American Go E-Journal » Go News

Traveling Board: AGF Takes Go to 20,000 Librarians in New Orleans

Monday July 4, 2011

Go and libraries are natural partners, not just because of longtime efforts to stock libraries with go books but because libraries have also often hosted go clubs. Which is why the AGA’s Chris Kirschner, 2008 AGF Teacher of the Year Vincent Eisman and I found ourselves among 20,000 librarians at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference last week in New Orleans.

The American Go Foundation (AGF) sent us out to promote free equipment and books to youth librarians. Libraries across the country are stocking lots of manga (Japanese comics) because they pull kids in.  From my own program, at a public library in Boulder, CO, I knew Hikaru no Go was a gold mine: once kids read it, they want to play go. And with Winston Jen’s generous donation of 1,000 sets of Hikaru, we figured we would be in a good position to reach out, especially since the AGF is giving libraries and schools the entire 23-volume set for free.

We knew the event was going to be big, but we were shocked at how huge the convention center was.  The building itself ran for almost two miles, and the vendor area housed 900 exhibitors. I had arranged to have our booth in the Graphic Novel/Gaming Pavilion, and once the conference opened, we had a steady stream of visitors.

All three of us have done a lot of demos before, but we felt that this was very different. People were not casually interested, or just wandering by and curious: they were focused, excited, and looking specifically for ways to engage kids and teens in their libraries. A great number of them were members of YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association. They were very enthusiastic about what we were providing, and seemed like a perfect target for us. There were also a number of library directors and people in other departments who took information and said they would give it to the right person at their branch. Not only did 113 libraries sign up for a free set of Hikaru on the spot, but we also gave out over 700 brochures, about 500 copies of The Way to Go, almost 200 starter CDs and 280 cardboard sets.  We even taught librarians how to play right there in the booth as well, and they all seemed fascinated.

The AGF has been reaching out to libraries for a couple of years now, so I was hoping we might encounter some people who already knew about us. There were several who had, and they raved about how much they appreciated our services.  One school library already had a go program, with equipment from us, but didn’t know we gave away Hikaru now, so their librarian was psyched to order it.  Another one told me that the program was going strong for a while, but then it died out when some of the kids moved on.  She said it successfully resurrected itself this past year when two fifth graders read Hikaru and got into the game. I ran into a librarian from Sacramento, who said she had had many go demos at her library in the past. When I asked who did them, she said it was None Redmond, Japanese professional Michael Redmond’s mother, and a tireless promoter of youth go.  Another librarian said the kids really love go at her branch, and that the equipment we sent gets used all the time.

Even at night, when we were “off-duty,” we found go connections. After strolling down Bourbon Street, where we soaked in the live jazz and the beautiful French Quarter architecture, a waiter at one restaurant overheard us mention the word atari, and asked if we played go. We were pleasantly surprised to find a fellow player at random and he told us there were a couple of go clubs in New Orleans, although we didn’t have time to visit any of them.  A security guard at the convention center also turned out to be a player, and had contacted me in advance through Tiger’s Mouth, our youth website.

Much to our delight, a good number of the librarians had already heard of go, Hikaru, or both.  It seemed that everywhere we went we saw evidence that go continues to break into the national consciousness.  Chris Kirschner remarked on how much ground had been gained in the past 30 years and mused that “we can never underestimate the value of the seeds that we are planting,” and that one never knows what teaching even one person how to play go might lead to.

We all felt that this particular group of people were in a great position to help spread go on a much larger scale.  Once they have Hikaru in their libraries, they will find kids asking to form a go club.  The AGF will be right there for them, offering free starter sets with enough equipment for 24 kids to play, and ongoing support through our mentor committee.  Slowly but surely, we are building the future of go.
- Paul Barchilon, Vice President of the AGF and Youth Editor for the E-Journal.  Photos: Top: The AGF booth at the convention.
- Photos:
top left: Vincent Eisman convinces passersby that go is for them while Chris Kirschner demonstrates go in back; Bottom right: Kirschner teaches a librarian; photos by Paul Barchilon


Lee Sedol Adds Chunlan Cup to His Trophy Case

Sunday July 3, 2011

Korea’s Lee Sedol 9P (l) has added the Chunlan Cup to his already stuffed trophy case. Lee had never won the Chunlan before and the 8th annual edition – a best-of-three international tournament — began June 27 with Lee defeating China’s Xie He 7P by resignation after a hard fight. Xie, playing black, evened the score on June 29 in a second-round game that’s already been the subject of much discussion because the players created a new pattern in the top right, starting with Lee’s move 18. Lee held white again in the deciding match on June 30. Despite losing Game Two, he tried the new move again and his perseverance paid off as he won the game and the tournament. Lee now adds his first win in the Chunlan Cup to his already impressive record.

