After a two-year break, this year there will again be a European Go Congress – this time in picturesque Vatra Dornei, Romania.
Unfortunately, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have cut deeply into the number of registrants: there are almost no Ukrainian, Russian, or Asian participants registered at the time of writing. The total count is also currently only 246 players, even though the event is only two months away, so this can very well turn out to be the smallest congress in a few decades.
Still, even just 246 participants, some of which over two weeks, easily means the largest go event in Europe. Yours truly can also say that even the extra-small egc in Frascati, Italy (2006), with 292 participants was well worth it. In fact, at that time I did not even realise that the congress was supposedly ‘small’. For those people still wavering between going and not going, I do not think that the number of current registrants should be a significant factor.
Besides the issue with the participant number, another current challenge for the Congress is in attracting professional players to teach at the venue. Here in Asia, the professional associations do not quite see the pandemic situation as safe enough to send a number of professional players around, so it is possible that this year the number of attending professionals will be small. Still, at least a number will be present, including European professionals, Guo Juan, Catalin Taranu and yours truly, and we will try to make up for the situation as well as possible.
If you haven’t locked down your summer plans yet, how about booking a week or two in Vatra Dornei? The European go scene needs you!
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