Chess in Latvia

Chess in Latvia has long lasting and strong traditions and many great grandmasters come from Latvia such as Hermanis Matisons, Mikhail Tal, Alexei Shirov and many others. Hermanis Matisons was the 1st Latvian chess master and the 1st winner of World Amateur Chess Championship, he significantly influenced chess popularity and traditions in the early 20th century. Mihail Tal was and is one of the most famous Latvian chess players. He was not only a great grandmaster and 8th World Chess Champion, but also a bright personality with a very distinct, tactical and aggressive chess playing style. One of the most famous Latvian chess players nowadays is grandmaster Alexei Shirov (vice champion of the world), who is also known for his creative and aggressive chess style and has won many significant tournaments in his career, he is often compared to Mikhail Tal.

Not only these influential grandmasters and fellow chess players of their time have maintained and developed chess traditions in Latvia, but also significant role has been played by Riga Chess School, Latvian Chess Federation and international tournament organizers.

Chess tournaments in Latvia

Last year we were very proud to organize one of the most important chess events in the history of Latvia – Woman European Chess Championship. The venue for the tournament was the hotel “Radisson Blu Hotel Latvia” in the center of Riga, the capital of Latvia. The main organizers were Latvian Chess Federation, the President of the Latvian Chess Federation Āris Ozoliņs and tournament director Egons Lavendelis, under the auspices of European Chess Union. It was one of the biggest editions of the Woman European Chess Championship ever held with 144 players from 33 countries. The event was cherished by the participants and the visitors as one of the most enjoyable and organized on the highest level.

Link to the tournament webpage:

The most significant tournaments that are planned this year are: Riga Technical University open (one of the strongest classical chess tournaments in Europe, that last year gathered more than 650 participants, including 42 grandmasters and is a part of the ACP tour), International Chess Festival “Liepajas Rokade” (one of the best traditional tournaments of Latvian chess calendar, this summer it will be the 25th time in a row), European Youth Chess Championship (for the 1st time held in Latvia) and many others.

Latvian Chess Federation

Latvian Chess Federation is a member of European Chess Union (ECU) and World Chess Federation (FIDE). There are almost 600 FIDE rated Latvian chess players and two of them are in the FIDE top 150 players list (March 2018) – Igor Kovalenko and Alexei Shirov. Overall in the FIDE rating list Latvian men are in the 33th place and Latvian women chess players – 38th in the world. Latvian players participate in all the most significant international chess events – World Chess Olympiad, World Mind Games, World and European Team Championships, European and World Championships (also among senior and youth players) and many others.

The president of Latvian Chess Federation since 2015 is IO Aris Ozolins.

For more information about Latvian Chess Federation visit: