The American Go Foundation Newsletter
"Each One Teach One"
Number 12 Winter 2015
We hope you had a great summer; now we hope you'll get back to, or into, what more and more Go enthusiasts are doing -- telling the world about our wonderful game! Here's a special report on what five groups of enthusiasts are doing in their communities around the country. Professors from Western Michigan University are using Go to teach "cultural humility" and "transformative complicity;" in Boston, a festival-like Go Expo supplemented instruction and play with karate, dragons, Chinese music and more; in North Carolina, "where the hogs outnumber the humans," Hikaru no Go is winning new fans; at Penn State researchers are studying how Go instruction might enhance the skills of military strategists; and in Atlanta, low-income students have discovered a fun new way to improve their critical thinking skills. What are you up to? We'd love to hear -- let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .
TEACHING "CULTURAL HUMILITY" AND "TRANSFORMATIVE COMPLICITY" THROUGH GO
How can minority cultures gain acceptance in American society without giving up the cultural values and traditions they love?
This question gains importance as more and more US immigrants make new lives for themselves. In Detroit, The Academy of the Americas (AoA) is answering that question with a dual language immersion program in Spanish and English. One Friday last month, AoA students traveled to Kalamazoo with the Go Cultural Ambassador International Program (GCAIP). There, Detroit and Ypsilanti youth taught Kalamazoo students how to play the game of Go . They related it to community building, anti-bullying efforts and peer mentorship in the kindergarten through higher education continuum, influenced by the anti-bullying work of 9th degree Go player 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 the game of Go to bridge and even transcend cultural differences. 80students aged 9-13 attended the daylong event at 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 kids 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 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 Sensei 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. As Oscar Hernandez, one Detroit youth Go Cultural Ambassador, put it, “ Go is more than a game of strategy, it is a way of life. It connects people and communities together.”
GCAIP, AoA and ALAS are grateful to Dr. Earlie Washington, Dean of WMU's College of Health and Human Services and Dr. Linwood Cousins, Director of WMU School of Social Work, who provided invaluable institutional support. They also wish to 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. ALAS sends thanks to Portland organizer Peter Freedman and karate instructor Martin Gatlin for weekly Go training over the Internet for the past year. -- a version of this story first appeared in The American Go E-Journal . photos by Roxanne Duntley-Matos
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AT BOSTON SPRING GO EXPO
“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 of “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 1P . Narumi 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 9 AM 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 preview 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 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.
- as reported in The American Go E-Journal . collage by Chris Garlock
HIKARU WINS FANS IN RURAL NORTH CAROLINA
We have moved a mountain of manga to schools and libraries, and one shipment went to the middle school in Burgaw, SC. Librarian Kathleen Stewart-Taylor writes: “We are a poor majority minority school where 90% of our students receive free or reduced price lunch. Most of our 275 students are African American or Latinos. Some of them are children of migrant workers; a few of them work in the fields/farms themselves. Some are ESL students; many have parents who can't speak English or can't read or write in any language. We live within 20 minutes of the ocean, but most of my students have never seen it. But I would bet that 75 % of my students now know about Go and at least 25% have tried to play a game. I'm aiming for more next year.
“Several months ago you sent us a free set of those Hikaru no Go manga, 23 volumes. It worked. We now have a Go club and they are talking about going to a tournament next year! This is a big deal for us. We have tried chess, but our students didn't like the deep game trees (math/Artificial Intelligence term) instead of the sense of 'aliveness' that they have with Go . Chess was seen as 1) boring and 2) the province of the gifted. But now bunches of the students come in during lunch to log on to Tigers Mouth and study games.
“A little while back one of the Hikaru no Go books got swiped. This JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN. Check out books and lose them, sure. Have them fall off the combine and run over, you bet ya. But swiped? Never. Evidently one of my students had too many books out and he REALLY NEEDED to read #4. So he squirreled it away in his sweatshirt. He got 'outed' pretty quickly (the student body was outraged) and returned the book. The Hiraru no Go series was among the top 10 books circulated during the 2nd semester of school. Top 5 for the last 9 weeks.
“Next year, If I can get a nucleus of students who know the game well enough to teach others, I'm going to print off small Go boards and give the kids crayons (unsupervised chips tend to turn into mini Frisbees; markers turn into makeup) and have them play during lunch. Lunch can be a hard time with lots of discipline referrals. I'm hoping that playing Go will reduce the problem behaviors. Go is also waay cheaper. Printed out sheets and two color marking tools are all you need. Go has been good for us this year. Some of my students want to go to a competition next year. I'm hoping we can make it. A student ran up me this afternoon and gasped, ‘Mrs. Stewart! Did you know about the agfgo website! (pant pant) . . . It's so cool!' He'll be at the local public library this weekend, studying Go . Who would have guessed that Go would catch on so well in a tiny rural town where hogs out number humans?” -- a version of this story first appeared in The American Go E-Journal .
PENN STATE STUDIES GO FOR MILITARY RELEVANCE
At Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), Stan Aungst is employing Go to help students gain new insight and new methods for countering attacks — cyber and physical, both foreign and domestic — and to hone new cognitive skills for the 21st century. “We're using the game as a training ground to think strategically and tactically,” said Aungst, a senior lecturer for security and risk analysis (SRA) and senior research associate for the Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion Center in a press release . Aungst's course, “Using Serious Games to Promote Strategic Thinking and Analysis,” shows students how to think visually about attacks, attack patterns, and spatial analysis with individual performance evaluation via interactive virtual scenarios/missions and gaming. Paul Wright, president of the State College Go Club, recently demonstrated the game for the students in the class.
John Hill, a lecturer who assists Aungst, said the class is a “significant departure” from any other courses that the college has offered. “ Go is the means for analyzing widely divergent problems, and for developing effective tactics and strategies to address those problems by means of conversion rather than elimination,” Hill said. Joe Cho, a student in the class, likes the fact that Go is “more about efficiency” than other board games such as chess, since the goal is to capture territory using as few “stones” as possible. “The lessons are more applicable to today's military situation,” he said. Aungst will administer a test measuring individuals' ability to predict cyber and physical attacks at the end of the course and compare the results with those from students who took the test last year, but had no Go instruction. –
reprinted from The American Go E-Journal .
ATLANTA SCHOOL DEVELOPS CRITICAL THINKING
An Atlanta school is hoping that Go will help its low-income students develop their critical thinking skills. At the Dekalb PATH Academy, in Atlanta GA, “our students are 76% Hispanic, 20% African-American and 87% are classified as low-income by federal government standards,” reports Assistant Principal Graham Balch, who launched the project. Balch says that at Dekalb “we have helped our children overcome the disadvantage of poverty,” noting that the school outperforms every other non-selective middle school in the local school system. “However, while we have done a good job of teaching them content, in my opinion, they still are behind on developing their analytical critical thinking.” Balch is hoping to change that by working with a group of teachers to teach the game of Go . “Our students learned and played Go for 70 minutes a day in class for three weeks,” he reports. “Our kids have loved playing Go . They come in the morning and get out boards right away, we teach them how to play and technique in class, and they play, and play, in tutorial after school. It has been incredible hearing them tell us at first that ‘it's easy' and then a couple days later that ‘man, this game is really getting hard.'” Balch, who says that “we look forward to seeing the impact Go has on students' critical thinking and global perspective,” adds that “I am so grateful for the American Go Foundation and None Redmond for making this possible,” and is hopeful that go may spread in Georgia schools next year. The project wrapped up the school year with a single-elimination tournament that drew 80 students. “Malcolm Ramey 30k won the tournament,” said a proud Balch. - reprinted from The American Go E-Journal, by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Graham Balch.