American Go E-Journal » U.S./North America

Portland School Programs a Hit

Monday October 21, 2013

“In the past few weeks we have started our chess/go clubs at Beverly Clearly, Irvington, and Grant High,” writes Portland, OR, go teacher Peter Freedman. “Fritz [Balwit] and I are teaching at Irvington and we have 33 children.  8 have never played go before, the rest have been in the club in past years.  They range from 2nd to 6th grades. I am also teaching go at Beverly Cleary, where the chess club coach has agreed to change his club to a chess and go club.  We had 13 children at our first meeting and expect more to attend in the future. One child has had some exposure to go previously. The initial response by these chess-playing children is very positive,” adds Freedman. The chess and go program at Grant High, taught with Balwit, is also off to a good start.  “So far there are about 10-12 students coming, some of whom have played go before.  We expect the club to grow, one of the Japanese language teachers has 180 students, and has invited me to present to her classes.”  The busy Portland organizers also have programs or demos scheduled for three other local schools as well, and plan to create go teams and school matches once all the schools get rolling. “We’ve bought t-shirts for all 33 kids in the Irvington program, at a cost of less than $10 per shirt.  Since parents pay $150 a year for the weekly, one hour club, we have raised enough money to support this,” adds Freedman. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Peter Freedman: Ansel Wallace (l), a member of the Irvington Chess and Go club, in his new club t-shirt. 

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AGF College Scholarships due Nov. 20th

Monday October 21, 2013

The deadline for the American Go Foundation’s College Scholarship is just one month away. The program  recognizes high school students who have served as important organizers and promoters for the go community.  Read about last year’s winner here, and former winners here.  For more information, and the application form, visit the AGF Website- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. 

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Chris Martin Wins First Louisville Tournament

Sunday October 20, 2013

Ten players showed for the Louisville Go Club’s first annual tournament on October 19 in Louisville, KY, including some players from the Cincinnati Go Club. An undefeated Chris Martin 4k (3-0, on right) took first place with Taylor Perkinson 6k (2-1 on left) in second.
- report by Asha Nagaiya

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Capture Go: Gateway or Standalone?

Sunday October 20, 2013

Is Capture Go merely a stepping stone to traditional go, or can it stand on its own as a viable game? In Memphis, two go players and teachers are working hard to answer that question.

The simplified rule set that master teacher Yasuda Yasutoshi 8P describes in his book Go As Communication has been used in hundreds of schools, after-school programs and libraries. Go players who teach Capture Go often hope to quickly move their pupils along to traditional go but Jay Jayaraman 9K and Graham Smart 9K wondered what would happen if a whole program focused just on Capture Go. They’re working with the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM) where they’re teaching Capture Go to Chinese language instructors from CIUM-affiliated after-school programs in the Memphis area, who in turn will introduce hundreds of primary school students to the game this year. The program is currently active in 12 Shelby County elementary schools and will be adding more schools throughout the year, reaching an estimated 40-50 students per program. Jayaraman and Smart also plan to start Capture Go programs in middle and high schools in the area.

“We are not trying to teach go,” Jayaraman, the director of CIUM’s after-school programs told the EJ. “We are presenting 9×9 Capture Go strictly on its own merits, not as a ‘gateway game.’ We call the game we teach go, not Capture Go, so that children who become interested in the long-form game don’t have issues with transition. We hope that even students who don’t enjoy traditional go will have a little fun with Capture Go.” All students, not just winners, can earn Pokémon-style badges (created by Smart) to reward merit, encourage competition and create a sports-like atmosphere. Players will get badges for reaching certain goals, such as completing a certain number of games or playing at least one game with every other player.

The curriculum involves ten two-hour classes, presented as part of CIUM’s Chinese language and history program in partner schools. The American Go Foundation has provided 80 full size sets of stones and more than 200 9×9 boards so far, and Viz Media has granted permission to use Hikaru no Go anime and manga freely as part of their curriculum. Smart is also creating a series of introductory videos for use in the curriculum. The rule set is designed to be completely simple and solvable on the board. However, since the instructors are also new to the game, the organizers will serve as “experts on call” when the classes are taking place. Any instructor can send them a question, along with a picture of the board position if needed, and receive an immediate answer.

Jayaraman discovered the potential of Capture Go as a standalone game last summer when he served as the lead go instructor for CIUM’s K-12 Chinese Summer Immersion Camp. With 20 students ranging from five to eleven years old, he worried about losing them if the game seemed too complex, so he focused on Capture Go after discovering Let’s Play Go, Yasuda’s elegant yet simplified introduction to the game. Jayaraman and local player Wade Humbert “described Yasuda’s ‘Capture Go’ method and hoped for the best,” says Jayaraman. “To see a room full of children playing within thirty minutes of first hearing about the game was quite a treat.  We set up daily classes, drawing upon the Freedman-Balwit curriculum available through the ‘Methods and Materials’ page on the AGA’s Teacher Resources site. To our surprise, only a handful of children showed any interest in advancing to traditional go, but they were all incredibly enthusiastic about Capture Go. Campers were actually excited about their homework! We held a tournament on the last day and combined homework scores with results to find the top finishers. Prizes included copies of Hikaru No Go and full size playing sets. It was a joy to watch their enthusiasm and progress.” Positive feedback from parents encouraged CIUM and the Memphis schools to expand the program into the school year. The Memphis program has four goals: reach the largest possible audience; re-envision go and Capture Go as team sports; engage parents, teachers and other stakeholders; strengthen ties with Confucius Institutes nationwide.

