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Twin Cities Go Participates in “Passage to China”

Thursday April 10, 2014

Members of the Twin Cities Go Club last weekend participated in Passage to China, an annual event celebrating Chinese culture. Held at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, and sponsored by the Chinese Heritage Foundation, this event welcomes visitors to experience Chinese dance, music, arts, and crafts.

This is the fourth year the Twin Cities Go Club has participated in the event, hosting a table at which attendees can learn the basics of go, or weiqi, as it is known in China, where the game originated. “Typically, we teach how to surround and capture stones, and then encourage visitors to play a game of capture go,” reports local organizer Aaron Broege. “We also are pleased to play more experienced players in a game of go on the 19×19 board. We have the pleasure of teaching individuals from small children to adults, and most people seem to catch on to the basics quickly. We find that this is great exposure for the game and for the club. Many people seem genuinely interested in finding out more about where to purchase a board and stones, and we have also had people attend our club meetings as a result of seeing us at Passage to China.”

The annual event “has been a great experience for us,” Broege adds, “and opened up some additional outreach opportunities. Last year at this event we connected with the group ‘Families with Children from Asia’ and this past fall we had the opportunity to work with that group at one of their own events near the Twin Cities. This year we met other individuals who would like us to teach go at this year’s Dragon Festival to be held in St. Paul. From exposure through this event, we have found inroads into other outreach opportunities and we are very enthusiastic of the positive effect this will have on the Twin Cities go community.”
photos: (top right): Agnes Rzepecki teaches basic life and death to a particularly curious new student of go. This young individual learned capture go and then insisted on learning the “real game,” and stayed around to play multiple handicap games with us on the 9×9; (bottom left): Yanqing Sun plays a game with a young boy. photos by Aaron Broege

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Go Quiz: Who Pulled Off the “Miraculous Upset”?

Friday April 4, 2014

Last week’s quiz: Before turning to the poll results, here’s my personal all-time favorite go reference. This Camel ad from the late 1970s should have worked.  It was certainly popular, often featured on the back covers of numerous magazines. While not the best board, the bowls are nice, the board position reasonable, the decor splendid and our hero dutifully takes black against the master – top marks.  And for coolness it hits the all-time high. I mean, he has a piercing gaze, cool mustache, is at home in a world few men ever see and women bring him drinks.  Unfortunately, it only got more folks addicted to smoking, and not go.

I found all of your responses interesting, from the mysterious “Love and Go” by Wando Wende (on which I could not find any information) to the intriguing – and new to me — French cartoon “Code: Lyoko”, which certainly looks interesting and features the characters playing the game and discussing it, reports Alison Fotness.  Brian Kirby offers “PopCo”, a novel that features go prominently. Others chose brief references in “Tron: Legacy” and “Da Vinci’s Demons” while I was surprised no one chose “Star Trek” appearances or the cool background ambiance appearance in “24″.  It was great to hear from old friend David Erbach, editor of the early journal “Computer Go,” who suggested Henry Kissinger for featuring go in one of his books.  Ramon Mercado came up with the interesting choice of “ATARI”  the computer game company.  Full marks go to Drew Chuppe for selecting the film “Heaven Knows Mr. Allison”.  This World War II drama features Robert Mitchum as a soldier stranded on a Japanese-occupied island.  While breaking in to a store-room for food, he tensely hides while two soldiers play a couple of games.  A popular film, an accurate depiction as well as a wonderful use of the game as part of a suspenseful part of the plot makes this perhaps the greatest western film reference, but at the time, as an obscure game played by the “enemy”, it failed to gain go much popularity here.  Finally, Michael Goerss intrigued me with his spotting of go in Martin Sheen’s hotel room in “Apocalypse Now” but I must confess, I do not see it.

Tenuki-ing to those chosen by more than one of you, the films “A Beautiful Mind” and “Pi” garnered two votes each.  I must say I was expecting “A Beautiful Mind” to be the winner.  The Best Picture Oscar winner certainly wins the popular honors, and many folks got interested in go as a result, but the go scenes are less than convincing and minor.  Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi” does a better job and go is more central to the plot, thanks no doubt in part to credited guidance by “Go Advisors” including former AGA President Barbara Calhoun, Michael Solomon and the late Don Wiener (misspelled in the credits as “Dan”).  Sadly, this first effort by the director of many critically acclaimed films was not widely seen.  Your quizmaster will have to go along with the choice of 6 of you: “Shibumi” by Trevanian. The thriller features go-related section headings and a marvelous, lengthy section about the main character’s training and playing of the game.  And if a film version ever makes it to the screen the novel’s number one position could be solidified (or destroyed).  Many, many players were intrigued by the game as presented in the book, and learned to play as a result. So, until Steven Spielberg makes “The Tesuji Kid” about an unpopular but cute middle schooler who comes across a small asian garden while hiding from some bullies, meeting three old men playing go who teach him lessons from the game, which become lessons in life, foiling the bully, impressing his/her teachers and getting the boy/girl – Trevanian is number one.   Congrats to Steve Miller of Ramsey, MN, this week’s winner, randomly chosen from those who suggested Shibumi.

