Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen (born 6 August 1983) is a Lithuanian politician and chess player who is currently the speaker of the Seimas. Awarded the title Grandmaster by FIDE in 2010, she was European women's champion in 2011, and is a two-time Lithuanian champion.
|Speaker of the Seimas|
|Assumed office |
13 November 2020
|Preceded by||Viktoras Pranckietis|
|Leader of the Liberal Movement|
|Assumed office |
21 September 2019
|Preceded by||Eugenijus Gentvilas|
|Leader of the Opposition|
23 March 2019 – 10 September 2019
|Preceded by||Andrius Kubilius|
|Succeeded by||Julius Sabatauskas|
|Member of the Seimas|
|Assumed office |
13 November 2020
|Preceded by||Mykolas Majauskas|
21 April 2015 – 12 November 2020
|Preceded by||Remigijus Šimašius|
6 August 1983
|Political party||Liberal Movement|
|Spouse(s)||Alexei Shirov (m. 2001; div. 2007)|
Peter Heine Nielsen (m. 2013)
|Education||University of Latvia (BA)|
|FIDE rating||2538 (June 2021)|
|Peak rating||2542 (June 2017)|
Čmilytė-Nielsen began her career in politics in 2015, when she was selected to replace Remigijus Šimašius in the Seimas for the Liberal Movement, and later was reelected in the 2016 parliamentary election. She began to gradually rise in the ranks of the Liberal Movement, becoming the Seimas opposition leader in 2019, and being elected chairperson of the Liberal Movement later that year. She led the party into the 2020 parliamentary election, where they won 13 seats.
Early life and education
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen was born in Šiauliai. She began playing chess at age six, and was coached by her father Viktor Ivanovič Čmil, an KGB active reserve officer of Russian ethnicity. After graduating, Čmilytė-Nielsen moved to Riga to enroll in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Latvia. She graduated with a degree in English philology in 2007.
Čmilytė-Nielsen spent her early chess career being coached by her father. In 1993, she won the European Youth Chess Championship in the under-12 girls category, and later won the 1995 World Youth Chess Championship in the same category.
In 2000, at the age of sixteen, Čmilytė-Nielsen won both the women's and absolute national championships of Lithuania, held in Vilnius. She won the latter edging out Grandmasters Darius Ruzele, Viktor Gavrikov and Aloyzas Kveinys, and International Masters Vaidas Sakalauskas and Vytautas Slapikas on tiebreak. Čmilytė-Nielsen won the absolute championship again in 2005 in her home city, on tiebreak from Šarūnas Šulskis.
She finished second to Jovanka Houska in the 2000 European Junior (Under-20) Girls Championship in Asturias. By 2001, she was ranked number one by FIDE amongst girls. In the same year she won the Corus Reserve Group tournament at Wijk aan Zee.
Čmilytė-Nielsen took the silver medal at the European Women's Individual Championship in 2003 (Silivri), 2008 (Plovdiv) and 2010 (Rijeka). She won the European Women's Rapid Chess Championship in 2007. She was awarded the Grandmaster title in 2010, having gained the required norms in the 2008 Gibraltar Chess Festival, 2009 European Team Chess Championship and 2010 European Women's Individual Championship. In 2011, Čmilytė-Nielsen finally took the gold medal in the European Women's Individual Championship.
Čmilytė-Nielsen competed in the Women's World Chess Championship for the first time in 2000, when she reached the third round. In 2004 she was defeated in the quarterfinals by former Women's World Champion Maia Chiburdanidze. In 2006, Čmilytė-Nielsen reached the semifinals and lost to the eventual runner-up, Alisa Galliamova. In 2008 and 2010 she was eliminated in the second round, while in 2010 and 2015 she went out in round three.
Čmilytė-Nielsen has played for the Lithuanian team in the 2010 Chess Olympiad (Open Section) and on other occasions participated in the Women's Chess Olympiads, where she won two individual gold medals on board one, the first at Istanbul in 2000 (9½/12) and the second at Calvià in 2004 (8½/11). She earned a place in the team for the first time when she was thirteen (in Yerevan, 1996) and was first board at fifteen (Elista, 1998), contributing a plus score each time.
In the Frauenbundesliga (Women's Bundesliga) in Germany, she is a team member of OSC Baden Baden, but has also played some league chess in Sweden.
Čmilytė-Nielsen entered politics in 2015, as a member of the Liberal Movement. After Remigijus Šimašius resigned from the Seimas in order to take office as the mayor of Vilnius, Čmilytė-Nielsen took his seat in parliament.
