American Go E-Journal

A glimpse of the go-playing students of China during the MLily Cup day off

Friday August 25, 2017

fullsizeoutput_bedby Karoline Li

On Friday 8/25, the day off between the top 16 and top eight MLily Cup games, Jeff Shaevel and I were invited to accompany a delegation of professionals and tournament organizers on a student-centric trip around the city of Tongling. Members of the group included President of the Chinese Weiqi Association Wang Runan 8P, Vice President Nie Weiping 9P, captain of Chinese national Go team Hua Xueming 7P, and coach of the Chinese national Go team Yu Bing 9P. Our first stop was a hotel in the city where Anhui province’s student tournament was held. We were ushered upstairs to a tournament room filled with hundreds of young students sitting at Go boards (photo top right), who applauded enthusiastically at the entrance of the professional players. Wang Runan spoke to open the event, and amid more thunderous applause and the start of games, the pros and their entourage exited.

fullsizeoutput_beeOur second stop was at Ruilong Primary School, where Hua Xueming (photo top left), Wang Runan, and Yu Bing played simultaneous games with the students. The organizer of the event first introduced the professionals to the room, and welcomed Jeff and I as representatives of the AGA; a translator told me afterwards that Wang Runan had spoken of his pleasure that we were there and the positive communication happening between China and America through Go evidenced by our presence. Then the children sat down at prepared Go boards, and each of the three pros took their places. I spoke with one of the teachers in attendance, who let me know that most of the students were between six and eight years old, and all beginner level go players. There were two empty boards on a table in the corner of the room, and when two students who had just come to observe asked Jeff for a simul, he happily obliged. Their table was soon surrounded with the students’ friends watching them play, and parents taking pictures.

fullsizeoutput_bf2The enjoyment in the room, on the part of both the students and the professionals, was palpable at both events of the day. Seeing the way Go is treated by teachers and students in schools as an important and worthy activity was truly wonderful to witness. It made me feel grateful for the teachers in America who spend the time and effort to introduce Go programs in school and bring students into the game. With the continued hard work of our Teachers of the Year, and all those who have not yet received the honor – but put in so many hours to teach Go to children and promote Go programs in Schools like the one Stephanie Yin 1P is introducing in New York City this year – perhaps one day we can have a student community of Go players in the US like the one that Jeff and I witnessed here in Tongling City.
IMG_0912-photo (bottom right): Wang Runan 8P, President of Chinese Weiqi Association, reviews a simultaneous game with a student
-photo (bottom left): Jeff Shaevel, AGA National Tournament Coordinator, plays a simultaneous game with two students while friends look on.
-report/photos by Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief

 

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