2020-06-23 00:00:01

Chess Champ Laurušas: It's an Honour for Me to Represent MRU

laurusas Chess player Tomas Laurušas is Lithuania's multi-winner chess champion and record-breaker who finds time for studies.

In 2019, the 7-time Lithuanian chess champion had 4 personal wins and 3 with the MRU Team. It is an honour for me to represent Mykolas Romeris University says the chess champion.

He discusses his passion for chess and studies at MRU in the following article published in DELFI June 15th, 2020.

-Tomas, why did you choose studies at Mykolas Romeris University?

- All my life I thought I about establishing my own business. I learned about the "International Business and Customs Logistics" studies programme at Mykolas Romeris University. I decided that this programmes is suitable for me and will be useful in the future. I applied to MRU. I moved from to Vilnius (from Kaunas) and now study here. I am happy with my choice because this studies programme includes many important subjects: from business management to legal basics. I noticed that MRU allow the opportunity for each person to study that which he truly would like. The lecturers here are determined to teach students as much as possible. I am sincerely happy that I selected this university.

-You are also a member of the MRU Chess Team. Tell us about the MRU Team and how you are faring there.

-Yes, I have been playing with the MRU Chess Team since 2015. I can say honestly that this Team with its unity, support even in the most difficult moments and its warmth would be cause for admiration by many. I can say that the slogan which best defines the team is: "One for all, all for one," because our biggest strength is our unity. We are all like one fist: united, supporting each other, giving advice and taking care of one another. MRU Health and Sports Centre Director Prof. Rimantas Minkevičius has been extremely supportive of our team. His warmth, help in all circumstances, loyalty and efforts for the team was well as sacrifices are what inspire me to fight with all my strength. It was through his efforts that we had the possibility to participate in the European Club Cup and to compete with the best European players. We would not have achieved so much, if not for him. I personally am grateful for such devotion. Our team is defined not only by unity, but also striving for perfection. The respected and beloved team coach - international chess Master (IM) Vaidas Sakalauskas, drives us forward and daily provides us with valuable lessons. His wise recommendations, efforts and ideas are simply priceless. It is apparent that the coach loves his job because he teaches his chess players to believe in themselves and lights an inner desire to seek one's goals. It is possible that training was never so interesting as with our coach Vaidas. And what can I say about the team's soul - FIDE Master Tautvydas Vedrickas, who always makes sure that all our faces are full of smiles. Thank you, Tautvydas, that you are that person who is the first to extend a helping hand after an unsuccessful match. Also, celebrating victories with you is a one-of-a-kind event because no one can equal your party spirit. He is not only a great friend without whom I would not be that person, which I am today. An important part of our Team is supporter Romanas Skrebnevskis (Team supporter - ROSK Consulting), who has been providing support to the MRU Chess Team for a number of years and allows us many opportunities to take part in Lithuanian championships and other important competitions. This Team is one of the best things that has happened in my life. It is a huge honour to represent Mykolas Romeris University. Thank you to the entire team. I hope that we will continue to spend many more years together in the future.

- How did you become interested in chess?

- It's an interesting story. Perhaps it's just destiny or a coincidence (he smiles). My oldest sister decided to attend chess meetings. I was still a child of about six years old. So when my parents were working, my sister would take care of me and take me with her to chess lessons. Chess did not attract me because I sat at the end of class and not to bother anyone wasn't exactly the most interesting activity for a six-year-old. (he laughs) Nevertheless, my sister's coach - international Master (IM) Kęstutis Kaunas noticed me and offered to teach me together or to see how the chess figures "walk." That wasn't very interesting, but the coach saw my receptivity and started teaching me. To everyone's surprise, at the age of 7, I won 4th place in the children's group in a chess match (for children up to age 10). At the age of 8 for the first time I became Lithuania's chess champion in the children's group (up to age 10). The first victories were a further motivation to seek more.

-Share some of your achievements in chess.

-One of my first achievements was to win, many times, Lithuania's youth and other championships in my category and in categories of older players. A bigger win was a silver medal in 2012, with I won in Turkey representing Lithuania's national youth team in the Olympiad (for children up to age 16). In 2013 I raised my qualification to International Master. In 2014, I won Europe's youth fast chess championship (in the age group of up to 18 yrs. of age) in Estonia. In 2016 I became Lithuania's Adult champion for the first time. It was perhaps the most difficult achievement and a victory filled with much emotion. Then 2019 was a special year for me and the entire MRU Team. Last year I won all possible personal champion titles and with the MRU Team we won all team championships. In one year I became 7 times Lithuania's chess champions (four personal victories and 3 with the MRU Team). That is a record, which is not possible to improve, but it's possible to repeat (he smiles).

- What are your future plans, goals, dreams? Is chess a part of your future? Or will it be some profession?

- As I mentioned earlier, I had always planned on establishing a business in the future, but that will not lessen my chess interests. Chess is and will be most important to me until I reach all, that is possible and I decide that it is enough for me. However, I doubt that it is the limit, which would be enough for me (he laughs). Now the biggest goal is still ahead - international GrandMaster qualification. After that I will rest a bit because it has been a long road to reach this goal without any breaks. I have been sacrificing a large part of my life for this. However the break will only be temporary and then I will continue on (he smiles). My other goal is the FIDE 2650 rating limit. As far as I know, that so far is the best rating which a Lithuanian Grand Master (GM) Eduardas Rozentalis has achieved. I think all of us, in our areas, seek to be the best. I would also like to learn how to play outdoor tennis. That is one of my biggest dreams. Perhaps during a break in chess? (he smiles)

(This interview was adapted from an article published in online news portal DELFI EN)