Winter Go Festival 2023

Winter is coming and with it the traditional event ‘ International Winter Go Festival’. This year it reached its 5th edition and it was organized for the first time outside Vatra Dornei.

Our circle of friends and acquaintances is getting bigger the longer we live in Vatra Dornei. Through them we sometimes learn of wonderful new places from Dorna Land. One such place is the Poiana guest house in Poiana Negri. I first visited it last year during the European Go Congress 2022 in Vatra Dornei, together with his Excellency Hiroshi Ueda, the Ambassador of Japan in Romania and my friend and partener in dreaming, Carol Circu. The pittoresque view ,excellent food  and  a shot of berrynka were enough to intoxicate the senses, but could not stop the keen eye of an experienced event organizer to notice the great spacious rooms  where a future Go event would fit just fine!

And so it happens that seven months later we chose this venue for our festival. And a good choice it was. Our hosts spoiled us with amazing breakfast , the best and most generous i had experienced in my entire life of travelling. The only complaint i could hear from the participants, when they could muster the energy to talk after eating too much,  was that they ate too much and too well. 

Forty youth from three countries were ready for combat at the start of the second stage of SEYGO tour, our traditional European Grand Prix series of tournaments for youth. In between the rounds a tsume Go competition, lectures and a running Go event were held by Mirta and Elian, our enthusiastic helpers who not so long ago were youth participants in the SEYGO tour as well. After SEYGO the competitions continued with the traditional Vado Cup tournament where more adults joined. 

Overall the event felt like a great success, even if participation was lower than in the past editions. It is customary that the participation of Hikaru Go club ( Hikaru=to shine in Japanese) confused our weather controller who instead of shining snow gave us shining sun and even some shining rain. To prove my theory correct, it started snowing beautifully just after they left. 

Our heartfelt thanks go to our hosts from Poiana guest house for the excellent environment and for sponsoring us with beautiful T-shirts, to our friends from Croatia who visit us every year, especially to Damir Medak who was referee and pairing master, last but not least to the supportive parents who make such events possible. 

Catalin Taranu

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