Jayaraman thinks one reason go more popular  is that the go community has followed the top-down, expert-oriented teaching approach that has worked so well for chess. Unlike chess, however, go experts are few and far between. In addition, programs such as the middle school chess team seen in the recent documentary Brooklyn Castle have high infrastructure costs and are difficult to maintain. Chess-In-the-Schools spends millions of dollars teaching chess in New York City alone.

“There’s another pitfall in expert-based teaching methods,” Jayaraman believes. “Skilled go players often flood beginners with complexity, leaving them feeling hopelessly lost. But Capture Go is easy for anyone to learn. In our model, non-playing teachers and after-school staff receive basic instruction and then learn along with their students. Yasuda sensei never meant for Capture Go to be an introductory tool to regular go. The original program was designed to foster interaction using Capture Go as a great equalizer. Like him, we want to use Capture Go as a standalone vehicle for promoting the ‘four C’s’ — critical thinking, cooperation, competition and communication.”
- Roy Laird 

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AGA Announces Online Pro Prelim for November

Saturday October 19, 2013

The online prelim for the American Go Association’s 2013 professional selection process will take place on KGS in November, the AGA Pro System Committee announced earlier this week. The event is open to US and Canadian citizens who meet a minimal residency requirement and have either an AGA rating or stable KGS rank of 5d or higher. Competitors should also be members of AGA or CGA.   The tournament will take place November 9, 10, 16 and 17 in the AGA Tournaments Room on KGS.  The winner will be invited to participate in the pro selection tournament in Los Angeles Jan. 2-8 2014, receiving an $800 travel subsidy.  Players can register for the tournament here. Upon registration players should also submit a copy of their US or Canadian passport. The residency requirement is that players have lived in the US or Canada for at least three of the last six years or else obtain a waiver from the AGA president based on their time overseas being temporary and for the purpose of education, go study or an overseas posting.  For questions about the tournament contact Karoline Burrall Li at tournaments@usgo.org. For questions about pro selection or the residency requirement contact AGA President Andy Okun at president@usgo.org.

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E-Journal Website Team Members Sought

Saturday October 19, 2013

Want to help build the global go community? The American Go E-Journal team is expanding, and has a few immediate openings for dedicated, talented volunteers who want to help maintain and expand the American Go Association’s online presence and better serve the global go community. PHP/Drupal/Database/Linux SysAdmin experience helpful but also looking for writers and editors to keep web content fresh and up to date. For more details email journal@usgo.org

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Go Photo: Go at Omaha’s Japan Festival

Tuesday October 15, 2013

At the Japan Festival at the Lauritzen Gardens, in Omaha, NE, October 5-6. “We handed out 96 flyers and some business cards, too,” says James Story. “I’ve had two adults call me about go this week, so far. Hopefully, this will help start some Scholastic Go Clubs, too! We had a number of kids come and learn and play and two adult women learn and play each other for a few games. It was really fun.” photo courtesy James Story

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Young Lions Tournament November 16-17

Monday October 14, 2013

“Join us for another year of exciting competition for glory and pride,” says American Go Honor Society (AGHS) Promotion Head Yunxuan Li 6d. The 2013 Young Lions tournament will be held November 16th and 17th on KGS. “The Young Lions is one of the biggest youth go competitions in America, and is usually a good indicator of how top players will perform in major tournaments for the rest of the year,” said Li. 2010 winner Vincent Zhuang 6d went on to win the US Youth Championships after his Young Lions win. Yunxuan Li himself won in both 2011 and 2012, and then won the 2012 Rocky Mountain NAIM qualifier, and also represented America at the 2013 Samsung World Baduk Masters Championship. “Who will be the leader of the pack this year? Who will be the victor of the 2013 battle? The answer shall soon be determined!” says Li. Players under the age of 19 can sign up now, through the AGHS website. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

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AGA Treasurer Address Change

Monday October 14, 2013

Tournament organizers should note that the mailing address for the AGA Treasurer has changed. If you are submitting paper membership forms and checks, please use this address: Treasurer, American GO Association, PO Box 231225, Tigard, OR 97281-1225.
New membership forms with the new address have been sent to the Webmaster to be posted on the AGA site. “If you have a stash of old forms, I would recommend flipping them over and printing the new forms on the reverse, then drawing an X over the old side,” says AGA Treasurer Roy Schmidt. “Sending forms and checks to the Peoria address will cause a delay in processing as the forms will be forwarded periodically to the new address.”

 

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KGS Meijin October Qualifier This Weekend

Friday October 11, 2013

Registration is still open for this weekend’s KGS 2013 Meijin tournament qualifier, the last one for the 2013 season. The single-elimination qualifier will be held on October 12-13, in American daytime schedule. Round 1 starts at 1p EDT/10a PDT. In this tenth qualifier, the winner will become a contender for the finals which will start in November. The runner-up may also become a contender if there are six or more rounds in the Qualifier. The final KGS Meijin winner will receive a minimum cash prize of $500 and a special Meijin icon. Click here for details and to register.

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