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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Viktorija Cmilyte - Women's Chess Star

The European Club Cup at its peak right now. There are still 3 very important rounds to play. The official web-site of the tournament is here. All the results can be found here. On October 11 I will let you know in details how the women's tournament went and how I did.

There are many strong women chess players playing in the Women's European Club Cup and one of them is Viktorija Cmilyte. She is from Lithuania but playing here for the Team T-Com Podgorica. Viktorija agreed to answer my questions about her life and chess career and it's my pleasure to present you this strong chess player, mother of 2 and very kind person.

What is your place and date of birth?

I was born in Siauliai, Lithuania, on the 6 th of August, 1983.

How did you start playing chess?

My father taught me when I was 6, and I started attending the local chess club.

What are your main achievements in chess?

I've won the Lithuanian Open Championship twice, was European women vice-champion, and women's world championship semi-finalist.

What is your peak rating?


Do you consider yourself a professional chess player? If yes, for how long are planning to play chess professionally?

I am a chess professional, and although a couple of years ago I've finished my studies, I'm not planning to start a new career soon.

What does fascinate you most in chess?

The struggle of the two personalities.

How often do you study chess? How many hours a day?

It really depends, I don't have a strict schedule.

Do you have a chess trainer or you study chess by yourself?

For many years my coach has been Gediminas Rastenis, an IM from Vilnius.

What do you study most: openings, middle game or endgames?

Studying openings and looking for new ideas can be very exciting. But normally I study something that matters at that particular point.

Do you prefer to play chess with men or with women?

I don't think there is any particular difference in how men and women play, but I certainly prefer playing strong opponents.

Why do you think men are stronger than women in chess?

It has been proven by some female players, most notably by Judit Polgar, that in chess women can be just as good as men. The problem is that there are so fewer women playing chess. Women's only events don't help either. While it is an excellent way to determine who is the best female player, it harms the level of women's chess in the long run. Due to a smaller competition, it is relatively easier to become good among women, and while our progress slows down, our male counterparts have to fight much harder and consequently reach higher level.

When did you feel happiest about being a chess player? Why?

Winning is what ultimately gives most satisfaction. It is also a great feeling to be able to appreciate the beauty of the game.

If you had not become a chess player what career would you have chosen?

Since I was a teenager I wanted to play chess professionally. But I was also interested in literature, and languages, so I guess I would have chosen an academic career in one of those fields.

What are the names of your children and how old are they? How do you manage to be a mom and a chess player? Do your sons know how to play chess?

I have two boys, Dmitri is 7 and Alexander is 5. They both can play chess. Combining being a mother and a chess player is obviously a challenge. But it is wonderful to see one's kids grow, which reminds me everyday that while chess is a big part of my life it is not the most important one.

Do you find life and chess similar? Can we tell that chess is a little model of life? What are the main similarities/differences between chess and life?

If one sees life as a constant struggle, then chess and life are similar. However, I think chess is so attractive precisely because it is different from life. There is a sound underlying logic to everything that happens on the board, and it sometimes offers an escape from daily worries and uncertainties.

What's your home?

Siauliai, Lithuania.

What is your favorite chess book?

It's not easy to name one. Generally I've been impressed by Jonathan Rowson's books, they are very instructive chess-wise and a great fun to read.

What is your favorite non-chess book?

„A History of the World in 10½ Chapters“ by Julian Barnes, “Heart of a Dog“ by Mikhail Bulgakov, to name a few.

Whom do you consider the best chess player in history?

Bobby Fischer.

What is the best game you have ever played?

I'm still looking foward to playing it:)

What do you like doing besides playing chess?

I like music, reading, travelling.

Do you believe in the future of women’s chess?

I don't see women's chess as something separate. And I believe that regardless of what happens in chess politics people will keep on playing chess, so in that sense I believe in the future of the game.

What is the best chess country in the world?


What is the best organized women’s tournament you took part in?

Actually, I've never played a badly organised women's tournament:) .But if I have to name one, I really liked the recent Baltic Queen tournament in St Petersburg.

What is your dream in chess and in life?

I feel that having a career one likes is already a big privilege. And both in chess and life I prefer having realistic aims, instead of big dreams.

What is your favorite chess piece?

According to my kids, the queen is by far the best, so I'll stick to that too:)

What is your favorite place in the world?

I think Rome is maginificent. I also like the Lithuanian coast, with it's small cozy towns, pine forests and beautiful dunes.

What is your favorite kind of food?

Home made apple pie.

What are your future plans for this year?

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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