Students from Andrew Jackson Language Academy(AJLA), in Chicago, just finished their first go tournament for kids in the Chinese program, reports organizer Xinming Simon Guo. “Students first played with opponents in the same grade, and then the winners in each grade competed for the school championship, which was won by Winston from, the 7th grade,” said Guo. A year ago, few students at AJLA had ever heard of go (weiqi in Chinese). “We started to introduce this game to our students in March of 2014. The kids loved this game. I still remember that they were chanting ‘Weiqi Weiqi’ while waiting outside of the classroom after the first lesson”, said Christina Xu, the Chinese language teacher at the school, who also ran the tournament.
The weiqi class is part of the Chinese Artists-In-Residency Program, co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute in Chicago and Guo’s own GoAndMath Academy. “We support teachers in integrating weiqi into language teaching classrooms,” says Guo, “participating and learning are more important than winning. Weiqi is also an innovative tool for teaching elementary math. Our research shows that there exists a natural connection between weiqi and the Common Core State Standards of math. During the game, students experience numerous math concepts without even noticing them.” The school is considering bringing more weiqi classes to the students, and planning to organize a 2nd weiqi tournament next year. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Semi-final between 4th and 5th graders at AJLA; photo by Christina Xu