It's fair to say chess is in Lucas van Foreest's blood. His three year older brother Jorden and 11-year-old sister Machteld are among the very best players in the world in their consecutive age groups, and one could say the same from Lucas (age 17, rating 2499). His great-great grandfathers Dirk and Arnold became Dutch champions as well as Jorden, one thing Lucas wants to become one day too. He recently obtained the GM-title, and for the long run, his aim is reaching a rating of 2700. Although chess is a prominent factor in his life, Van Foreest has many interests (e.g. politics) and wants to develop himself in different ways. His general goal is to build a successful career, chess related or not. For now, he's combining high-school with the life of a chess professional. He just played a tournament in Saint Louis and after the University Match in Groningen he's playing the strong B-group of TATA Steel Chess. He expects the match against Ivan Sokolov to be very interesting with chances for both sides.
If you wouldn't play chess, in what sport you would (want to) be a professional? And of all professions?
Arm-wrestler, or a cook.
According to you, how big is the factor luck in chess?
I don't know how big of a factor luck is, but for some reason, the stronger player is always the lucky one. Just looking at one game, the factor seems to be quite big, For this, it is easily possible to beat a much stronger player. But in the long term, just like in poker, it will not play a big role.
If you could change one rule in chess, what would it be?
Remove the draw offer. Players should fight till the end.
What about playing some rounds Fischer Random? Or change the system of pairings to only announce it a few minutes before a game, in order to discourage preparation? Or to play on for three points, as where after a draw a blitz game decides the third point?
Fisher Random is fun, but it should not overtake normal chess. Openings are an essential part of the game. It should not be removed. To always have a winner is interesting, we will have to see how that goes during Norway Chess.
What does a normal/standard day look like in the life of Lucas van Foreest?
School between 11 and 4, and after that some chess and physical activities.
What was the best chess advice given to you?
'Playing badly can happen, but losing without a fight cannot' - Benjamin Bok
How would you describe your playing style?
I try to achieve positional gains by calculation.
Who is your favorite opponent? And who do you really like to play one day?
Sipke Ernst. I would really like to play Karjakin sometime.
Is there a way to recognize the chess player in a crowd?
Well dressed and lost in thoughts.
Chess, is it - according to you - art, science, game, sport or just a way to keep the crazy people sane?
What's the longest period after another, you are able not to think of chess?
I only think of chess when I am breathing.
Artificial Intelligence takes over chess, one could say. What do you think, shall it also take over life itself eventually?
Artificial Intelligence is currently not overtaking chess, Stockfish is. AI will not overtake humans, but they will function as great tools for humans.
What is your (own) favorite game and why?
My game against Amin, I beat a strong player in wild complications.
- Benno de Jongh -
Foto: Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller