American Go E-Journal » Youth

Li Wins Young Lions

Monday December 5, 2011

Yunxuan Li 4d topped a field of 51 players in the Young Lions Tournament on KGS last month. The tournament, organized by the American Go Honor Society, featured young players from all over the US, and a few from Canada and Mexico as well. As in previous years, the tourney brought some of North America’s strongest youth together, including current Redmond and USYGC champion Aaron Ye 5d, and Oliver Wolf 4d, former Redmond Champ. “All the games i played were very tough,” Li told the Journal, “Aaron [Ye] has awesome attacking skills and Oliver [Wolf] has a very aggressive and flexible style.” Last year’s winner in this event, Vincent Zhuang 6d, went on to represent the US in the World Youth Go Championships, Li will get a chance to make his mark in the upcoming USYGC in January. Also coming up will be the School Team Tournament, the most popular event hosted by the AGHS, with registration opening around mid-January or February. The Young Lions was directed by AGHS President Jasmine Yan, Vice-Presidents Eric Chen and Justin Teng, Viral Kotecha, Van Tran, Rebecca Cheng, and Keiju Takehara.  -Justin Teng, with Paul Barchilon.  Photo: Yunxuan Li, at right, in a casual game at Go Congress.  AGHS VP Justin Teng is watching the game.  Photo by Wenguang Wu.

Winner’s report: Division A: 1st: Yunxuan Li 4d, 2nd: Oliver Wolf 4d, 3rd: Andrei Razvan 2k; Division B: 1st: Larry Qu 2k, 2nd: Raymond Liu 6k, 3rd: Anurag Varma 2k; Division C: 1st: Zachary Peach 8k, 2nd: Benson Jay Merrill 9k, 3rd: Jerry Qiu 10k; Division D: 1st: Joshua Song 16k, 2nd: Vicente A. Cortez-Tinoco 15k, 3rd: Noah Hill 13k; Division E: 1st: Alissa 18k, 2nd: Neal Fatheringham 18k, 3rd: Monsoon Shrestha 24k.

 

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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#4)

Monday November 28, 2011

July 16: Today is Saturday, but the dojang is not open today because there is a tournament for the inseis. So Om, Chisu Yun, Cho Sun Ah, Masakito and I went sightseeing. We visited an old Korean palace which was really interesting and then we went biking near the lake even though it was raining really hard. There was also an awesome playground over near the river where we went zip-lining. Afterwards we went to the mall to eat and we spent some time inside a Korean music store listening to K-pop albums. When we got home there was a barbecue dedicated to the kids that went to the tournament. I can’t say Korean barbecue is good, but it was a good experience to be a part of a large gathering of celebration in Korea.

July 19: Today is the day I go back to America. It’s sad that I have to leave just when I had just started to settle in. Before leaving I got to say bye to the handful of kids that are there in the morning. It was sad to leave the dojang and Korea. It would’ve been nice if I had got the chance to stay a bit longer and learn more. I got a lot of Korean Go books as gifts when I left. I got a book each on hangmae, pae (ko), and life and death, and a Korean Baduk magazine (which is not really helpful because I don’t understand it). I left the dojang at 12:30PM on an airport bus heading back to the Incheon Airport reading the Baduk magazine that Mr. Oh had given me. One day I look forward to come back to the dojang where I have found many good friends and teachers.

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which is appeared in the EJ this month (this is the final installment). The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

Categories: Youth
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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#3)

Tuesday November 22, 2011

July 10: Sunday the dojang is closed so I went to Myongi with Om, an 18-year-old Thai player who has been there for a year. We went by subway and bus. The public transportation in Korea is quite complicated, and we had to transfer subways and buses a couple of times. When we arrived at Myongi we met with Om’s friend and we visited the Inseidong, the Korean Go Club. It fascinates me that there seem to be no weak players to be found in Korea. The club was filled with people 7-dan or stronger and there was a pro tournament on the third floor of the building. After visiting the Inseidong and shopping at Myongi we went to the cinema to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Photo (right): Very clean subway!