For those interested in the new joseki, see An Younggil’s Game 3 commentary.

- Jingning, based on her original reports on the 8th Chunlan Cup at Go Game Guru.

Categories: World

Adan Wins UK Go Challenge

Sunday July 3, 2011

Adan Mordcovich from London was the new champion of the UK Go Challenge, held June 26 in Aston. He also won the Under-18 Boys section forcing Aston’s Mazhar Warraich to take second in the section and overall. Hamzah Reta, also from Aston, was third overall and Under-16 Boys Champion. Aston also won the schools trophy and their Ibraheem Mustafa won Under-12 Boys. Thomas Meehan from Solihull won the Under-14 Boys. Milton School players cleaned up in the younger age groups and won the Junior School Cup. Roella Smith was Top Girl winning Under-12 and her sister Kelda won Under-8. Their brother Edmund, aged 6, won the Boys Under-8 and Mark Slatter won the Boys Under-10. There were prizes too to many others for good results or solving puzzles. A special award of UK Go Challenge Meijin Organiser was given to Mr Mike Lynn for supporting the event from its start up to his forthcoming retirement. Click here for results.
- Tony Atkins

Categories: Europe

GO SPOTTING: David Mitchell’s Novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Sunday July 3, 2011

If you need another reason to read David Mitchell’s spellbinding new novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, the game of go plays a key and major role in the story. Indeed, one entire section of the book is entitled “The Master of Go” and not only does go strategy drive part of the novel’s structure, but the game itself — in fact, a specific game, the board and pieces — play a dramatic role at the climax of the riveting novel. Thousand Autumns is more than just a terrific read, though. Mitchell has “meticulously reconstructed the lost world of Edo-era Japan, and in doing so he’s created his most conventional but most emotionally engaging novel yet,” wrote Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times. Set in atmospheric coastal Japan, this epic story centers on an earnest young Dutch clerk, Jacob de Zoet, who arrives in the summer of 1799 to make his fortune and return to Holland to wed his fiancée. But Jacob’s plans are shaken when he meets the daughter of a Samurai. Thousand Autumns is now out in paperback, as well as available as an e-book.

2011 U.S. Go Congress Discounts Begin to Kick In

Monday June 27, 2011

With registration for the 2011 U.S. Go Congress — July 30 – August 7 in Santa Barbara, CA — on a record-breaking pace, every playing attendee who registered by 11:59pm PDT on June 1 “will receive our first discount of $15 off registration!” reports Congress Director Lisa Scott. “Register by 11:59pm PDT on July 5 to be eligible for our second discount of $15 off every playing attendee!” Scott adds, noting that all current registrants will also receive this second discount as well.  Email Scott at with any questions.

Michael ‘Zhaonian’ Chen Sweeps NAIM Online Qualifier II

Monday June 27, 2011

Princeton undergraduate Michael Chen 7d swept the field as sixteen strong players competed June 25-26 on KGS in the second online North America Ing Masters (NAIM) qualifier for the opportunity to be in the top 16 in this year’s NAIM, which will be held in at the U.S. Go Congress in August. Kevin Huang 7d, Calvin Sun 7d and KuoRuey Han 6d finished 3-1. A playoff between 3-win players Vincent Zhuang and Kevin Chao was set for Monday, June 27. Tremendous efforts by Tournament Director Tengxiao Yang and Changlong Wu helped players show friendship and high class as they accommodated an AGA player who had to temporarily travel to China.
- National Tournament Coordinator Zhiyuan ‘Edward’ Zhang

Categories: U.S./North America

Capital One Offers New AGA Visa Card

Monday June 27, 2011

Wouldn’t it be cool if every time you used your credit card you also helped to promote go, support tournaments, chapter services and the U.S. Mind Games team? Now you can do just that with the new AGA Visa credit card from Capital One.

The first time you use the card, the American Go Association will get $50 from Capital One. The AGA also gets small donations on every subsequent purchase: 2% on gas and grocery purchases, 1% on all other purchases and up to 10% on purchases made at select merchants.

