Antti: Hi! Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Elian: Hi! I am Ioan Elian Gregoriu. I am from Romania, but now I study at a high school in Germany. I am 18 years old and ranked 5 dan.
Antti: How did you come to play go?
Elian: I have always been interested in strategy games, whether they be computer or traditional games. In 2011, a Romanian go player named Codrin Vasiloanca lost his job when his company went down, and he decided to try to make teaching go into his job. By coincidence, he came to promote the game to my school, and I instantly picked the game up: of course I was interested in the king of strategy games!
Antti: How did you qualify for this year’s WAGC?
Elian: I got third place in the Romanian championship this year. Usually I am at fourth place, but this time I managed to defeat Dragos Bajenaru, overtaking him. Cornel Burzo, who placed first, and Christian Pop, who was second, were in line before me, but they decided to let me go instead.
Antti: Have you been to Japan before? How are you liking the tournament?
Elian: It is my first time in Japan, and second time in Asia: I participated in the CEGO project in China for half a year. I am not very happy with my tournament results, as for some reason I was not able to concentrate on my games; but I have had a lot of fun with all the side activities that the organisers have prepared. I think Japan is a really beautiful country!
Antti: Is there something in particular about go that you like? How would you recommend the game to new people?
Elian: Go seems to be popular among mathematicians and programmers, and I have heard many people say that you need to be good at mathematics to become good at go. I don’t think so, however. I think you can be a philosopher or painter by trade and still become strong at the game. Something about the game strikes me as intuitive and beautiful – I’m having trouble learning the logic of the German language, but go comes naturally to me. Go seems to make you into a deep thinker, and because a game is about the players matching their understanding and plans against each other, it’s kind of like…
Antti: Competitive philosophy?
Elian: Yes, something like that! I also like the fact that many principles you learn about the game also apply to real life, for example how it’s better to do one thing well rather than two things poorly.
For spreading the game among children, I think the family’s support is important. Starting from junior high school, go took a lot of my free time, but my parents supported me all the way. As a result, I maybe didn’t focus on my school studies as much as I otherwise would have, but I think the game has given me more than enough in return.
Antti: Thanks for your answers, Elian! Have a nice rest of your stay in Japan!
Elian: Thank you!