For many years Yugoslavia was the world's second strongest chess nation and so it is a measure of his strength that at the first and second Yugoslav Championships held 1935 in Belgrade and 1936 in Novi Sad, he finished third behind Vasja Pirc and Boris Kostić, then second behind Pirc, respectively. Later he won the Yugoslav championship five times: 1945, 1946, 1947 (shared with Svetozar Gligorić), 1952, and 1961.
Trifunovic played in seven Olympiads between 1935 and 1962, the most memorable being Dubrovnik 1950 where his 10-3 score earned him the board 3 gold medal.
He obtained a Law degree in 1933, followed by a Doctorate. He received the IM title in 1950 and the GM title in 1953.
Originally, in the 1930s, he had a reputation as a fierce attacker, but like Flohr, he eventually began relying on positional play and defensive technique. As a result he became a drawing master. In his drawn match with Miguel Najdorf at Opatija 1949 the score was +1 −1 =10 and at Leipzig in 1965 he drew all 15 of his games.
Internationally he had a number of excellent results starting in 1945 and stretching to 1965 when he finished second behind Botvinnik, but ahead of Flohr, Larsen and Donner at Noordwijk. One amusing tournament on his US tour was at the 1962 Oklahoma City Open. He was expected to win, but draws with Senior Master Kenneth Smith and the Dallas Expert Robert Potter resulted in his ending up in a ten way tie for first!
The variation of Four Ps attack in Alekhine's Defense, 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 Bf5, is the Trifunovic Variation.
Trifunovic contributed articles about happenings in Europe for Chess Review for many years and in 1962 he made a tour of the US. The Memphis Chess Club has an interesting article on Trifunovic's 1962 visit to the city HERE.
The following game demonstrates the ease with which a GM can often defeat even an IM. In this game Trifunovice uses positional assets (control of an open file, N outposts, weak square complex, good B vs. bad B) to gain complete dominance of the position and ends the game with a surprising tactic.