorod 1996
- Antwerp 1997
- Monaco 2001
- Dortmund 2001
- Linares 2005 (joint first with Kasparov)
- Sofia 2005 (a point ahead of Anand)