American Go E-Journal » Youth

Seminar on Strategy Games at Cambridge Not Child’s Play

Wednesday October 19, 2016


IMG_20161002_113336An international seminar on strategy games was held at Cambridge University, England, on October 1st and 2nd. Organized by ChessPlus, and co-sponsored by Google’s Deepmind, the event drew about 40 teachers from 15 countries, who shared their expertise on teaching go, chess and other games in schools. The first day began with a compelling presentation from Dr. Barry Hymer, Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Cumbria, in Lancaster. Hymer provided a brief introduction to mindset theory, and what it does and doesn’t say about achievement as it relates to strategy games. He contrasted two different mindsets: fixed vs. growth. Those with the former believe intelligence is a fixed trait that can’t be changed, while those with the latter believe intelligence is cultivated through learning. Dr. Hymer’s chart (below, at right) shows how these mindsets play out. All of us exhibit some of both types of mindsets at times, and in different areas.

Hymer also expounded on some mindset myths, which included the belief that natural ability and talent don’t exist, or that they don’t matter, and that hard work guarantees ultimate success. Instead, multiple factors come into play to create success, including what Hymer calls metacognitive strategies (how we think about thinking). Hymer noted Gary Kasparov, from the chess world, felt the same way: “It’s not enough to work hard and study late into the night. You must also become intimately aware of the methods you use to reach your decisions.” In a later presentation, Hymer discussed some educational studies with a few surprising results, including that praising students does not lead to any greater level of excellence or even motivation. Negative feedback also does not help.Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.31.47 PM Instead, Hymer advocates engaged, attentive, and non-judgmental feedback, which he said helps create self-motivated students who then cultivate the love of learning for themselves. These types of students outperform all other categories by as much as 30%, said Hymer. An example of this from the go community would be the kinds of questions one asks in a teaching game: “What were you hoping to achieve when you went here? How do you think your opponent might respond? Were there other places you thought of playing, and why?” Getting a student to think about how they reached their decisions is key to creating autonomous learners in Hymer’s approach.

Hymer’s presentation was followed by an equally engaging one from Jorge Nuno Silva, of the University of Lisbon (Portugal). Professor Silva gave a lecture on the intellectual history of games in education. Drawing on games from across the centuries (most now completely forgotten) Silva illustrated how and why games are important to learning. Along the way he fascinated the audience with stories of strange and interesting games, including Rythmomachia: ”Invented as a pedagogical game, to help the teaching of Arithmetic, in the 11th century. Even the setup of the pieces on the board was an important experience. It was popular everywhere where Boethius’ Arithmetic was taught. It vanished, naturally, in the 17th century, as mathematics developed in a different way. Chess then took over.”jorge

The seminar continued with presentations from teachers and specialists from all over the world. Daniela Trinks of Myongji University in Korea spoke on the didactics of go, and Stefan Löffler spoke on the didactics of chess. Mads Jacobsen, from Denmark, spoke about the extraordinary success of chess programs in his country, where 30% of all schools have chess as a scheduled activity. Toby Manning of the British Go Association, and Paul Barchilon of the American Go Foundation both spoke on efforts to introduce go to more schools in their respective countries. “The beautiful rooms of Cambridge University provided a wonderful environment for these two days of learning, teaching, discussing, inspiration and forming cooperations,” said Daniela Trinks. “The success of this seminar proves once more that chess and go teachers shouldn’t see each other as rivals but as colleagues who have a lot in common. By sharing our experiences we can learn from each other, improve teaching praxis and develop more successful educational programs at schools in the future.”

The main organizers were John Foley, Stefan Löffler, Rita Atkins and John Upham from Chessplus. The seminar was sponsored by DeepMind, and supported by the British Go Association, the European Go Federation, the European Go Cultural Centre, the American Go Foundation and the UK Backgammon Federation. An online documentation of the seminar, including videos, photos and presentation files is planned. Interested readers can see the program, and associated slideshows, for all segments highlighted in blue on this page. -Story and photos by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Top: Seminar participants take a break on the lawn at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge;  Lower right: Slide from Dr. Barry Hymer’s presentation; Lower left: Professor Jorge Nuno Silva shows the board for Rythmomachia.


Chiang Tops Sunflower Happy Cup

Monday October 10, 2016

IMG_099612th-grader Anthony Chiang 6d topped the Ninth Sunflower Happy Cup Youth Go Tournament, with all three wins, on Sep 26 in Cupertino, California. “Forty-three kids from 5 to 17 gathered together on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and played three to five rounds of 13×13 and 19×19 games,” reports Yanping Zhao, who co-organized the event with Wenguang Wang.  Players earned prize tickets after each round, and then used them to exchange various fancy prizes. “It was our way to ensure a really fun experience for every kid,” reports Zhao.  Each participant was also rewarded with a trophy and at the event’s conclusion, all the kids and their parents enjoyed a refreshing ice cream party.  - Report by Wenguang Wang; photo by Yu Hsiu Chiou: A young contestant studies the board earnestly.

