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Rex Weyler on Life Lessons Learned from Go

Wednesday July 17, 2013

It was the problems that hooked Rex Weyler. The Greenpeace founder had just learned go from writer Rick Fields (“Chop Wood, Carry Water”) “and Rick gave me a beginner’s book — Ishigure’s In The Beginning, I think — and I took it home that night in 1981 and the life and death problems were so fascinating that the game absolutely hooked me. Weyler, a reknowned environmental activist and journalist, has been playing go ever since. When he co-founded the Hollyhock learning center on Cortes Island in British Columbia the following year, Weyler made sure that a go workshop was included, initially led by Canadian go player Roy Langston, and then for many years by American James Kerwin 1P. After a hiatus, the Hollyhock go workshop returned this year, this time with Janice Kim 3P, and of course Weyler, who has moved back to Cortes Island, was there. “Go fits in with the way I see the world,” Weyler told the E-Journal in an interview earlier this week in his home overlooking a spectacular view of Lake Hague. “I trained in math but became a writer, and go is a wonderful combination of logic and aesthetics. And the better you can balance the two, the better you can play.” After more than three decades of playing, Weyler says “I’m still learning lessons from go that apply to life. Be aggressive but show retraint; it’s okay to be optimistic but that’s not a strategy. You’ve got to get outside and see the bigger picture,” Weyler says, speaking as both a go player and ecologist. “Go, if you play well, teaches you different ways of thinking.”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: Weyler (l) playing with former AGA President Phil Straus at Hollyhock. Learn more about Weyler’s work on his website.

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Go Helps Minority Cultures Preserve Their Traditions in U.S.

Wednesday June 12, 2013

How can minority cultures gain acceptance in American society without abandoning their cultural values and traditions? The game of go may be one way.

One Friday last month, Academy of the Americas (AoA) students traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan with the Go Cultural Ambassador International Program (GCAIP) where Detroit and Ypsilanti youth taught Kalamazoo students how to play go. They related the ancient board game to community building, anti-bullying and peer mentorship in the kindergarten through higher education continuum, influenced by the anti-bullying work of top pro Yasutoshi Yasuda.

GCAIP’s mission is to promote global citizenship and cultural validation with an emphasis on academic excellence in the social sciences and humanities. It uses go to bridge and even transcend cultural differences. Eighty students aged 9-13 attended the daylong event at the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services.  Participants analyzed the first Hikaru No Go anime with faculty assistance using the theories of “cultural humility” and “transformative complicity.” The young students “grasped college-level theory leaving Diana Hernandez, WMU’s Director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs,  in shock,” according to WMU Assistant Professor  Dr. Roxanna Duntley-Matos who is also the co-founder of the Asociacion Latina Alcanzando Suenos (ALAS) and GCAIP.

Detroit youth paired up with El Sol Elementary teachers and students and with University of Michigan faculty Dr. Robert M. Ortega (known for his promotion of cultural humility in child welfare) to discuss how their game strategies reflected their personalities (i.e. risk taker, adventurous, aggressive or cautious).   WMU provided university flags and patches to inspire participants to work hard and return in a few years as college students. Live music and a karate demonstration led by Martin Gatlin added to the festival-like atmosphere. “The day ended with students dancing the bachata and merengue giving the entire day a true Latino touch,” Matos said. “All in all, we had people from two universities, three schools and one community program blending elements from Latino, African American, Euro-American and Asian cultures.”

GCAIP has other activities in the works.  It plans to visit groups in Grand Rapids and Wayne State University and hopes to connect with a new program in Puerto Rico. They already have ongoing relationships with programs in Oregon and Mexico. “Go is more than a game of strategy, it is a way of life. It connects people and communities together,” says Oscar Hernandez, one Detroit youth GO Cultural Ambassador;

GCAIP, AoA and ALAS credit Dr. Earlie Washington, Dean of WMU CHHS and Dr. Linwood Cousins, Director of  the WMU School of Social Work for providing invaluable institutional support. They also thank Kelly Alvarez, Terry Gay, Anne Bowman, Jinny Zeigler, Ernestina Iglesias and Jennifer Clements for helping to organize the Kalamazoo event celebrating AoA’s 20th anniversary and honoring GCAIP co-founder and recently deceased AoA Principal Mrs. Denise Fielder. AoA’s GCAIP Director Mark Duffy played a crucial role continuing the instructional work of Siddhartha Avila, GCAIP co-founder from Pipiolo Elementary School in Mexico. Special thanks from ALAS to Portland organizer Peter Freedman and karate instructor Martin Gatlin for weekly go training over the Internet for the past year.
- Roy Laird; photo: El Sol students learn go; photo by Diana Hernandez