This Week’s Quiz: Hearty congratulations to Gu Li for taking game three of the jubango; could this be the start of a comeback? In the Japanese top titles, the matches are best of seven.  Who was the first player to come back from an 0-3 deficit and win a title in what was termed a “miraculous upset”?  Was it Sakata Eio, Rin Kaiho, Kato Masao or Cho Chikun?  Click here to submit your responses and comments.

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Go Spotting: Teen Wolf Takes Sente

Tuesday March 25, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf has shattered the Go Spotting record, featuring go four weeks in a row, on a show that’s not about go.  With a viewership of 3.5 million, repeated mentions of the game, and even a summary of the main goals, local clubs could soon be seeing a surge of new players if even a fraction of those viewers become curious about go and learn to play.  This week’s episode, entitled “The Divine Move” both starts and ends with go.  Early in the episode Mrs. Yukimura (Tamlyn Tomita) advises a desperate Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) while the family is seated around a go board “he made a powerful move by splitting the two of you.”   “So what’s our move?” responds  her daughter Kira (Arden Cho), as she places a stone on the board. “The Nogitsune has had sente until this point, what you need is a ‘Divine Move’ in order to turn this game around,” responds her mother.  Stiles does find a divine move, in the story arc at least, and his friends defeat the Nogitsune at last.  Towards the end of the episode, Kira’s parents are seen picking up the pieces from the go board, drawing a conclusion to the story arc (and the season).  Full episodes of Teen Wolf can be streamed on the MTV website here. As an added bonus, in the after show (Wolf Watch) series creator Jeff Davis also talks briefly about go. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the MTV website: Kira places a stone on the board, while Stiles talks to Mrs. Yukimura.

 

 

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Go Spotting: Teen Wolf – Third Week in a Row

Wednesday March 19, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf seems to be on a go jag.  This week’s episode featured another conversation about strategy, with Kira (Arden Cho) learning about go from her mother, who even explains what the game is about, and describes territory.  Later in the episode, Kira’s father tells her that go is called Baduk in Korea, and that her mother is a very aggressive player – too aggressive for her own good.  This marks the third week in a row that go has been featured on the show, and next week’s episode is titled “The Divine Move,” which any Hikaru no Go fan will immediately recognize as a key concept in the manga.  My guess is that next weeks episode will revolve around another go match, possibly between Kira and her mother. Check out Teen Wolf on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

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Go Quiz: A Fujisawa by Any Other Name

Sunday February 23, 2014

“Go Seigen is my favorite player!” comments Albert Yen on last week’s quiz, which asked who was the only player to defeat Go in a jubango match. Longtime quiz players may recall that your quizmaster considers him the greatest player of all time (though the same group may recall I have a different favorite player). A wonderful 43 of you responded. Six chose the razor-sharp Sakata Eio, perhaps confusing his breaking up the dominance of Takagawa Kaku, whose Honinbo dominance may have confused two of you and a solitary, unidentified responder chose a time-traveling TARDIS possessing Shusaku. An impressive 32 correctly chose Fujisawa Kuranosuke, although several shared Richard Jankowski’s concern that “I hope this person is the same as Fujisawa Hosai.” Putting aside existential questions about whether we really are the same person during different times of our lives, Fujisawa did not adopt the name “Hosai” until much later. However you want to refer to him, Fujisawa beat Go Seigen 6-4 in 1942 (right), although, as many pointed out, he took black in each of the no komi games, and he later lost two jubango to Go, also at handicap. Interestingly, Reinhold Burger suggested that this question would be difficult without special resources, while Roland Crowl felt it was “too easy to find online” While the number of correct responses give the nod to Mr. Crowl, I thought I would take a moment to comment on how we structure quiz question choices. Ideally, we first hope to be interesting and topical. After that, your quizmaster personally believes clever, difficult questions will always be appreciated by those interested in this clever and difficult game. However, even if folks easily get online and find an answer, then your interest has been sparked and hopefully you’ll have learned something. Congratulations to David Rohde of Carpentersville, IL this week’s winner, chosen at random from those answering correctly. photo courtesy Go’s Everywhere website.