”This is an easy and important way to support your national go organization,” said AGA President Allan Abramson. “With every swipe of the card – designed by our very own Mike Samuel – the AGA gets a donation-and you get to spread the word about the game of go.”

In addition to raising much-needed funds for the AGA’s face-to-face and online tournaments, Abramson noted that special events like the upcoming 2010 Mind Games will cost “as much as $30,000 to send a team. Using the AGA card just once will help get us there!”

Click here  for details on the new AGA credit card. (Credit approval required. Terms and conditions apply. Offered by Capital
One, N.A. (c) 2010 Capital One)

Categories: U.S./North America

MyGoFriend Program Ties Top Pro

Sunday June 26, 2011

The MyGoFriend program scored a 2-2 result against Kim Young Sam 8P in a June 16 9×9 exhibition match played during the recent Kido Cup in Hamburg, Germany and broadcast live on KGS. MyGoFriend – a Gold Medal winner at the 15th Computer Olympiad that employs state of the art Monte Carlo algorithms  — won the first two games and Kim Young Sam 8P the last two. While MyGoFriend officially lost the final game on time, due to connection issues, the position was evaluated as unclear or better for MyGoFriend. Click here for the complete report, videos, photos and game records.

GO IN THE NEWS: U.S. Strategists Learning from Go, says Wall Street Journal

Sunday June 26, 2011

“Forget chess,” said the Wall Street Journal on June 11. “To understand geopolitics in Taiwan or the Indian Ocean, U.S. strategists are learning from Go.” David Lai (r), a professor at the Army War College, has been telling senior military officials in the U.S. and overseas in recent months that go “holds the key to understanding how the Chinese really think—and U.S. officials had better learn to play if they want to win the real competition,” wrote reporter Keith Johnson in “What Kind of Game Is China Playing?” Lai authored a 2004 paper called “Learning From the Stones,” that described China’s long-term and indirect approach to acquiring influence and “zeroed in on concrete geopolitical challenges such as Taiwan, which he described, in terms of Go, as a single isolated stone next to a huge mass of opposing pieces.” The paper caught the attention of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who the WSJ says “quickly became a convert to his way of thinking.” Kissinger refers to go throughout his new book, “On China,” (“Flawed” Use of Go in Kissinger’s New Book? 6/5 EJ). One of Lai’s first fans was Air Force Gen. Steve Lorenz, formerly the head of Air University, where Lai then taught, reports the WSJ. “Gen. Lorenz heard one of his lectures in late 2005 and summoned him for a full briefing about the insights that Go could offer.” In recent months, Lai has briefed officers at Pacific Command, the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, the Center for Army Analysis and the Australian Defence College. “One officer at the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, where Mr. Lai gave a presentation at a commander’s conference in March to about three dozen officers, said ‘the game analogy really sparked fascination’ and was useful for Air Force officers who might have to consider China a potential adversary one day. He conceded, though, that the briefing’s heavy academic content left ‘plenty of heads hurting.’ ‘You’ve got to think like the other guy thinks,’ said the officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.” Other say that comparing national strategic thought to popular sports and games is an over-simplification. “Go is a very useful device for analyzing Chinese strategy, but let’s not overdo it,” James Holmes, an expert on Chinese strategy and professor at the Naval War College said. The 6/11 article also features a video of the WSJ’s Christina Tsuei getting a lesson on the game from 35-year go veteran – and Brooklyn Go Club organizer — Jean-Claude Chetrit (left).

Categories: U.S./North America

GO IN THE NEWS: Tampa Go Club

Saturday June 25, 2011

The Tampa Go Club was included in a May 20 St. Petersburg Times write-up on area gaming clubs:
The board game Go has been around for more than 2,000 years and enjoys widespread popularity in East Asia. But around here, there’s just one game in town. John Russell, a 28-year-old librarian, formed the Tampa Go Club nearly two years ago. The weekly meeting attract upwards of 15 people who play on three board sizes, the largest being the most difficult. Often compared to Chess and Backgammon, Go has simple rules but a high degree of strategy. Two players alternate turns by placing black or white stones on the board to amass the larger territory. The club has a core group of regulars but often gets drop-ins from USF who may have seen the game played in A Beautiful Mind, Pi and other movies. Tampa Go Club meets from 3 to 6 p.m. Sundays at the International Boba House and Internet Cafe, 2764 University Square Drive, Tampa. Click here or email
- photo courtesy St. Petersburg Times

Categories: U.S./North America