American Go E-Journal


Monday September 27, 2010

Cherry Shen 6d, and David Su 1d, have been chosen for the 2010 AGF College Scholarship.  The $1,000 awards are presented each year to outstanding youth who have been active go organizers or teachers.  “Although I enjoy the competitiveness of go,” said Shen, “there are other aspects of the game that I enjoy just as much: volunteering, teaching kids, and meeting a diverse group of people bridged by one game.”  Su, an active high school organizer in the San Francisco Bay Area, told the Journal “I started playing Go in 7th grade and then joined my school’s go club in freshmen year, but I did not foresee that I would be leading the club 2 years later.”

Shen taught go to elementary school children in the LA area.  In her application essay, she recounts some of her experiences: “amongst the young faces stood out a very special character, a young boy named Shin. It was obvious that he was extremely clever; however, he was born handicapped: loss of vocal chords and poor motor skills. At first I thought I would have to pay extra attention to him, but when I began to teach everyone, Shin caught on just fine and was even very interested in go.  Because he usually had special treatment, I felt successful in that through go, he could have the same playing field as his peers. That in itself felt like an accomplishment, showing him a game where he was not at a disadvantage; even though communication may be a problem, words can be spoken through the movement of stones.”

Further north in California, Su was hard at work at Saratoga High School. “ I eagerly inherited a meager club my junior year and took the reigns,” said Su, “that year, the club designed and produced its first t-shirt, hosted its own intra-club tournament, represented Saratoga High School in three tournaments, and published its own newsletter.”  The following year, with the collapse of the stock market, the Ing Foundation cut all funding to the US go community.  Among the losses was the annual California High School Team Tournament.  Su was undeterred however: “I entered a whole new platform of leadership when I enlisted a group of local high school Go presidents, and found multiple financial sponsors, to host the debut Bay Area High School Go Tournament, fielding a competition with 24 high school players in 3 brackets. I have been able to keep in contact with most of the Go Clubs via Facebook and my hope is that with help from the Bay Area Go Player’s Association, and future high school leaders, the high school community will strengthen and the games popularity will trickle down through middle and elementary schools. My drive to popularize and legitimize go among youth in America stems from my belief that it is not your everyday board game, it is a marvel mental exercise.” – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photos by David Su and Cherry Shen