A year afterwards, Čmilytė-Nielsen was selected to stand in the 2016 parliamentary election with the Liberal Movement, as a candidate on their nationwide party list. She ultimately was elected to parliament, and subsequently began to serve on the European affairs committee and human rights committee. During this term in parliament, Čmilytė-Nielsen began to amass more influence and prestige within the party, serving as deputy chair of the Liberal Movement parliamentary group in 2017 and 2018, and later serving as the parliamentary group's chair since 2018. In 2019, she was selected to serve as the Seimas opposition leader, becoming the spokesperson and leader of the parliamentary groups opposed to the incumbent Skvernelis government. She later resigned as opposition leader and was replaced by Julius Sabatauskas, but was later elected to serve as chairperson of the Liberal Movement in September 2019.
As party chair, Čmilytė-Nielsen was tasked with leading the Liberal Movement into the 2020 parliamentary election, where the party won 13 seats. Following the certification of election results, it emerged that a coalition would likely be formed between the Liberal Movement, Freedom Party, and election winners Homeland Union. Proposing Ingrida Šimonytė as their prime ministerial candidate, Čmilytė-Nielsen is expected to be one of the three main leaders of the incoming government, in addition to Šimonytė and Freedom Party leader Aušrinė Armonaitė, following in the footsteps of the Marin Cabinet in Finland for having a woman-led government. On 9 November, the coalition agreement was signed between the Homeland Union, Liberal Movement, and Freedom Party.
On 12 November, Čmilytė-Nielsen was nominated to serve as speaker of the Seimas, and was expected to be succeeded as Liberal Movement parliamentary leader by Eugenijus Gentvilas. She later was elected as speaker the following day, receiving 106 votes, becoming the third woman to serve in the position.
Čmilytė-Nielsen married Latvian-Spanish chess player grandmaster Alexei Shirov in 2001, until divorcing in 2007. In 2013 she married Danish chess player grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen. She has four children.
Honours and awards
- Lithuania: Knight's Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas
- Lithuania: Knight's Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania
- "GM title application" (PDF). FIDE.
- Sujatha Srinivasan. "FIDE World Chess Championships 2000 - Interview with Viktorija Cmilyte". The Week in Chess Magazine. London Chess Center. Archived from the original on 2003-03-09. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "KGB rezervo karininkų sąrašas". KGB Veikla. Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
- "Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen". Seimas. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
- Šachmatai – gyvenimo būdas, bet ne visas gyvenimas Archived June 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Kontrastai. Retrieved on 2008-05-30 (in Lithuanian)
- Crowther, Mark (2000-04-10). "TWIC 283: Lithuanian Championships". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- Short bio by John Saunders Gibraltar Chess Festival 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2015
- Crowther, Mark (2001-01-29). "TWIC 325: Corus Wijk aan Zee 2001". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- European Rapid Women's Chess Championship 2007 FIDE Archive
- GM title application FIDE
- European Women's Chess Championship-2011. chess-results.com. Retrieved 3 September 2015
- "European Women's Championship: Cmilyte is champion!". Chess News. ChessBase. 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
- Viktorija Čmilytė team chess record at OlimpBase.org
- "Lithuania's top female chess master to get MP seat". Delfi. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- ""Seimo opozicinės frakcijos susitarė dėl koalicijos demokratijai apginti ir opozicijos lyderės"".
- "Opozicijos lyderis J.Sabatauskas: apie ambicijas, V.Pranckiečio drąsą ir LSDP lūkesčius 2020-aisiais". 15min.lt.
- "Šimonytė, Čmilytė-Nielsen ir Armonaitė: kas šios politikės, kurių rankos formuos naują valdžią". Delfi (in Lithuanian). 31 October 2020.
- "The Parliament Elections in Lithuania: A Historic Victory for Women's Leadership and Unprecedented Diaspora Engagement". Pressenza – International Press Agency. 4 November 2020.
- "Rengiamas koalicijos susitarimas: liberalai parašų dėti neskuba". 15min (in Lithuanian). 4 November 2020.
- Turp-Balazs, Craig (27 October 2020). "Pledging to fight Covid-19 and introduce tax cuts, women take charge in Lithuania". Emerging Europe.
- Grigas, Agnia (30 October 2020). "Lithuania's new government: Women-led coalition wins confidence in difficult times". Atlantic Council.
- "Lithuania's liberal and conservative parties sign coalition agreement". LRT. 9 November 2020.
- "Naujame Seime Liberalų sąjūdžio frakcijai vadovaus E.Gentvilas". 15min (in Lithuanian). 12 November 2020.
- "Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen išrinkta Seimo pirmininke – palaikė 106 parlamentarai". LRT (in Lithuanian). 13 November 2020.
- "Dėl apdovanojimo Didžiojo Lietuvos Kunigaikščio Gedimino ordinu ir ordino medaliu". Teisės aktų registras (in Lithuanian). 9 February 1996. Retrieved 15 July 2020.