RIGA, April 13 (LETA) – The European Individual Women’s Chess
Championship, which is taking place in Riga since Tuesday, was the main reason prompting a comeback of Agnese Lickrastina, who once represented Latvia at a Chess Olympiad as a member of the national women’s chess team but is now an associate professor at Riga Technical University (RTU).

As reported, the European Individual Women’s Chess Championship kicked off in the Latvian capital on Tuesday. Lickrastina started the tournament with a loss to Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey who is ranked 22nd in the tournament’s starting list. On Wednesday, the Latvian chess player (94th) beat 14 years-old Sarabella Norlamo of Finland.

The first days of the European Championship have not been particularly successful for Latvia’s players, and Lickrastina is one of the three host country’s representatives to scoop a victory in the first two rounds. Ilze Berzina started the tournament with a win and ended her match in the second round with a draw, and Grandmaster Inguna Erneste won one of her first two matches.

“This tournament is my comeback to chess because I had not played for the past 15 years. I once had to choose between a dissertation in engineering sciences and chess. Science won,” smiling Lickrastina told LETA after her second-round match.

Lickrastina (then Meijere) represented the Latvian women’s chess team at the 1996 Chess Olympiad, but soon retired from the sport, choosing an academic career. Yet shortly before the European Championship in Riga, Lickrastina returned to the circuit thanks to a coincidence of a number of circumstances.

“At present I feel that I have realized myself in science, because I am an associate professor at RTU, and I am also successfully working at the development department. Why not return once I have spare time left for playing chess? The tournament in Latvia is perfect, because for Latvia it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase itself internationally and for our girls to play against strong opponents. As for myself, this tournament was one of the arguments why I decided to return to chess,” Lickrastina said.

As reported, the European Women’s Chess Championship is taking place at Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija in Riga through April 22. Latvia is represented by seventeen players at the championship.