GM Sipke Ernst (1979) divides his time about equally between playing chess and coaching. He moved to Groningen as a student, holds an MA degree in Dutch Language and Culture from the University of Groningen, and can definitely be called a ‘local hero’. The six-time Chess Festival winner plays for chess club Groninger Combinatie. Winning several tournaments around the world and playing in the German, Belgian, French, and Spanish league, he is, however, not just a local hero. This year he became second in the Dutch Championships, just missing the title after a hard-fought tie-break against Loek van Wely. As a chess coach Ernst is very active too, coaching – mostly young - players from a wide variety of countries such as India, South-Africa, the U.S., and Germany. With his experience and a rating of 2532 it’s fair to say that he might also be one of the favourites to win this year’s edition of the Chess Festival.
How would you describe your playing style? Has it changed during the course of years?
My playing style is 'jazzy'. When I was young I played like a bulldozer.
A chess game can be quite stressful. How do you cope with that?
I actually wish I experienced a bit more stress during a game…