19-year-old Nurgyul Salimova wins Silver at Bulgarian Championship 2023

by Shahid Ahmed
2/5/2023 – It is rare to see female players take part in the open section of national championships. But 19-year-old IM Nurgyul Salimova decided to do it at the 2023 Bulgarian Championship. She scored an impressive 6/9 and edged past two grandmasters (who also collected 6 points) to finish second overall. Salimova obtained four wins, four draws and suffered her sole loss of the event against the top seed and eventual champion, GM Kiril Georgiev. | Photo: Nurgyul’s Instagram page

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Salimova shines

The second-highest rated woman player in Bulgaria decided to take some new challenges as she registered to participate in the open section of the 2023 Bulgarian Championship. She did fantastic in it and won the silver medal.

Top 3 (L to R) - 2nd IM Nurgyul Salimova, 1st GM Kirill Georgiev and 3rd GM Momchil Petkov | Photo: Nurgyul’s Instagram

Salimova’s favourite game from the event is her victory over FM Lachezar Yordanov in the seventh round. She had the white pieces.


16.Nb5! should give you an idea of how strong Nurgyul is. If an opportunity is presented, she does not shy away from seizing it.

16...axb5 17.Qd5! Now the idea behind Nb5 becomes clear. White sacrificed the knight to open up the d-file and threaten checkmate on d8, while also attacking the a8-rook.

17...Nd7 18.Qxa8 Bc5 19.Rxd7! Yes it works Kxd7 20.Bxb5+ Ke6 21.Bc4+ Kf5 22.h4 and White went on to win the game eventually.


Video: ChessBase India

It was not a rated event, else IM Nurgyul Salimova would have gained 20.6 Elo rating points

Nurgyul Salimova in action against various opponents | Photo: Nurgyul’s Instagram

A total of 28 players took part in the event. The 9-round Swiss league unrated tournament took place on January 21-28. It was organized by BFS 2022, Palms Bet at the Black and White Club, Grand Hotel Millenium in Sofia, Bulgaria. The time control of the tournament was 90 minutes + 30-second increments.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Georgiev Kiril 6,5 0
2 Salimova Nurgyul 6 0
3 Petkov Momchil 6 0
4 Petrov Martin 6 0
5 Spasov Vasil 5,5 0
6 Nikolov Momchil 5,5 0
7 Stoyanov Tsvetan 5,5 0
8 Daskalov Dimitar 5,5 0
9 Nikolov Sasho 5,5 0
10 Yordanov Lachezar 5 0

...28 players

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Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.