Ambassador Melanie visits Tromsø

by ChessBase
5/2/2014 – Melanie Ohme, 24, is a German WGM and member of the national Olympic team. She is also an activist against racism and as such was invited to Tromsø, Norway, where the 41st Chess Olympiad begins in three months. Melaine participated in two days of filming and visited a special school where chess is being used to integrate children from 22 different nations. Inspiring photo report.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Melanie Ohme visits Tromsø

By Thomas Robertsen

Melanie Ohme is not only a very talented and strong chess player who just recently also got nominated for the German Women's Olympic Team. She is also known for her great efforts in fighting racism, using chess as a natural platform.

Last week Melanie visited Tromsø, Norway, the host city of the Chess Olympic in August. The visit was mainly due to Melanie being appointed Ambassador for the Olympics, an honour she shares with among others the former World Champions Anatoly Karpov, Susan Polgar and Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Melanie was also visiting Tromsø to participate in a local film project. The company Jabfilm is planning a series of mini portraits of interesting players who will participate in the Olympics. These portraits will be shown during the event in August. In addition to these portraits the players also will participate in a documentary about the North of Norway. The players get to visit exciting locations and also explore the beautiful nature of the North.

Melanie spent two days filming in spectacular natural surroundings a few miles outside Tromsø. Afterwards she told me that it had been two wonderful days – she got to try a lot of different things including dog sledding, ice fishing and snowmobile safari.

Dog sledding – Melanie was taken on a outing...

... and naturally made friends with the hard-working sled engines

According to the film crew Melanie's media experience came in handy. Even though the days were long and exhausting, she always remained positive and sporty. Melanie also got to taste several local dishes as well

A great meal after a long day in a traditional sami "Gamme"

On Friday she was back in Tromsø, where she first spent a few hours at a local secondary school. Here she visited a so-called Introduction Class. The students in this class have just recently arrived in Norway and are trying to learn about the country and the Norwegian language, before they attend regular classes.

Right now there are students from 22 different nations, including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Russia and Thailand. One would think that so many different nationalities trying to learn a totally new language together would be a challenge.

Well, entering chess! The students have all learnt to play chess and are using chess as a common language. Through these sessions the teacher, Christian Grundekjøn, manages to put in both conceptual language and understanding of the Norwegian language.

Melanie preparing a session with Børge Robertsen (left), General Manager for Chess Olympiad Tromsø and chess coach Christian Grundekjøn (right). Christian has taught chess to more than 1500 children in the Tromsø over the last four years, an outstanding achievment!

The students were thrilled over the visit from a distinguished guest and were very eager to show Melanie their chess abilities, and she obviously got several admirers. Melanie seemed to enjoy herself and got very engaged in the chess teaching.

Later on Friday she was formally appointed as a new Ambassador at a social gathering in Tromsø, hosted by the Olympic Committee. Present were a nice mix of supporters and sponsors of the Olympics, and also several local chess enthusiasts. During her interesting and enlightening speech Melanie addressed racism and her experince of using chess as a tool for making people understand and respect each other. Afterwards the sponsors were challenged to play a blindfold game against Melanie, but no one dared. Instead she played a few blitz games against strong masters.

Against Jon Kristian Røyset Melanie had a few problems – not surprising,
considering Jon Kristian is a very strong player with several GM scalps in his belt.
Interestingly enough he is also a former World Champion in Backgammon.

On Saturday Melanie got a guided tour to Kvaløya (Whale Island). Kvaløya is actually the fifth largest island in Norway and it has many big mountains and beautiful fjords.

One of these is the popular and famous Ersfjorden, a small and secluded pearl only twenty minutes outside Tromsø.

Here Melanie got to explore the majestic mountains that surround the fjord and which at some places seem to drop straight into the ocean.

Melanie Ohme and the author of the article, who is well on his way to consume his third
slice of the famous carrot cake at Bryggejentene

Afterwards she spend an hour at the ever so popular Bryggejentene, in English something like "the girls on the dock", which is a famous coffee shop and meeting place. Here both the locals as well as the occasional visitor from Tromsø seek peace and inner harmony. As it happens they also serve the greatest carrot cake in the world.

At Bryggejentene Melanie also met with Kristin Røymo. Kristin is the leader of the
Labour Party in Tromsø and also a prominent spokesperson against racism.
Melanie and Kristin seemed to enjoy each others company and shared their views.

Kristin, who lives in Ersfjorden, was eager to learn more from Melanie and her experience
fighting racism. Therefore she invited Melanie to visit her farm during the Olympiad.

But all good things come to an end and on Sunday Melanie flew back to Germany. On behalf of the chess community in Tromsø we wholeheartedly welcome both her and the whole German contigent back for the Olympics in August.

Photos by John Arvid Berger and Jan Sigmund Berglund

Jan Sigmund Berglund is Mr. Chess in the North of Norway. Always smiling and helpful he is now working as an event manager for the Olympic organization, but is also the leader of the local chess club. Jan Sigmund has organised all the big tournaments in Tromsø in recent years. One of those who apparantly is pre-occupied with chess 24/7.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register