The Life & Career of Nikolay Minev
Minev Bio
Nikolay Minev played high level international chess for 30 years. He began his
chess career relatively late, learning to play at the age of 8 but not really paying
much attention to the game until he was 15. He played for in a regional qualifier
for the Bulgarian national championship in 1947. His score of 10/12 was good
enough to qualify for the 1948 Bulgaria Championship (in his second tournament

During the 50's and 60's, Minev was one of the strongest players in Bulgaria,
playing in the National Championship 22 times and finishing first 4 times. He
played many times as part of the Bulgarian National team (at Student Olympiads,
Men's Olympiads, and in team matchs). He was awarded the International Master
title by FIDE in 1960, and competed in FIDE Zonal tournaments (qualifiers for the
World Championship cycle) three times. According to the calculations of the web
Chessmetrics, he achieved a career high rating of 2576 in 1966 (with a
personal best performance rating of 2608 in Varna 1960). This was sufficient to
rank him as 83rd strongest in the world at the time.

During the course of his international career, he played most of world's leading
players, including every recent world champion through Bobby Fischer. He beat
Korchnoi, drew Spassky, Petrosian, and Bronstein (twice).

While many of the other strong Bulgarian players were chess professionals,
sponsored by the government, Minev was a true amateur for most of his peak
chess years. He was offered a position as a chess professional, but instead chose
to pursue a medical career. He founded the Bulgarian national toxicology lab in

In 1972, he ended his medical career and accepted a position as editor of the
Bulgarian monthly chess magazine, Shakmatna Misl. This began his years as a
coach and chess educator. He continued as editor through 1978 and was the
trainer and friend of Radulov, who credited Minev with his early success, and
went on to become a GM.

In 1979, Minev accepted a position as trainer for the Greek national team (on
loan from the Bulgarian federation) where he had a big effect on the development
of high level chess in Greece and produced two Greek IMs.

After many years under communist rule, Nikolay and his wife Elena left Greece in
1983 for Vienna and later the USA (Seattle, Washington).

Once settled in the USA, Minev edited a local chess publication (Northwest Chess)
and began a long association with GM Yasser Seirawan. He was a long time
contributor to Inside Chess, writing a very popular tactics column.

Minev is a highly respected author of many chess books and publications. He was
a contributor to the early editions of the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings and the
Encyclopedia of Chess Endings.

He continues to live in retirement with his wife in Seattle, Washington.
Major Personal Milestones
November 8, 1931 - birthday (Russe, Bulgaria). (Note that this date
conflicts with most other sources, including Gaige, and even FIDE
records. However this date is correct)
1937 - father dies of TB
1939 - learned the basics of chess
1945 - began to be interested in chess during a long illness
1947 - qualified for Bulgaria National Championship
1948 - played in first Bulgaria National Championship
1949 - began medical studies
1951 - awarded Bulgaria National Master title. Tied for 1st in National
1956 - completed medical school
1957 - coached Bulgarian women's team at the Emmen Olympiad
1958 - received invitation to play in Hastings tournament, but was
not allowed an exit visa by the Bulgarian government
1960 - awarded the FIDE IM title
1961 - declined offer to become one of eight Bulgarian chess
1962 - provided commentary for the 1st ever televised chess event
(a Botvinnik simul in Bulgaria)
1965 - created the Bulgarian national toxicology lab in Sofia
1966 - Bulgarian Federation refused to allow Minev to participate in
the Havana International (with GM norm opportunities)
1971 - began training Radulov (who later achieved the GM title) for
the Helsinki Zonal
1972 - head of Bulgarian trainers commission
1972 - quit medicine and became editor of Shakmatna Misl (better
salary with no "political" danger)
1973 - began contributions to Chess Informant
1979 - went to Greece (on loan from the Bulgarian Federation) to
train the Greek national team
1983 - left Greece and Bulgaria for the west. Moved first to Vienna,
then USA (Seattle, Washington)