Borislav Ivanov: Revelation

Author: Maria Grigoryan
Photo: Borislav Ivanov

Exclusive interview with Borislav Ivanov, 25, a low-ranked master from Bulgaria, who won five games, drew two others and lost two at a tournament in Zadar, Croatia. The five victories were against four grandmasters and a strong master, and Ivanov soundly defeated them all. Afterwards, Borislav Ivanov was accused of cheating in the Croatian tournament.


- What happened in the Zadar Open 2012?

- The Zadar Open is a tournament that I've played every year for some time now. Well this was the first time that I tried the A tournament and i think my performance was fantastic although there was so much speculation afterwards

- How did you react to the accusation that you were cheating?

- At first i wasn't surprised about the speculations but suddenly they turned very ridiculous. Some people accused me of using technical equipment that only NASA has, I even heard that I had had my own satelite that transmitted moves during the games.... this is horrible! I never thought that human imagination can turn so fantastic just because a 2200 ELO player has played some nice games in a tournament

- Did the arbiter take your clothes off, or did they just check your pockets?

- Well, i know my body is handsome and beautiful but I didn't find it enough to show them the real sexual affection i have for other people around me so i just said no, although they checked my pockets very slowly and my jacket and after they found nothing.... well, may be they were a bit disappointed, cause they were 100% sure I was cheating and of course that's a total lie

- How did you manage to beat the Croatian grandmasters?

- I dont think there was anything special in my games at all. The Croatian GMs made some horrible mistakes during our games. Of course I practiced a lot with the computer, and after beating Rybka and Houdini by 10-0 each, i was absolutelly sure that no-one was gonna stop me winning. After all the arbiters were kind of polite and intelligent, you know, the other players weren't though....

- Did the arbiters make some mistakes during the chess tournament?

- I don't think they made any mistakes at all - in the last 2 rounds they stopped my live streaming because of the speculations, but of course that didnt affect my games much. The most disturbing thing happened on my birthday the 21st of December! I was kind of celebrating and preparing for a night out to reduce the stress and get rid a bit of the long chess tournament but the arbiters and the GMs made me a special birthday present - a petition that asks the referee to check if I had any technical equipment on me, one of the best presents i have ever had in my life!

- Which is your main profession?

- I am actually a student in my home town Blagoevgrad, its a nice town in South West Bulgaria.

- Do you have some other hobby but chess?

- Hanging out with friends of mine, visiting night clubs, meeting beautiful girls and so on. Actually, before the Zadar Scandal I wasn't so popular at all, but now I see that the more time is turning the more my popularity rises, I just want to play my own chess-style and to have fun playing chess it's still a pity that I am famous for these ridiculous accusations.

- Since when do you play chess? Who was your first teacher of chess?

- Well I have been playing chess for about 10 years, but 2012 was the first time I started learning seriously the chess theory and practising with a computer. My first chess teacher is my coach Marin Atanasov. He has helped me a lot in my chess-progress ever since I have been playing chess. My club is on my side in this scandal, of course and I would like to thank all the people who support me and even make me feel better despite the endless rudeness that I am receiving.

- Some people say that you are genius, other that you are cheat, what would you say to them?

- Genius or a cheat, that sounds interesting...Well, I'm not a genius nor a cheat but just a normal boy that wants to have fun playing chess.