Student Oza registration closes in one week

Saturday October 8, 2016

The 15th World Students Go Oza Championship is now open for registration. The main tournament will be held in Tokyo from Feb 20 to 24, 2017. An online preliminary round on Pandanet will be held to select the 16 students.  Details here; the entry form can be filled out online.
University/College students under the age of 30 may participate in the preliminary round, including graduate students. The application deadline is Oct 17. Note that students living in China, Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei may not participate in the online preliminary round.
Categories: Youth

Chicago Schools Learn Art of Go

Thursday September 22, 2016

12742712_913577522095202_7328750880063231338_n“About 3000 students in the Chicago Public Schools, and another 2,500 students from suburban districts,  learned weiqi (go) during the last school year,” reports Xinming Simon Guo, 2015 AGF Teacher of the Year and founder of Go and Math Academy in Illinois. “Weiqi is not only an educational manipulative in the math classroom, but also a new way to extend the horizon of students in the language classroom,” adds Guo. September 17th was an Artist In Residence workshop day for Chinese language teachers in the Chicago schools.  “We organize this annual workshop at the beginning of every new school year, to bring culture into Chinese language classrooms, and enhance language teaching and learning, ” says Jane Lu, director of the Confucius Institute in Chicago and the coordinator of the CPS Chinese World Language Program. Local artists are invited to present and demonstrate different types of Chinese cultural activities, including Kung Fu, Chinese folk dancing, Chinese painting, paper cutting, and weiqi. Teachers in the workshop can apply to introduce these cultural and art activities to their classrooms if they want to. “Weiqi has been the most popular project among Chinese teachers in Chicago Public Schools since its debut in 2013,” says Guo, “during the last three years, about half of the Chinese teachers have chosen weiqi for their students. After the latest workshop, several new teachers also showed great interest and planned to apply for more classroom instruction.” -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor Photo by Xinming Simon Guo: students in Arlington Heights learn go.





Registration opens for World Students Go Oza Championship prelim

Tuesday September 20, 2016

An online preliminary round will be held on Pandanet to select the 16 students who will participate in the 15th World 2016.09.20_14th-student-ozaStudents Go Oza Championship February 20-24, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan to decide the world’s number one student player.
Click here for details and here for the entry form.

University or college students under the age of 30 can participate in the preliminary round, although students living in China, Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei cannot participate in the online preliminary round. The application deadline is Oct 17. For further information, email or the All-Japan Students GO Association at

photos: at the 14th World Students Go Oza

Categories: Japan,Youth

AGHS Applicants Wanted

Friday September 16, 2016

aghs logoThe American Go Honor Society (AGHS) is looking for volunteers. “For all you high school students out there: Are you looking for ways to promote go?” asks new Co-President Brandon Ho. “The AGHS is still looking for applicants, and you’re free to join. The AGHS runs youth tournaments like the School Team Tournament and Young Lions, and by joining, you can help us run them.” Fill out the application here 2016AGHSOfficerApp (3) and email it to Applications are due by September 19 and officers will be selected by September 26.



Correction: Kim Broke WYGC Record in 1985

Thursday August 25, 2016

2012.04.27_janicekim-2008-10-sf“Congratulations to Aaron Ye on the WYGC (EJ 8-13)” writes eagle-eyed reader Keith Arnold, “he may be the first to finish third, but he is not the first to finish in the top three. Janice Kim took second place in the World Youth Championship in 1985.” Arnold also noted that Bellamy Liu tied for third place back in 1995, and that several contestants besides Calvin Sun had also placed fourth in the past.  “Keith, repository of go lore, is correct in all things,” responded Janice Kim 3p when asked for comment, “I myself wasn’t sure if he had the year right, so I had to go look at the trophy. The year before (’84) I came in 9th, interestingly, my recollection is that Lee Chang-ho 9 dan came in 3rd, and Ryu Shi-hoon 9 dan came in 4th (he was a Korean insei who went to Japan and even won a title there). Kim Young-hwan (not sure what dan he is now) won. The next year when I came in second, Kong Byung-ju (again, not sure what dan he is now) won. The Korean insei system got started around 1980-81, and that first cohort was a POWERHOUSE, headed by Yoo Chang-hyuk 9 dan, the oldest of us. I think I was riding the wave of that team, and see sometime soon something similar for young US go players. I should note that I was studying in Korea, but representing the US, and in those early days the insei system in Korea wasn’t really formalized.”

“To be an insei (or ‘wonsaeng’ in Korean) back then you just kind of had to show up and ‘represent yourself,’ as one might say,” Kim continues. “When Kong Byung-ju came to Seoul, one of the older pros had him take 2 stones against Yu Chang-hyuk, who had already been granted professional 1 dan status for coming in 2nd in the World Amateur Championships a bit earlier. I think Yu was 18, making him one of the oldest of us, he was pretty strong already, in just a couple of years he was challenging Cho Hoon-hyun 9 dan in title matches. That strong younger generation coming in with the lower dan ranks, was one of the reasons why Korean low-dans were globally feared back then.”

