Ivan Sokolov learned chess from his father, who had master level player himself. In 1987 he won in Portoroz, Stockholm (together with Mikhail Gurevich ) and Belgrade. In the same year he FIDE awarded the title of Grandmaster. In 1988 he was Yugoslav champion.
Among his most important victories in international tournaments include the successes: Biel 1988, Maribor 1990, Copenhagen 1991, Nikšić, 1991, Stary Smokovec, 1991, Portorož 1993, Akureyri 1994, Ter Apel 1995, Malmö 1995, Antwerp in 1995, Leeuwarden 1997, Dresden (Zone Tournament ) 1998, Hastings 1998/99, Amsterdam 1999, Vlissingen 2000, Amsterdam 2000, Reykjavík 2001, Selfoss 2002 and 2003, Sarajevo 2003, Hoogeveen 2004, Sarajevo 2005. in 1999 Sokolov succeeded in the Corus Chess Tournament a spectacular victory in 28 moves over world champion Garry Kasparov.
Sokolov was during the civil war in Yugoslavia, together with Predrag Nikolic in 1993 into exile in the Netherlands, where he was in 1995 and 1998 national champion. He is married to a Dutch woman. In 2003 he was player of the year in the Netherlands. As of April 2009, he was reported again for the Bosnian Chess Federation, but he moved in December 2010 back to the Dutch Chess Federation. In 2010 he organized the Bosna Open in Sarajevo and was a candidate for the office of Vice- President of the European Chess Union.
Sokolov participated in twelve Chess Olympiads. He made his debut in 1998 in Thessaloniki for the Yugoslav team, which he represented in Novi Sad in 1990. From 1992 to 2000, and 2010, he played for the team of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with whom he reached the second place in Moscow in 1994. In the Chess Olympiads from 2002 to 2006 and 2012 he participated with the Dutch team. Sokolov participated in eight European Team Championships, specifically in 1989 with Yugoslavia, 1992, 1997 and 1999, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013 with the Netherlands. In the team standings, he won the 2005 in Gothenburg, reaching in 1989 in Haifa to second place in the individual competition he was in 2013 in Warsaw the best player on the second board. In the World Team Championship in 2013, he belonged to the Dutch team.
He played in the Chess League 1997-2006 for the SG Porz and was with this in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2004 German team champion. Since 2013 he is registered with the SV 1930 Hockenheim, but has not been used. In the Dutch Meesterklasse (until 1996: Hoofdklasse ) he played from 1995 to 2006 for De Breda Variant from 2006 to 2010 Share Dimension Groningen. It was 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 Dutch team champion. In the Austrian State League A he was in the 1993 /94 and 1994/95 with the SC Margaret Austrian team champions. In the Swedish Elitserien Sokolov played from 2000 to 2004 when Limhamns SK. In the French team championship Sokolov played in the seasons 2002/ 03 and 2003/ 04 with Clichy- Echecs -92, in the 2005/06 season at CEMC Monaco, in the seasons 2009 /10 and 2010/11 in AJE Noyon and since the season 2012/13 at L' Echiquier Chalonnaise.
In the Premijer League of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sokolov played at Bosna Sarajevo and was with this in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009 team champion of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 14 sweeps of the European Club Cup took Sokolov Bosna Sarajevo, winning this competition in 1994, 1999, 2000 and 2002.
- Sokolov 's Best Games, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-128-1 Cadogan 1997.
- Winning Chess Middle Games: An Essential Guide to Pawn Structures, New in Chess, Alkmaar 2009 ISBN 978-90-5691-264-2. .
- The Ruy Lopez Revisited, New In Chess, Alkmaar 2009. ISBN 978-90-5691-297-0.
- The strategic Nimzo - Indian. Vol 1: A complete guide to the Rubinstein Variation. New in Chess, Alkmaar, 2012. ISBN 978-90-5691-378-6.