Grandmaster Dragan Šolak is the reigning Turkish chess champion, and led their national team at the Istanbul Olympiad in 2012. His extraordinary analytical talent became apparent at the age of four, and he has been successfully developing it through both chess and mathematics ever since. Dragan achieved his first major results in junior competition: he won silver medal at the European U-16 Championship (1996), and tied for 2nd place in the World U-20 Junior Championship (2000). His original playing style has brought him many tournament victories over the years: Novi Bečej Open (1999), Portorož Open (2003, 2004, 2005), Veselin Bošković Memorial (Bijelo Polje 2004), Kesan Open (2008), Kavala Open (2011) and the 17th Dubai Open (2015).
Born in 1980 in Vrbas (Vojvodina, Serbia), Dragan became a perennial fixture in the Serbian national team, representing his home country in three chess Olympiads and three Euroteams. In 2011, he joined the Turkish Chess Federation, but his ties with Turkey go way beyond chess: he is happily married to former Turkish chess champion Yıldız Çavuşoğlu Šolak, and the pair have a daughter, Lara. The family has been sharing their time between two locations: Novi Sad, and Ören, a lovely seaside town in the Aegean region of Turkey.
Dragan has enjoyed many team successes with several clubs in the Balkan region: he won three national titles and four Cup competitions in Serbia as a member of the Novi Sad Chess Club, and in 2012, he won the Turkish Chess League competition with Beşiktaş Istanbul; his other clubs include “Dr Milan Vidmar” (Ljubljana, Slovenia), “Glasinac” (Sokolac, Republika Srpska, Bosnia & Herzegovina), AEM Luxten (Timişoara, Romania), and “Elektroprivreda” (Nikšić, Montenegro). Despite being a true chess professional, he is also among the rare few who have always taken other education seriously, and requires only the fulfillment of a few courses to complete the degree program in mathematics at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Novi Sad. Due to his full commitment to the Turkish Chess Federation national team program, Dragan has had to put his work for Chess Openings 24/7 on hold, but remains a true friend and occasional consultant of Chess Openings 24/7.