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Interview with Viktorija Cmilyte: traits to the portrait
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Viktorija Čmilytė (born on August 6, 1983 in Šiauliai) is a Lithuanian chess player with the titles of Woman Grandmaster (WGM) and Grandmaster (GM). She is the winner of the Women's European Individual Chess Championship in 2011 (Tbilisi). She is a former two-time national champion. In team chess, she has represented Lithuania at most of the major events and is an Olympiad double gold medal winner. After eighth round share 3rd place with Humpy Koneru.

by Anastasiya Karlovich

Chess players are considered to be serious and boring, like “Shurik” from famous Soviet comedy (smiling). It may sound commonplace, though I believe chess players to be smart and not so much serious, they can be either emancipated or merry, like normal folk.

There is a stereotype that professional chess players are thinking solely of chess from early morning until late at night. This is not true since everyone needs to switch to something else, at least occasionally. Short breaks will do no harm at all, the class won’t disappear if one has it.

There are no “office hours” for devoted chess players! To reach success one should keep fascinated with what he is doing and this is the only way to the progress.

A women chess player is a rare profession.  Chess is not so popular in Lithuania. I like the way people respond when learning, I’m a chess player. Their reaction is always positive. “Cool! What an interesting thing indeed!”, - they usually say. Since chess is an intellectual sport, associated with the analytical abilities, there is always strong interest to the person, who is doing it.

People can’t take chess as a profession, and therefore they are very much surprised to learn this is my only job and the only way to earn living. No suchlike questions are ever addressed, let’s say, to professional tennis players.

Am I taking myself as a professional? I used to be the one, and stopped it when I got children.

Every women chess player of my generation would love to be like Judit Polgar at least in dreams. Chess is beautiful and interesting as it is, and I always believed that personality of a player should go second. Initially, chess was intellectual sport, where your gender was of no importance.

A woman, which is clever and beautiful? Beauty is a strong power. I positively appreciate the one trying to promote chess and herself with the help of her natural qualities. Youth and beauty are so far the point, though personally for me, the game and professional qualities are ranking higher.

I am enjoying the balance between my family and work, when I can efficiently combine my time with family and time during the tournaments. I don’t always play well, you know, but this is life: what can one do about it (laughing).  I like shopping, listening to music, reading books – all common hobbies.

Typical women habits are beyond me – I can neither knit, embroider, nor really cook. I’d definitely missed something, when I was a child, because I spent almost all free time on chess studies. I can sew on a button, although, even if I was not able to do it, I would never confess it as well (laughing).

During tournaments, I take more little pleasures than at home. I often follow my wishes: if want to watch films or football games or read books I will just do it.

What part does a man play for a woman chess player? I don’t know if there is any difference of the role of man in life of woman chess player or any other normal woman (laughing). Specifics of women chess players is in their work, which deals with the stress they usually suffer. When having problems, one can play on well a couple of tournaments, but speaking on the prospect, happy private life is of great significance. Quietness and stability will have a positive influence on the results.

I feel guilty, that I leave children for long.  This is the main drawback of my job, and I think all chess players, who have got children, would agree with me. When the tournament is over, I take the first plane back home.

Once we had a dispute in one company, if a chess player with quiet and reserved temper will have a fighting manner in play, and vice versa, an open person will play positionally and quietly. I see no direct connection of these qualities. I take every case to be very individual.

Playing chess I can realise my conflicting needs. I don’t like conflicts in real life and try to avoid them as much as possible. Chess is self-realization for me. One can fight opponents in accordance to strict rules. I don’t know what will become of me if I stopped playing chess. (laughing). My temper would likely change then...

Chess is a good game to realize my ambitions. How did I get ambitions? I was the only child in my family, and parents always supported my initiatives and didn’t ask for top results. I had a sport-like character since childhood, and I was very exigent to myself. I always wanted to reach something. Chess has become my priority pretty soon. At the age of 7 I won under 10 Lithuanian Championship.

I’m not sure if a child can benefit from his early successes. It’s far better not to constantly overcome oneself, guided with the single aim to reach success, but to do what he really likes. Chess has always been my line and I never wanted to give it up. The only thing that mattered for me was victory. I think, all chess genius reached success, because they loved the game, and not because they wanted to win J8 National Championship (laughing). There are no doubts, that this is the key to success. On the one hand to reach something one should work hard, but on the other hand, if the child doesn’t like chess, there is no reason to make him play it. This will do no good at all!

Chess can reflect the need to create. I’m pleased to be able to create something beautiful on the board, though I take chess as sport, rather than art. Unfortunately, I don’t often happen to create the beauties due to objective reasons (laughing).

Chess is the only game, where both wins and losses are equally important for me. I am not overenthusiastic about victories and I stand defeats quietly in all other sorts of games.  

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