WGM Melanie Lubbe (1990) is no stranger to Groningen. She obtained her masters degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Groningen and also regularly plays for the city’s chess club SISSA. She started working in human resources in Braunschweig, Germany, where she lives together with her husband Nikolas Lubbe (who by the way is also attending the Chess Festival). Besides her ‘real job’ she also presents several shows on Chess24. Her ambition off the board is to enjoy her job while still finding time for family and friends as well as sports and chess. With three IM norms already in the pocket, she hopes to improve her rating of 2345 to get her IM title. You can find out more about Melanie, and her husband Nikolas' chess adventures via their website: https://www.lubbe-schach.de/berichte/2017/chess-festival-groningen/ .
Interview previous to the 2017 Chess Festival.
What do you think of the city of Groningen?
Oh, I do love the city with its charming atmosphere, its cosy stores and cafes and hundreds of bicycles. When doing my masters degree here, I took Groningen to my heart.
How would you describe your playing style? Did it change during the course of years?
I prefer complicated positions with lots of tactical motives and opportunities. However, I am not afraid of queen exchanges anymore, like I used to be.
What is your favourite opening? And what is your favourite opening you never play?
My favourite opening is probably the Kings Indian. I did suffer some painful losses with black. I like the fighting spirit of the opening and enjoy watching the highly inspiring games by the world elite. If I had the motivation to study the theory, I would go for the Najdorf system.
A chess game can be quit stressful. How do you cope with that?
I exercise a lot. I like running and boxing to stay in good physical condition during tournaments. At the tournament itself I usually spend time with my husband, go for a walk or a run, or read a non-chess-related book for relaxation.
What do you think of the role of computers in chess now and in the future?
The influence of computers in chess has already increased over the past decades and will grow further. The main impact will probably be on opening theory but also on general playing style. Whereas in the past top players mainly stuck to universal principles, today more ‘inhumane’ moves and ideas can be observed. With new technologies also new training methods emerged (DVDs, online courses, YouTube videos), which make chess even more approachable for everyone.
How do you prepare for your opponents? Do you focus on openings or also on things like weaknesses, psychology, and other things?
Additionally to opening preparation I try to figure out what kind of positions my opponent prefers, e.g. opposite castles, closed structures, or endgames. During the game I keep this in mind and try to avoid his/her favourite positions.
Is the pleasure of winning some games worth the frustration of losing others? In other words: what has more impact on future results for you, winning or losing a game?
Losing a game is more painful for me than winning a game is enjoyable. The good thing about this: I do remember my worst mistakes and hopefully will not repeat them in the future.
If you could choose to be a second, to whom – present or past players – would it be? And if you could choose your own second, who would it be?
I would love to know how Magnus chooses his openings. Being his second would probably give me some insights. My favourite second is my husband. He knows me and my chess better than anybody.
What is the strangest or nicest dream you have ever had about chess?
The strangest dream was about a game I played. Every time I returned to the board, there was a totally different position I had to cope with.
– Benno de Jongh –