American Go E-Journal

Letter From Seattle

Saturday May 9, 2020

Brian Allen, Operations Manager, Seattle Go Center

Nick Sibicky in Cyberspace

The Seattle Go Center has been closed due to coronavirus precautions for almost two months now. I still go there to check on the building, and to do office work. The neighborhood is much quieter, due to a huge reduction in traffic on nearby I-5, and in jets crossing above. The veterinary clinic downstairs is still open for urgent care, so the building doesn’t feel too lonely. They recently changed their name to “Caring Pet Clinic”, and put up new signs.

The pet clinic pays us rent, so it is very good to see them still open. Our financial situation is stable for now, but I worry about the effects of a long closure on the Go Center. Meanwhile, the plans for developing the property, with space for us in the new building, are proceeding energetically, despite COVID-19 worries. The property is owned by our benefactor, the Nihon Ki-in of Japan.

Our March calendar showed that we were planning to be open five days a week.  It also showed nine weekly meet-ups in the Seattle-Tacoma area, and two major festivals for outreach in April: Sakura-Con and Cherry Blossom Festival.  Tuesdays were our big days; we had 20-40 visitors each Tuesday this winter. All that has changed.  Some of those Tuesday players are meeting on go servers now at the same time of the week.  Go Center Member Bob (Mingcun) Fan reports that he is now playing Mr. Yao on OGS, and then they have a phone call to review the game.  This is happening with some of the meet-ups too. The Zoka coffeehouse group that used to meet in person on Monday and Friday mornings now meets on the KGS server, using the Go Center “room”.  Member Frank Brown writes that about six players have made the transition, while three others have not, for various reasons. 

Member Dan Cooper is sad that the Seattle Go Center closed. He really enjoyed watching other people’s games in person. Now he spends a lot of time watching games on KGS in his apartment. Deborah Niedermeyer misses “Go Center players’ quiet wry humor, accompanied by the rhythm of clicking stones.” Now she sometimes plays quick games online, sandbagging as “Goldilocks”.

Seattle Go Center members have been taking advantage of online Go education for years.  Some have private online lessons with pros, while others are part of the American Yunguseng Dojang.  Our Wednesday SDK class with Jonathan (Chin Jung) Cheng has now gone completely online.   This class is designed for 9K – 1D players.  He is doing a series on using opening moves suggest by AI.  Jonathan teaches the class live on Wednesdays from 6-7 pm PDT through Zoom. He also posts the lectures afterwards on YouTube .

Before COVID-19, Nick Sibicky used to give his DDK lectures in front of a live audience at the Go Center on Monday nights, and then posted them on Youtube.  Now he is recording them at home. He is up to lecture #387!  Nick’s popular lessons were originally intended for double digit kyu players, but his scope has widened to include many issues of interest to stronger players as well.  His most recent lecture at the Go Center was with Nihon Ki-in Pro Daiki Komatsu in early March.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee recently announced “Washington’s Phased Approach” to reopening, with four phases.  The Seattle Go Center Board of Directors will meet online to decide how our organization fits into the opening rubric. Certainly, it will be a while before we open.  In the meantime, I will finish washing all the go stones.
Photo and Report by Brian Allen, Operations Manager, Seattle Go Center.