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).
“Very soon after I started playing go, I learned that there would be a tournament in Ann Arbor,” writes Bob Barber (right). “I entered at 16 kyu. At that time, I was progressing a stone or three every year (blessed memories!), so I did well in those tournaments. Soon, Roger White was encouraging me (some might say pestering me) to have a tournament in Chicago. When I finally relented, I based it entirely on David Relson’s pattern, including the post-tourney pizza party. So, all the folks from around the country and around the world who played in a Chicago tournament can thank Mr. Relson (In Memoriam: David Relson 1/20 EJ). I am the same age (as the 65-year-old Relson), and have in my youth cycled 73 miles in one day. Now I consider 30 a good workout. Also, try as I might, I never could match David’s facial hair. Surely a life too brief. But how many of us will meet our end doing something we love?” photo: Barber (r) with Xuyu Xiang 6D at the September 3 2011 Form Follows Function Tournament in Chicago, IL; photo by Dan Smith
The highly anticipated first game of the 10-game series (jubango) with $860,000 in prize money between Lee Sedol and Gu Li will be held in China on Sunday, Jan. 26 (Lee Sedol-Gu Li Jubango to be Broadcast Live on KGS 1/20 EJ). Thanks to the international date line, this game will start on Saturday evening, Jan. 25 in the U.S. The game will be broadcast by KGS starting at 8:30 pm EST, and 5:30 pm PST. The commentary by Myungwan Kim and others will start at 10 pm EST and 7 pm PST.
Here is a promo for the match from China, with English subtitles provided by gogameguru.com. The Seattle Go Center will be showing the game with a digital projector and host Andrew Jackson is planning on staying up late, since the game could run 8 hours. Saturday Manager Dennis Wheeler added “we’re going to make it a big midnight party”. Photo: KGS broadcast of Takemiya simultaneous games from the Seattle Go Center (Aug. 2013). Photo/Report by Brian Allen
Eight of Europe’s top players will battle it out online starting this Thursday in the 1st WBaduk European Top 8 Champions League. Organized by the European Go Federation and WBaduk, the 7-round round robin tournament has a 3,000-euro prize pool, with 1,000 euros to the winner. The players are Hui Fan 2P (France), Ilya Shikshin 7D (Russia), Catalin Taranu 5P (Romania), Alexander Dinerchtein 3P (Russia), Antti Tormanen 7D (Finland), Pavol Lisy 6D (Slovakia), Artem Kachanovski 7D (Ukraine) and Csaba Mero 6D (Hungary). Rounds will be played on the Wbaduk server every Thursday and Monday at 19:30 (1:30p EST) Central European Time from January 23 through February 13.
Ari Saito 7D (right front) topped a field of more than 30 go players gathered on the UC San Diego campus January 18 “on a beautiful 70+ degree southern California day” to contend for the 2014 San Diego Go Championship, reports San Diego Go Club President Ted Terpstra. “The ultimate game pitted Saito against Yixian Zhou 6D (left front),” said Terpstra. Saito’s win win gave him a 3-0 record, the $100 first prize and the title. Jenna Jansen 3k not only won the kyu championship with a 3-0 record but took the dual title of San Diego Women’s Champion. In the title game, she edged long-time AGA stalwart Les Lanphear by 3.5 points. David SU, 26-kyu won the youth prize for his 3-0 finish. The third annual tournament was a combined effort of the UCSD Go Club and the San Diego Go Club. photo by Ted Terpstra
A delegation of Cuban go players has been invited to attend this year’s U.S. Go Congress for the first time and AGA board member Robert Gilman is coordinating fundraising efforts to support the visit. “The Cubans have greeted our invitation with ‘immense joy’,” Gilman — who organized the 2013 visit by US players to Cuba (Traveling Board: U.S.-Cuba Friendship Match “A Rare Opportunity”) — reports, “but the key question is money. Cuba is a poor country, the Cuban internal currency is worthless in the U.S. and the AGA does not have the budget to sponsor the delegation, so we’re asking the go community to step up. Cubans have made strong efforts to develop go there, but isolation from the international go community and limited internet have handicapped them. This visit will help them develop and extend bonds with our neighbors to the South.” The invitees are Cuba’s top two players and the president of the Academia Cubana de Go. The video here describes this effort.
Contributions can be made through either the AGA or the American Go Foundation (AGF); contributions to the AGF are tax deductible. In either case, put “CC2014” in the memo field, and mail the check to Gilman at P.O. Box 40020 in Albuquerque, NM 87196-0020. Checks will be acknowledged as they are received but not cashed until its clear the project is a go. If you are contributing, please complete the form here.