American Go E-Journal

AGA Board Candidate Profiles: Western Region

Wednesday July 25, 2012

Ten candidates are running for four seats on the AGA’s Board of Directors in this year’s elections, which are now underway. To give members a better sense of who the candidates are, their experience and vision for the AGA, the E-Journal asked all ten to respond to a brief survey and are publishing the results in a 4-part series this week. Click here for full election details, including candidate statements in their own words.

Western Region

Steven Burrall lives in Elk Grove, CA. He’s been playing go for 48 years. An AGA 4-dan, his favorite thing about go is that “When a game is going well for both players, it feels like an art project.”

Burrall’s experience as a go organizer includes serving as a Board member and TD for Bay Area Go Player’s Association; served numerous previous AGA Go Camps in various positions such as counselor, director and organizer; served on two committees: one to select a candidate for AGA president and one to organize the new American Pro system. Asked about other relevant organizational experience, he said that “As a director of a hospital laboratory, my favorite strategy for solving problems is to find other organizations that faced the same problem and dealt with it successfully, and steal their idea.”

He says that the AGA’s greatest strength is that “it’s members tend by nature to be intelligent and persistent,” while the area AGA most needs to improve is “Membership growth. Unoriginal idea, but can’t get around it.”

Burrall’s top priorities would be to go all-out to support new American pro system, “since it’s probably a once in a lifetime shot,” and to assist local clubs in “organizing go in public places, to increase exposure and gain new members.” Finally, Burrall says that “I’d prefer not to rely on internet go any more than is necessary. It’s primarily the impact on human relationships that makes go a worthwhile pastime.”

Jeff Horn

Chris Kirschner lives in Seattle,WA. He’s been playing go for 66 years. An AGA 4-dan, his favorite thing about the game is that “The only way to end the game is by agreement between the players. I believe that is a unique property in the game world. In the end, one must make peace.”

His experience as a go organizer includes creating UW Go club in 1961, running tournaments at the Last Exit 1967 – 198?, Director 2nd US Go Congress 1986, Chapter head 1985 – 2000, Congress Director 1995, NW coordinator 1988 – 2000, President 2000 – 2002, VP Operations, 2004 – 2008, Development 2008 – present, Congress Liaison 1996 – present. Other organizational experience includes serving on other non-profit Boards, including the Open Door Clinic 1967 – 71, Seattle Free University 1968, Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival 1984 – present, Seattle Go Center 1995 – present

Kirschner says the the AGA’s greatest strength is that “It attracts highly competent, strong people willing to invest huge amounts of time and energy into both the organization, and the promotion of the game. A strong and independent publication (the E-Journal) and a genuinely democratic governance structure.” What the AGA most needs to improve is “Generating outside funding. A steep hill to climb, but a great need.” Also, he notes, “Strong, competent, competitive people have a tendency to come into conflict. We need better protocols for managing those cases with minimal damage to the organization.”

Kirschner’s top 3 priorities if elected to the Board would be: Short term – Set up the rank certification that is approved but not yet implemented. Intermediate term – Get chapters more directly involved in stimulating action by the Board. Long term – Develop internal conflict management protocols.

Finally, Kirschner says, “Over the last 50 years promoting the game, I have seen public knowledge of go progress from a game that ‘nobody has ever heard of’ to one that a good 20% – 30% of people recognize on sight as a strong mental game fromAsiasomewhere. The AGA has been a significant part of that transformation. I want to set up teacher training workshops at Congresses, with some support for those signing up for them. Every time anyone teaches even briefly, that percentage rises. Our ultimate goal is that go becomes as much a recognized part of our culture as chess or bridge.”

Categories: Members Only