“I remember distinctly when Yu was playing this 2-stone evaluation game with Kong, they went to just the early middle game, and then Yu Chang-hyuk said “Andennundayo,” basically, it’s not happening, I can’t give him two stones. That was enough to put Kong Byung-ju at wonsaeng 3 kyu or ‘gup’, in A League. The games that A Leaguers or lower-dan pros played in the wonsaeng study room were fascinating to watch, they were all even, and I remember once a huge, complex capturing race with big eyes, where one side had over 20 liberties, the other, one less, although I wasn’t able to see that before the resignation came. I could not believe my own eyes that a player short a liberty so far down a twisting path would resign at that point, certain of defeat. It’s informed my go sensibilities to this day what it means to be truly strong, although many people would look only at the loss.”

“When Kong and I played in the final at the World Youth, I think I believed I could win, but maybe subconsciously didn’t, I used to watch everyone’s games and wonder inside if I could possibly be playing at that level. Afterwards we went to the top of the hotel we were staying at in Taipei, and tried to drink the beer they had given us at the banquet out of our trophies. I have never cared for beer though, even under such circumstances, so we ended up just singing instead.”

-Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor


Ye Breaks Through in WYGC

Saturday August 13, 2016

IMG_7137Aaron Ye 7d has finally broken the glass ceiling at the World Youth Goe Championships (WYGC) by becoming the first American player to place in the top three at the event.   Now in its 33rd year, the event has been run by the Ing Foundation for decades, and invites strong youth from all over the world to compete. Ye first attended the event in 2011, competing in the Jr. Division when he was just nine years old, and placing fourth overall.  Calvin Sun, now 1P, also competed in the event for years as a child, and had also placed fourth when he was 13 (on his sixth attempt).  China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan have shut everyone else out until this year, when Ye’s determination and effort finally paid off.  Now 14, Ye has been at the top of the US youth go scene for years, winning the Redmond Cup several times, and putting up a strong fight in the AGA pro certification leagues, as well as dominating other youth events and leading in many AGA tournaments.

The WYGC was held August 4th-7th in Tokyo this year, at the Nihon Kiin.  Ye reached the semi-finals by edging out Takei Taishen 7D of Japan by a hairs-breadth 3rd tier tie breaker (SOSODOS). After losing to the tournament’s champion Jiang Qirun 2P of China, Ye went on to take 3rd place by defeating Ahn Dongjun  5D of Korea. The USA junior player, nine-year-old Matthew Cheng 2d faced a tough choice this year, as he also won the Redmond Cup qualifiers and could have had a free trip to the US Go Congress to compete at the finals. Unfortunately, the WYGC and the Congress were both held the same week this year, so Cheng had to choose one over the other. Cheng did well at the WYGC though, “placing 7th in an outstanding performance by a player who learned go from a you-tube video a scant three years ago,” said Team Leader Mike Bull. Cheng also managed to draw matches with three of the four strongest players in his division in his first three games of the tournament. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor, with Mike Bull. Photo by Abby Zhang: Ahn Dongjun 5d (l) vs. Aaron Ye 7d (r).


Ye and Ho Named AGHS Presidents; Officer Applications Now Open

Friday August 12, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.04.23 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.04.42 PMApril Ye and Brandon Ho have been named the new American Go Honor Society (AGHS) presidents for the upcoming 2016-2017 year. The AGHS is a youth organization that runs K-12 tournaments such as the competitive Young Lions Tournament and the School Team Tournament every year. Are you a high school student that wants to promote go? Apply now to be an AGHS officer for the 2016-2017 year. Fill out the application here 2016AGHSOfficerApp (3) and email it to Applications are due by September 19 and officers will be selected by September 26. - Yunxuan Li, AGHS President. Photos: April Ye at left, Brandon Ho at right.


Chiu Defeats Yen to Clinch Redmond Cup Senior Title

Sunday August 7, 2016

2016 Redmond Cup Senior FinalsJeremy Chiu 6d  won the final game in the Redmond Cup at the US Go Congress Thursday, taking the Senior Division title from defending champion, 16-year old Albert Yen 7d, with a final score of 2-1. Chiu and Yen had developed quite a rivalry over the course of this Congress, meeting not only in the Redmond Cup Finals, but also in the Die Hard Tournament and the Youth Team Tournament, where Albert was victorious. However, Chiu was determined to take his first Redmond Cup Title after the series was tied up by Yen on Tuesday. Taking black in the 3rd game, Chiu was able to parry against Yen’s attacks while building a gigantic moyo. While Yen was able to create a group inside the moyo, Chiu was able to create enough territory while attacking it to emerge victorious. All of the games were broadcast on KGS while former champions Gansheng Shi 1p and Hugh Zhang 7d provided commentary on the AGA’s Youtube Channel, which can be found here. Chiu and Yen will take home $300 and $200 in prize money respectively as well as trophies, and also earned free trips to the US Go Congress by becoming finalists through an online preliminary tournament. Information about next year’s Redmond Cup will be released in early 2017; eligibility requirements can be found here. -EJ Special Report by Justin Teng, photo: Albert Yen 7d (l) vs Jermy Chiu (r).