July 11: Today at the dojang, school founder Lee Sedol 9P came to teach the inseis. He seemed to be very calm and modest. He went over all of the inseis’ games and I  watched the review. I was shocked to see that Lee Sedol was able to play out a whole game after just seeing the board a few times as he went around the room. I got him to sign my fan during lunch, which he did with a smile and nod. On a side note I won all but one of my games against Kang Chang Hyo, the top player in the 10th division. I was put in the lowest league which has 2 dans to 4 dans, but through intense concentrated study for a week I went on a winning streak and was able to end up seco2nd in the league.
Photo (left): A day at the dojang

July 14: Today was a pretty good day. I won two games against people in higher leagues. One’s name was Pakchan and I don’t remember the other’s name, but they are both significantly stronger that the people in my league. Even though I was able to beat them, the headmaster wouldn’t move me up because of my losing streak in the first two days which brought down my record. I memorized another three pro games today, all played by Lee Sedol. I find his games a challenge to go over because he tenukis and plays aggressively all over the board. It takes a lot of thought to follow.

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which is appearing in the EJ this month. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

Categories: Youth
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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#2)

Monday November 14, 2011

July 8: Today, I woke up, got ready and went to the dojang a little early. I’ve started changing my style from the traditional peaceful play found frequently in the States to the somewhat reckless fighting style of the Koreans. I think it’s the best way to improve because it forces you to read further. I have also found that life and death problems are a huge part of Korean go because they come up so often in their games. Today I memorized a pro game on the recommendation of the headmaster. He says it’s not enough to go over a pro game; you have to memorize it in order to get a solid feel of the best move on intuition. I find pro games to be much more helpful now because when you memorize them you understand why professionals make each of their moves. It’s easy to gain two stones in strength by putting a purpose in each stone you play. Oh it’s  a good night because I won all my games today!
Photo (right): Dinner at the dormitory

July 9: Today is Saturday, which is kind of like a break day at the dojang. Everyone participates in a team tournament. On my team was Yu Minh and Masakito, a 7 year-old student from Japan. Both of them are 9d and aspiring professionals. I felt out of place and was given handicaps against the other players. I played a 9d insei with 6 stones and won. The next game I played with another 9d insei with 6 stones and won again. Our team won the tournament, but I knew I didn’t deserve to win because they were much stronger than me.
photo (left): Win some, lose some

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which is appearing in the EJ this month. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

Categories: Youth
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AGF Scholarship Applications Due Nov. 20

Monday November 14, 2011

Applications  for the American Go Foundation(AGF) college scholarship are due November 20th. The program recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the go community. To apply, download and complete the application form here. Applicants should describe their accomplishments and volunteer work in a short essay. Read about this year’s winners, Jasmine Yan and D’Mitri Moore here.

 

Sempais Leading the Way in WV

Sunday November 13, 2011

“In Glen Dale, West Virginia, an unlikely new program has attained a huge following at John Marshall High School: Go Club.  With a membership of nearly 100 students, the club has grown by massive leaps and bounds in a way that no one thought possible. Go Club started two years ago with a handful of students in my study hall,” writes school teacher David Will.  “I had brought a board and a book of go problems with me to study hall one day to give me something to do while my students worked on homework.  Three students approached my desk and inquired about the game, something that they had never seen before.  Two of those students would go on to important roles in the club. In years past, I have always taken two or three days to teach the basics of go to my World History classes to close the chapter on ancient Chinese history.  For the rest of the year, many of the students would play the game, but it had not gone beyond a diversion for after the completion of worksheets and tests.  Now, I had an interesting opportunity.  These students and I played go daily for months, honing their skills to where they were competition for me, and one even finally defeated me. Continue reading…)

AGF College Scholarship Apps Due

Thursday November 10, 2011

Applications are now being accepted for the American Go Foundation(AGF) college scholarship.The program recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the go community . To apply, download and complete the application form here. Applicants should describe their accomplishments and volunteer work in a short essay.  The deadline for applicants is November 20th. Letters of recommendation may also be included. Applicants whose enthusiasm and ambition have helped spread go in under-served areas will be given special consideration. Strong players who spend much of their time voluntarily teaching will also be considered, although the award focuses on promoters and organizers who have made substantial contributions during their go career.  To read about former winners, check out Sensei #6.
- EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon

Categories: Youth
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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#1)

Sunday November 6, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which will appear over the next few weeks. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

July 5: Today is my first day of Go School. This is a very weird experience. I can’t understand anything that other people are saying, but somehow I feel like I have learned a lot about go today. The Koreans are very strong and I like the general Korean style that most people play. They like thickness very much and they like to fight aggressively. It amazes me how dedicated these kids are to go. Every day they have formal go study for 12 hours and then when they get back ome they study until 11PM when they go to sleep. Most of the people here my age are 9-dan and are aspiring professionals. It surprises me the gap in skill between a 9-dan and a 1-dan professional. There are even some 9-dans that aren’t inseis because they are weaker than the other 9-dans. There are many 9-dans who are very strong, but only a few become professional every year. A bit of food for thought is that these kids are able to give their all just for a small chance of becoming a  professional. They seem to live in a closed world of go. If they have free time they study go and they eat while they look at top go player’s statistics for “fun.” I lost all my games today even though I am playing with their very young students.