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Summer Go Camp

Friday May 24, 2013

The AGA Summer Go Camp will be held  at YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles in Rockwood, Pennsylvania, from July 20 to July 27. “Go Camp was a wonderful experience,” writes Sathya Anand 1k, who attended last year, ” I feel my understanding of the subtle complexities of go has been heightened considerably. I loved that everyone in my immediate vicinity had the same passion for learning that I had. I learned a boatload of joseki, as well as the ability to pinpoint where I needed to improve.”

 “I loved the fact that everyone there was a go player just like myself,” writes Shawn Ray 4d, “I had fun doing activities with everyone while also studying go. I feel like I improved a good bit because the teachers broke me of my bad habits, and I think that really helped me focus my moves, and to play on a higher level.”

“If you’re a go player between the ages of 8 and 18, and would like an opportunity to study with a professional teacher for a week, the AGA Go Camp is for you,” says Camp Director Amanda Miller. Yilun Yang 7P will be the teacher this year. He has trained many notable players, including Rui Naiwei 9P and Chang Hao 9P. Anyone who played in the US Youth Go Championships can get a $400 AGF scholarship to the camp.  If you didn’t play, but need financial help to attend, you can apply for a needs based scholarship here.  Please visit the camp website for registration information, or email the camp at agagocampeast@gmail.com. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Amanda Miller: Campers at last year’s event, in Black Mountain, NC.

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Go Camp Launches New Website

Saturday April 20, 2013

The AGA Summer Go Camp has launched an all new website to help promote the camp.  Visitors can see pictures from previous camps, learn more about programs, and find answers to frequently asked questions.  “If you’re a go player between the ages of 8 and 18, and would like an opportunity to study go for a week with a professional teacher, the AGA East Go Camp is for you,” says camp director Amanda Miller. Anyone who played in the US Youth Go Championships can get a $400 AGF scholarship to the camp.  Kids who didn’t play, but need financial help to attend, can apply for a needs based scholarship here.  Visit the camp website for details and registration information. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

 

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“Something For Everyone” at First Spring Go Expo

Wednesday March 27, 2013

“The Spring Go Expo has something for everyone,” said organizer Michael Fodera as he announced the opening of the 2013 Spring Go Expo at Harvard University’s Student Organization Center at Hillel last weekend.

And so it did. Spread out across four connected areas in a student lounge, the Expo featured exciting performances, thoughtful presentations from a scholarly perspective and an exclusive 15-minute segment of the upcoming documentary film The Surrounding Game. The event was organized by The American Collegiate Go Association  (ACGA) and the  Harvard University Go Club and sponsored by the Ing Chang-ki Weiqi Association.

And for those who wanted it, there was plenty “real go,”  with a self-paired tournament, plenty of space for casual play and simultaneous play with top players ranging from Ing Cup winner Chang Hao 9P to America’s newly minted pros Andy Liu 1P and Gangsheng Shi 1PNarumi Osawa 4P, a Japanese pro currently touring the US, and US-based Chinese 1P Stephanie Yin also made generous use of their time, joining the others in simultaneous play and instruction.   Mid-level players also had the opportunity to play Chinese National University Champion John Xiao and American 7-dan Ben Lockhart. The first round of simuls began at 9a on Saturday.

“Many go events focus on tournament play, but we also wanted to include teaching, and exposure to other aspects of Asian life,” Fodera continued. “Go is considered one of the ‘Four Accomplishments’ in China, so let’s learn more about the others,” he said, yielding the stage to Shin Yi-yang, an accomplished player of the qin. Meanwhile, calligraphers from The Chinese Culture Connection demonstrated their art,  and drummers from The Rhode Island Kung Fu Club chased a  large dragon throughout the space as attendees enjoyed a free lunch. While self-paired and casual games continued, filmmakers Cole Pruitt and Will Lockhart presented a 15-minute of their exciting documentary scheduled for release later this year. After a lecture by Prof. Elywn Berlekamp on “Coupon Go,” Liu played an exhibition game against Hao, losing by only 3.5 points.

