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Winter Go Festival 2020 in Vatra Dornei
By Tony Claasen | News | 19.02.2020 17:31 | Views: 4081

Winter Go Festival 2020 Vatra Dornei!

A view from my hotel room.
The start of a week, meeing friends and having fun.

It was one week of playing go, meeting friends, old and new, and having the possibility to enjoy snow and skiing. Another week full of work for me as a scribe, having fun in the evening, enjoying a beer, a little wine and laughing with friends from all over europe. For me it was the third time that I visited the Winter Go Festival in Vatra Dornei, and I can say that each and every time I enjoyed all the possiblities that are offered alongside playing go.

As always I like to travel to Vatra Dernei via Bucharest, so that I am able to meet old friends in Bucharest as well. And traveling with the night train is an experience you should make at least once in your life.

Arriving on the 7th of February in the morning in Vatra Dornei, I began with a pot of coffee and a hearty breakfast. The first task was preparation of the playing site started, for which, apart from Mihaela, Catalin, and me, there was a group of young go players from the local go club who had volunteered to help clean and set-up the playing halls.
In the beginning there was Chaos!
than came the BigBangTeam...
And order was created.

For those of you who are interested in visiting the Winter Go Festival in 2021 or the European Go Congress in 2021, here are some tips on how to travel to Vatra Dornei.

The following options to travel to Vatra Dornei
are recommended by the organisers:

The recommended way to travel to Vatra Dornei:Fly to Cluj: there is a regular bus connection from Cluj airport to Vatra Dornei (3.5h)
A dedicated shuttle bus can be arranged upon request (3h)

Alternative ways: Suceava, Iasi, Targu Mures, and Sibiu airports.
Shuttle buses can be arranged upon request

The best way to travel from Bucharest: The night train ( departure 22.00, arrival 07:00), a sleeping car is highly recommended
In case of large participation, the organizers can request additional sleeping cars from the railroad company.
2nd class sleeping car can have 4 or 6 beds ~ 50 Eur (including return trip)
1st class has 2 beds ~ 100 Eur ( including return trip).

As soon as the Website for the European Go Congress in 2021 is available further details about traveling to Vatra Dornei will be made available.
Here is a small list of activies for families during the summertime:
  • mountain hiking
  • feeding apples to horses
  • zip lining
  • chairlift
  • visiting traditional farms and houses
  • visiting Calimani National Park
  • More attractions and activities, as well as more details, will be published on the website for the European Go Congress 2021 in Vatra Dornei
Once again we had a nice opening ceremony, with a local group of youngsters performing music for us.

a great performance.


SEYGO Tour Beginners Tournament:

was arranged for the young players who are just starting the game.

All results can be found here.

For this group a special prize was created thanks to a mystery sponsor. Thanks to their generosity,  the youngest boy and girl, and the first three players in the tournament, got a yearbook. This yearbook was published by Sinan Djepov, who collected together written accounts, game records, information, and pictures - all provided by multiple volunteers and partipants in the SEYGO project.

Our youngsters showed us once more that winning is not everything. Playing, having fun and creating art was much more important.

Who is afraid of the big black wall?
Art and fun
The Pyramid

White to play and win.
Divide and rule

what is happening here?
divided fairly?
or not?

It was a great pleasure to me seeing all this energy and fun when playing.

The winner of this tournament was Andrei Boiarinhof 20k, winning all their 6 games, second place was for Toma Taranu 20k who won 4 of the 5 games he played and third place was for Flavius Lostun 20k winning 4 out of six games and losing only to Andrei and Toma.

The 2 youngest players in this tournament were, Gruia Taranu 20k and 5 years young and Alesia Ungureanu 20k and 6 years young.

SEYGO Tour Stage 2:

the tournament where a lot of the stronger youth players of Europe play.




All results can be found here.

The tournament was won by a new rising star from the Ukraine, winning all his games - Vsevolod Ovsiienko is 2d and just 11 years young, but that didn't prevent him from wining his game in the first round against Elian-Ioan Grigoriu 6d from Romania.

Vsevolod Ovsiienko 2d


SeygoTour 2020 - Elian-Ioan Grigoriu vs. Vsevolod Ovsiienko

Download Sgf-File

Stefan_Adrian Rotarita 2k from Romania got second place and the third place was for Robert-Andrei Grosu 4k from Romania.

The Dan Cucu Memorial

A tournament open to every player being played in the memory of Dan Cucu. This tournament was created as a side event to the SEYGO-Tour.
Dan Cucu:
was a Iasi (the third biggest city in Romania) businessman who established himself in Switzerland. During the period 2001-2009 he joined important FRGO (Romanian Go Federation) initiatives by reviving the Iasi Go Glub and organizing the Iasi Cup, an international tournament with generous sponsorship.
During the short time I (Catalin Taranu) got to know him he was a lively middle aged man, generous and passionate for the game of Go. The Iasi Cup was eventually cancelled due to low international participation despite the generous prizes awarded. This seems to be a common problem in contemporary European Go. Unfortunately, a few years later Dan passed away because of a heart attack. His memory is preserved during Vatra Dornei International Festival through the organization of the Dan Cucu Open tournament , a side event of the SEYGO tour meant to provide activities for adults, accompanying persons and instructors.

This year 8 players participated and Dragos Fofirca 1d from Romania was able to win all his games and the Dan Cucu Cup.

Dragos Fofirca 1d from Romania


All results of the Dan Cucu Memorial can be found here.

