Croatian Go Association (HIGOU) is performing a go project in several schools in different cities of Croatia. The project name is “Go – the game that teaches us to think”. The partners are two primary schools (Zagreb and Lipovljani), two secondary schools (Zagreb and Kutina), one special education center (Velika Gorica), one kindergarten (Zagreb) and the City of Kutina. The project is financed for one school year (ending in August 2017) by Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and co-financed by the City of Kutina. We appreciate the kind support of Nihon ki-in and the Embassy of Japan to Croatia very much.
The goal of the project is to establish the game of go as an educational tool which is well-connected with other subjects on various school levels, having the common goal of developing logical thinking and decision making skills in children and youth. The project allowed the purchase of go stones, boards, books and clocks for tournaments. With kind support of Nihon ki-in, we got additional teaching materials and demonstration boards (sized 7x7) and even a visit of a distinguished professional player and teacher Catalin Taranu (5p), who visited Croatia during the First Croatian Go Week (May 8-14, 2017).
ABOUT THE GO WEEK
The First Croatian Go Week was a memorable set of events comprising public lectures, exposure of go to the media, ending with an international tournament (May 13-14) at a nice venue - public elementary school near the recreational area in Zagreb. The project has already produced immensely positive impact on go developments in Croatia: the number of people (children, teachers, parents) learning the rules of go exploded, the number of double-digit-kyu players competing in EGF-rated tournaments increased rapidly, some kyu and dan players are back to the game.
Mr. Taranu held several lectures in primary and secondary schools in Zagreb, Lipovljani and Kutina. He played simultaneous games with young go players and explained several AlphaGo games played earlier this year with strongest go players in Croatia. His numerous discussions with teachers and principals of schools, city officials, go educators and players were extremely fruitful, producing the positive and productive atmosphere for future development of go in Croatia.
ABOUT THE GO WEEKEND
Croatian Open Go Championship started smoothly on Saturday, 13th May 2017. At 1 PM, we had a reception by the principal of the school, attended by a lot of school teachers and participants of the Championship. Altogether 32 players from five different countries played in the tournament. Mr. Taranu helped players with the analysis of games they have just played. The Championship included many additional activities like Go Workshop for Beginners and a Pair Go event where the combination “Parent and Child” was preferred. After five rounds, four players were tied with four wins: two from Slovenia and two from Croatia. Tie-break criteria were applied: Gregor Butala, 5d, from Slovenia took the 1st place, Stjepan Mestrovic, 2d, from Croatia was 2nd, Zoran Mutabzija, former European Champion (1967 and 1971) took the 3rd place and Andrej Flajs, 2d, was 4th. It should be noted that Gabrijel Jambrosic from XVth Gymnasium, who started to play last year won all games gaining almost 300 rating points! Three best double-digit kyus younger than 12 (U12) got medals, as well as three best double-digit kyus in U20 category. There is no doubt that Croatia is going to have more than enough young players for the forthcoming European Youth Go Team Championships on KGS later this year.
The results of the tournament can be found in the European Go Database:
The visit of Mr. Catalin Taranu, 5p, had a tremendous effect on the development of go activities in Croatia. We learned a lot about the proper way of teaching beginners of all ages, many new metaphors which make the first contact with the game more interesting. We discussed many issues related to organizing lectures,training for stronger players, and the organization of the go association in general. Mr. Taranu helped a lot in raising visibility of the go project at the level of school principals and city authorities. At least 400 children, parents and teachers had the opportunity to attend the lectures and found the game of go the most exciting of all mind games.
We used the equipment generously donated by Nihon Ki-in a lot. Now, many teachers and promotors of the game of go in schools can read the excellent book for instructors by Nihon Ki-in, which is a great source of all necessary information about the benefits, rules, history and other facts about the game of go. It was wonderful to see that so many teachers found the game of go applicable to other school subjects and supported the project.
By the end of the week, we finally got the message of support from the European Go Federation. The First Croatian Go Week is the great foundation for preparation of our next project “Go – game with(out) limits” which will be submitted to the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia in June 2017. We are open for any regional and European initiatives related to teaching go in schools.
Zoran Mutabzija President of HIGOU
Damir Medak Secretary of HIGOU