On Sunday, while younger players competed in a Youth Tournament, more than 50 participants played and recorded games that were then analyzed in small groups by the professionals. Peter Schumer reprised his college go course talk from this year’s International Go Symposium. (click here to view Schumer’s Symposium talk), and Thomas Wolf described his work studying “The Mathematics of Seki.” Pruitt, Lockhart, Fodera and all the ACGA organizers can take pride in a job in a job well done and extended grateful thanks to the Shanghai Ing Foundation, especially its director, Lu Wen Zhen, and the Secretary General, Ni Yaoliang, who traveled from Shanghai to attend the event.
- report/photos by Roy Laird; collage by Chris Garlock

 

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2012 SportAccord World Mind Games Day 5: Choi Chulhan 9P Wins Men’s Gold, Li He 3P is Women’s Champion; Lin Chi-han 9P: The Ranka Interview

Sunday December 16, 2012

Choi Chulhan 9P Wins Men’s Gold, Li He 3P is Women’s Champion: Choi Chulhan 9P and Li He 3P are the champions of the SportAccord World Mind Games, with Choi (Korea) defeating Kang Dongwan 9P (Korea) in the Men’s Individual event and Li (China) upsetting Rui Naiwei 9P (China) in the Women’s Individual on December 16.  Click here to download Michael Redmond’s commentaries on both games.
Game Commentary: Round 7 (Men’s Individual Final): Choi-Kang
This is an all-Korean final for the 2012 SAWMG Men’s Individual title. The players are top Korean players who have confidence in their reading abilities, which are on full display in this exciting game.
Game Commentary: Round 7 (Women’s Individual Final): Choi-Kang
Rui is a strong fighter, as well as a tenacious player. She’s been at or close to the top of the women’s game for quite a while now. Li, on the other hand, is a new young player who’s recently become very prominent in women’s go.

Lin Chi-han 9P: The Ranka Interview: Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chi-han 9P – who won the third-place bronze medal at this year’s SportAccord World Mind Sports Games — started playing go when he was about six years old. “My uncle could play go, and Mother thought it would be good for me to learn,” he said. When he was about nine or ten he started taking lessons from Lin Sheng-hsian, a 7-dan pro. He became a professional in 2000; he also began studying business administration at Taiwan National University around then. “I graduated in 2004, but I had already starting winning professional tournaments and was committed to a professional career,” Lin said. “My university training may prove useful later when it comes to investing my earnings, but it has not been of any direct use to me as a go player.” When he’s not playing or teaching go, Lin is a big NBA fan. Click here for Ranka’s full interview. photo by Ivan Vigano

Game Commentary: Round 6: Missingham-Kovaleva
Women’s Individual

[link]

W: Joanne Missingham 6P (Taipei)
B: Natalia Kovaleva 5D (Russia)
Commentary: Michael Redmond 9P
Edited by Chris Garlock

I saw Kovaleva in Japan recently at the Pair Go Championships, where she and her partner were among the stronger pairs, and she did well here this week in the SportAccord World Mind Games Women’s Individual event.

In this game against Joanne Missingham 6P, Kovaleva’s attack backfires when Missingham counter-attacks with a devastating ko.

 

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Teachers at the 2012 International Go Symposium

Tuesday November 27, 2012

The 2012 International Go Symposium in Black Mountain, North Carolina attracted leading scholars and researchers from around the world for two days of presentations and discussions on the many aspects of the game of go. Dozens of hours of footage have now been edited down and posted online to accompany the conference papers. This 3-part series covers highlights of Symposium presentations by teachers, scientists, historians and anthropologists.