International Pairgo Tournament:

Last year the Romanian Pair-go Championship was played during the Winter Go Festival. This year a international tournament was organized and seven teams played a nice tournament; with hard and stressfull moments during the games.
In the end Mirta Medak and Elian Grigoriu were able to win the the tournament, second place was for rising star Olecia Malko playing with Artem Kachanovskyi, and third place was for Mihaela Taranu and Dragos Fofirca.
Impressive to me was the way Artem was able to play even against teams playing a lot weaker, playing normal moves keeping the game simple and understandable for his partner and even for the other pair, without losing the goal of winning the game.

Mirta Medak - Elian Grigoriu vs. Mihaela Taranu - Dragos Fofirca

Download Sgf-File



Mirta and Elian, the winners of the International Pairgo Tournament



VaDo Cup

On Valentines Day 57 players met to play in the International VaDoCup Tournament.
In the first round there was a big upset, Artem Kachanovskyi 2p lost his game against Jisan Seo 6d, 10 years old from Korea.
Youngsam Kim 8d from Korea was able to win all his games and won the tournament undefeated.
The last round saw a clash between Nikolai Mitic 7d and Dominik Boviz 6d in which Dominik was able to kill an extremely large group, and thus ttake second place in the tournament.


Nikolai Mitic 7d vs. Dominik Boviz 6d

Download Sgf-File

All results can be found here.

A small interview with the winner, Youngsam Kim 8d, of the VaDo Cup 2020:


How many hours a day do you study go?
When I was Insei I studied more than 10h per day.
But since I turned 20 years old, I’ve just been playing online and offline tournaments whenever I want to.

Do you study a lot with Leela or similar bot?
I don’t usually study with AI. The first reason is that I don’t have a good computer, and the second reason is that I don’t understand AI moves but sometimes I analyze my games with Leela to compare between my judgment and Leela’s judgment.

Did the amount of study change after you moved to Germany?
Yes, a big changing, even if I am tired after work I at least tried to play online against strong opponent once a day...if I win then I continue to play till I lose because of always happy to win :) and of I lose then I continue to play till I win. So basically I aim to play just a game but eventually I play more than a game. But after I moved to Germany, I tried the same way I tried in Korea but it was not easy because of different time zone that I couldn’t find strong opponents. But instead I try to watch pro games with my phone whenever I have time. Even now with Jisan together on the train way to Cluj airport. ^^

What (old) go master is your favorite player?
My favorite professional go player was Choi CheolHan. Because of I liked the way of his thinking and I still like him. But today I like Kim MyungHun more. He is not well known go player all of the world but he is very famous in Korea for playing always strong moves. My go level and my reading are not strong enough to play like him but I learn really and enjoy a lot from his games.

What (old) go master would you like to meet or play a game against?
I would like to meet and play against Zhang Tao again. You might know him from EGC 2017 in Oberhof. He is a very nice guy, very friendly and not arrogant although he already reached top level. And what part I most respect him is, he’s been trying his best when he play against me or much weaker players.
I got 3 teaching games from him in Oberhof ^^ (Main, Rapid and weekend tournament) it’s very hard to explain but He changed my way of thinking of go. So I wanna play against him again if I have a chance.

What goals do you have as go player?
A tough question,
As Go player...I want to make more friends from go. I’ve met already so many good friends by go. But mostly Europeans. I believe that the other side of the world there are so many nice friends are waiting for me :)
Never been to USA and South Africa yet :(

In one word what does go mean to you?
FRIEND, by Kim Youngsam
Kim Youngsam 8d, winner of the VaDo Cup 2020

Special thanks should go to my new friends from Croatia, Martina and Kriss, who were there taking a lot of pictures and making a movie that was actually cut and directed on site, and shown to us at the prizegiving ceremony of the SEYGO Tour.

The movie can be seen here.

One of the major Side events was the Lecture by Artem Kachanovskyi 2p and Viktor Lin 6d who let all youngsters study Tsumego, and do Push-Ups or Planking for every mistake made in one of the problems. So not only the brain, but also the body, were trained during the week. I saw a lot of laughing kids having fun studying go.

Ready to Run and Go
Fighting for the killing or living move.
And run back to get the next player and the next move.


And than we had the daily Run & Go event in the Pyramid, where two groups played on a 13x13 board and the players had to run to be able to play. This needed more than just good condition, also members where loud.

Artem working workout solutions with the students
The Pyramid by night seen from my room
Viktor evaluting the solutions


In the evening Artem gave some extra lectures with some tsumego and than a review of one of his games from the whole group. The way he explained moves, variations and more, was done in such a way so that even the absolute beginners could follow the key ideas he was explaining. This was clearly demonstrated, as it was not just the strongest in the group who came forward to ask questions or to put a stone the board. Even the weakest players in attendence were not to shy to come forward and expose their ideas about the game. All these possitive interactions are possible all thanks to the EGF-Academy.

In the end I could look back on a great week in Vatra Dornei, one which was filled with fun, and most of all some very good exchanges of ideas on how to create more activities to increase the go population in Europe.

Life by Catalin Taranu
Catalin and Mihaela Taranu at the prizegiving ceremony of the VaDo Cup
Creativity by Mihaela Taranu
Winter Go Festival 2020 in Vatra Dornei

This article was written by Antonius Claasen

Born 31th of January 1962, in 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands
started playing go 1979
Promotion to 1 Dan in 1981, after the Go Congress in Linz.
Promotion to 4 Dan in 1985 After the Go Congress in Terschelling.
Eurpean Champion 13X13 in 1984
European Team Champion in 1985, together with Frank Janssen and Joost Cremers.
I have 5 children and live at the moment in Hamburg Germany.

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