July 6: I woke up today with a terrible backache from sleeping on the floor. There are about 20 kids who are all exceptional at go staying in the headmaster’s apartment. They are all 3-dan and higher. Though most of them are 9-dans, the lowest-ranked out of the Koreans is a little kid I think about 6 who is a solid 3-dan. I have started to specialize my study in Korean Go to hangmae, a Korean technique which means the flow of stones. I find it to be somewhat similar to tesuji which applies many odd fighting shapes. It really helps with fighting and simplifies reading because hangmae acts as a bookmark leading to a favorable result. Today I lost all my games as well. It‘s a bit frustrating to lose all your games to little kids. To be continued next week…
Photo: Headmaster playing a serious go game with a student.

Categories: World,Youth
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October 30 Registration Deadline for World Student GO OZA

Friday October 28, 2011

Deadline for registering for the 10th World Student’s GO OZA Championship is this Sunday, October 30. The Student’s Oza takes place in Tokyo, Japan February 27 to March 2. Founded in 2003, the tournament is for students throughout the world, and is organized by students. University/college students under the age of 30 can participate in the preliminary rounds on Pandanet, which start on November 6. Click here to register “It was an exciting event and an enjoyable trip,” says Yue Zhang 7D from Ohio, who played in the 9th World Student’s GO OZA Championship. Click here for results  from the last event. The championship is organized and sponsored by the All-Japan Students GO Association, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Pandanet and the Nihon Ki-in.

Categories: World,Youth
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Rockville Kids Discover Go

Monday October 24, 2011

Two classrooms of kids at Luxmanor Elementary School, in Rockville MD, were recently introduced to go by Edward Zhang 6d, and Justin Teng 4d. Teng, who is 15, created the project for his Eagle Scout Badge (the highest rank possible in the Boy Scouts). As the program is about leadership, Teng himself wasn’t allowed to teach directly, but he organized the demonstration, found a volunteer to teach, secured support from the Greater Washington Go Club, and oversaw all aspects of the program. “The kids walked excitedly into the classroom,” Teng told the Journal, “gazing at the mysterious objects on their desks. Some of them immediately shouted, ‘Oh! I know this game! Chinese Checkers!’ After everyone sat down and calmed down, Zhang began by showing the class a short video, and then spoke briefly about the game internationally, before moving onto basic rules such as liberties and capturing stones. Afterwards, we let the kids play Capture Go for 15 minutes. Walking around the classroom, I could immediately see that some kids picked up the game faster than others. One kid caught my eye in particular: he seemed to be that troublemaker in every class that wouldn’t go more than a few minutes without making some noise or getting out of his seat. However, when I watched him play, he immediately understood everything perfectly as he soundly trounced his opponent sitting across from him. I walked around the room a little more and saw that some kids didn’t realize that stones were taken off the board when captured, and thus there would be a mass of ‘captured’ stones on the board. To these games I declared a tie, much to the kids’ excitement as they hurriedly played another game. 30 minutes into the demo, Zhang paused the class and went over the concept of territory. The kids then played a modified version of 9×9 where each player had three stones in a third-line sanrensei formation. Most kids simply made a wall with their three stones to surround what they already had naturally surrounded on the edge, while others made a big mess filling in their own territories. Some even decided to just continue playing Capture Go as they understood that better. Whatever the case, everyone seemed to be having fun. Near the end of the demo, Edward introduced the students to the AGA website and places they could go to for learning more about go. I also offered them a copy of the Way to Go booklet, an AGA starter CD, and a 9×9 cardboard set that they could take home with them. While I didn’t have enough to give to every kid, almost every kid wanted one, which was enough to clear out pretty much exactly what I had prepared. In the near future I plan to jump start a club at the school and maybe even teach in it,” said Teng. “All of the equipment came from the AGF and was donated by the Greater Washington Go Club, it will stay at the school for use in the club,” notes Teng. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Justin Teng.