Games may be a major key to learning, suggested keynote speaker Nolan Bushnell (right) at the 2012 International Go Symposium, August 4-5, 2012. The entrepreneurial wizard behind products as diverse as Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, Bushnell is now applying principles such as “thalamic engagement” and “spaced repetition” to develop Brainrush, a game-based learning app that aims to help students learn all kinds of material more effectively. Mexican Go Assoiation President Israel Rodriguez offered some interesting speculations on the nature of the barriers to developing a go culture. Yet go is a superb medium for growth and development, as Dr. Roy Laird – a clinical social worker who manages treatment programs for The Children’s Aid Society in New York City and former President of the American Go Association – explores in his talk “Play Go And Grow,” about the unique aspects of go that favor positive development, and some interesting recent research on go and the brain. While go is popular in Asian communities and has developed a growing base among Caucasians in the West, its presence is very limited in other Western cultures. In Playing Under and Pushing Through the Stones, Roxanna Duntley-Matos, a member of the Western Michigan University School of Social Work faculty, describes how she used go as a tool for “emancipatory education” with the Ann Arbor Hispanic community, promoting leadership, camaraderie and success among a marginalized minority. At the upper end of the learning spectrum, Peter Schumer described a for-credit course on go  that he has taught at Middlebury College for years, offering tips on everything from curriculum development to teaching style. In “How Rules, Terms and Attitude Help or Hinder the Game,”, American Go Foundation (AGF) President and AGA Rules Committee Chairman Terry Benson (left) urges a rethinking of what it means to “play go,” and what we teach. Peter Freedman, an experienced go teacher from the Portland area, looked beyond simply teaching children the game to how to help them develop a lifelong love for go, while go teacher Siddhartha Avila’s Mexican school is committed to teaching through the arts. On a practical level, AGF VP Paul Barchilon  outlined some of the many ways that the AGF can help aspiring organizers in the US. Laura Martinez ended the go teacher’s panel, and the conference, by unveiling the winners of The Second International Go Art Contest.

The AGA and the 2012 US Go Congress are extremely grateful to the International Go Federation for financial support that made this event possible, and to the American Go Foundation for additional support.  All presentations can be found at the Symposium’s YouTube channel. In addition, links to all the videos and to associated papers, links and contact information be found at the Symposium website. NEXT WEEK: Historians and anthropologists at the Symposium.

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San Diego Kids Learn Go

Monday July 23, 2012

Youngsters in San Diego were treated to go lessons from Ted Terpstra, the new AGA Executive VP, at a summer camp at the Japanese Friendship Garden on July 18th. “This week it was first and second graders, next week is third & fourth graders and then fifth and sixth the week after,” reports Terpstra. “It was the first time that the children had played the game; we started with 5×5 boards so they could get a feel for trying to surround territory and capturing. They had been exposed to go on Monday at camp when a couple of episodes of Hikaru no Go were shown on HULU. I used go sets and accessories from the AGF Class Room Starter set I just received for the La Jolla Library class I am teaching this fall. I also checked out several volumes of Hikaru No Go from the neighborhood library that the children eagerly read while waiting for the class to begin. I had wifi so I put up a game being played on KGS just to give the kids a feel for how a real game developed. It was great to see how quickly these children learned the game and exuded enthusiasm,” said Terpstra. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, Photo by Ted Terpstra.

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Traveling Go Board: Cortes Island, BC

Wednesday July 18, 2012

Former AGA President Phil Straus (l) and American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock play go July 8 at Manson’s Landing on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada while awaiting a seaplane to carry them to Seattle. The two were finishing up a week’s sojourn at the Hollyhock Lifelong Learning Centre. Photo by Alex Corcoran

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TygemGo Online Pro Prelim Down to Final 21

Wednesday June 27, 2012

The field in the TygemGo Online Pro Prelim has been narrowed down to the final 21 players, six of whom are Canadians. The tournament’s last round will be this weekend, with the last seven players qualifying to go to North Carolina in late July for the ‘face to face’ final rounds with the other nine finalists. The top two winners in North Carolina will be the first American-certified pros. Myung-wan Kim 9P will provide live commentary on Tygem on Saturday and Sunday starting at 12:30p EST at Korea1 server. “I think observers will see very interesting games in this final round since the competition is getting tougher,” Kim tells the E-Journal. “I really enjoy the interactive live commentary with observers. If you come to my commentary, be sure to vote for the next move. It’s not only fun but also the better way to learn from my commentary. And of course, questions are always welcome.”

The final 21 players:
U.S.: Matthew Burrall, Wei Chen, Daniel Chou, Bert Hallonquist, Kevin Hong, Dae Kim, Sooil Kim, Ben Lockhart, Andrew Lu, Eric Lui, Daniel Puzan, Cherry Shen, Justin Teng, Aaron Ye, , Vincent Zhuang.
Canada: Will Gan, Juyong Ko, Bill Lin, David Lu, Jing Yang, Oliver Wolf.

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