She became the tenth holder of that title in 2004 after her victory in a 64-player knockout tournament held in Elista, Kalmykia. In the final match she defeated Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (Russia) with 2,5-0,5 score.
Stefanova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her passion for chess was first inflamed when she was just four years old, receiving her first lessons from her own father, Andon Stefanov, himself a designing artist.
At the age of seven, Stefanova became a Sofia champion among Women. In 1989, Stefanova swept the world chess crown for kids in Aguadilla (Puerto Rico) and later in 1992 triumphed in the under-14 World championship.
In 1997 Stefanova’s FIDE rating broke into the top ten of women worldwide. She finished fourth in the 4th Hawaii International Chess Tournament in 1997 scoring 7 points out of 10. Thanks to this result Stefanova achieved her first Grandmaster norm and in June 2003 she earned the title of Grandmaster. She has played for Bulgaria in numerous Chess Olympiads, starting in Manila, the Philippines, in 1992, when she was just 13.
In June 2002, she won the 3rd European Individual Women’s Chess Championship in Varna.Â She also got 2 silver and one bronze medals from European championships.
Winner of the 1st World Mind Sports Games-Rapid in China,2008
In 2010 she was second in the Women`s Grand Prix in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) half a point behind of the winner Hou Yifan.
In 2012, Stefanova won the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship. She was the runner-up in the Women’s World Chess Championship 2012, but lost out to Anna Ushenina in a rapid in the final match.