THIS WEEK’S QUIZ:
Let’s learn something about China’s Gu Li (left). While Gu benefitted from instruction by several teachers, one teacher nurtured him since he was a youngster. Is it Yang Yi 6P, Yang Yilun 7P, Song Xuelin 9P or Zhang Wendong 9P? Hint: He has attended the U.S. Go Congress several times. Click here to make your guess by close of business on Thursday.
- Keith Arnold, HKA & AGA Quizmaster

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Portland Chess and Go Programs Booming

Saturday January 25, 2014

In Portland, OR, there are now over 100 children in chess and go programs, spread over five  schools, and organized by Peter Freedman and Fritz Balwit.  Freedman teaches go and Balwit teaches chess in most schools.  “We decided to leverage our long-running chess and go program at Irvington Elementary,” Freedman told the Journal, “I approached several school chess coaches about the idea of morphing their chess clubs into chess and go clubs. The Richmond club got off to a rousing start in November, with 41 children, 1st-5th grades, coming to the first meeting. Limited to 40, we were oversubscribed, with parents coming to the meeting with checks hoping there was still room to enroll their children. It was the best response ever to a new chess and go club, and confirms our view that ‘the way to a new go player’s heart is through chess.’  While Richmond is a  Japanese language magnet school, where go is more familiar than the average school, a great many of these children did play chess, or want to, but had never heard of go,” said Freedman. Parents are enthusiastic too, with one writing in to say:”just wanted to let you know Ben had a great time today. He had said earlier that he didn’t want to learn go, but after one lesson, he is begging me to buy him a go board. I will sign him up for the rest of the year and will put a check in the mail tomorrow.”

For several years Freedman and Balwit had tried to establish go clubs in schools, but they were short-lived and drew minimal numbers. Meanwhile, Irvington chess and go club had run for many years, with upwards of 30 students every term.  “It is quite clear to me that chess and go clubs have a much better chance to introduce children and teens to go than free-standing go clubs,” says Freedman.  “John Goon has a similar approach in Maryland.  There is a segment of our culture that knows, appreciates and respects chess, while only a few know of go. Yet, many of us were chess players before we were go players.  It seems like a nice path.  We need a new motto: chess is our friend, not our enemy.”

In addition to the Irvington and Richmond programs, Freedman reports that several other schools are picking up the model. The Grant High School chess club morphed into a chess and go club this year, with about 12 students.  Beverly Cleary elementary school did as well, with Freedman teaching go and  long time chess coach Brad Kerstetter continuing his work.  Freedman also envisions that his model should be economically sustainable, is actively pursuing this: “At Irvington and Richmond we charge $75/term, or $150 for the year, per child, for a one hour/week club meeting.  In Irvington, Beverly Clearly, and Richmond we divide the group in two.  For the first month half of the kids play go, half play chess.  The second month, they switch.  After that they choose: chess only, go only, or, chess and go.  If they choose chess and go, they play one game for 4 weeks, and then switch each four weeks until the end of school,” reports Freedman.

“Needless to say, the starter kits and technical support we get from the AGF are an important part of our success,” notes Freedman, “we order and pay shipping for a Hikaru no Go manga set at each school where we teach as well.”  Freedman and Balwitz have put together curriculum guides and outlines for their method, which can be downloaded on the AGA Teaching Page.  Free equipment, Hikaru no Go, and other resources are available on the AGF website.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the Irvington Elementary School Yearbook (click on image to view it at full size).

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LA Go Clubs Demo Go at Expo

Tuesday November 12, 2013

Pasadena’s Yu Go Club — with support from other area clubs — participated in Pacific Media Expo’s three-day expo in the LAX Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles last weekend. “People who had never seen the game were introduced to it, learned the rules and enjoyed playing against other beginners,” reports Joe Walters. Yu Go Club members Ross Secrest, Greg Kulavich, Jiaying “Jerry” Shen, and Walters were assisted by Samantha Davis of the Santa Monica Go club and Jermelle MacCleod of the Woodland Hills Go club. The Yu Go Club is sponsored by Reiyukai America. photo by Joe Walters

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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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Go Classified: Programmer Wanted; Students Wanted

Tuesday August 13, 2013

Programmer Wanted: AGA seeks volunteer programmer to maintain gocongress.org.  Knowledge of ruby is desirable.  Please contact jared@jaredbeck.com.

Students Wanted: Guo Juan’s Internet Go School is currently accepting enrollment for Online Group Classes for the 2013 3rd term, beginning on September 7th. Group classes are held once a week, on either Saturday or Sunday depending on which group you join. Classes run for 8 weeks. “Make new friends, have fun and learn go from professionals at great prices!” says Guo Juan. Group class participants also receive a 20% discount on Pro Lectures annual membership. The teaching faculty includes Guo Juan 5P, Young Sun Yoon 8p, Jennie Shen 2P, and Mingjiu 7P.

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Go at the Japanese Friendship Garden Day Camp

Friday July 19, 2013

The Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego’s summer day camp is including go lessons, for the second year in a row. Using equipment provided by the American Go Foundation, San Diego Go Club president Ted Terpstra reports that he’s “teaching beginners the basics of go, and having them playing games on small boards within 20 minutes.” Fifteen day campers are learning about go through Hikaru no Go episodes on Hulu, as well as with books. “The enthusiastic go players have sets available during free time for playing after learning the essentials,” Terpstra adds. Each week is a different age grouping with children in grades from kindergarten through 6th, the program is running for five weeks. -photo by Ted Terpstra: third and fourth graders learn go.
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