The American Go Foundation Newsletter
"Each One Teach One"
Vol. 1 Number 2 Winter 2009

Hello Again!

Welcome to the second edition of Sensei , the AGF's newsletter for teachers and enthusiasts who want to tell the world about Go. We weren't planning to publish another issue until May or so, but so much is happening, we can't wa it to tell you all about it!

In this issue:

  • AGF Announces College Merit Scholarship
  • Starter CD 5.0 Is Now Avavilable as Disc or Download
  • Young Adult Librarians Discover Us
  • Go World Original Editions at $.03/page?
  • New Study Says Go Helps Child Development
  • We Reach Out to Teachers With Special Ad
  • Kifu Paper Added To Starter Set, Online Store
  • Go Clubs Online: Our Latest Partner
  • New Materials and Links
Please keep sending your lesson plans, experiences, and suggestions. This newsletter depends on you!

AGF College Merit Scholarship

The American Go Foundation has created a competitive merit scholarship program of $1000 to recognize high school students who have been important youth organizers and promoters for the Go community. Students vying for the AGF College Scholarship must complete the AGF College Scholarship Application and describe their accomplishments and volunteer work in a short essay. Letters of recommendation may also be included. Students who have started clubs and promoted Go in areas where there is not a current, strong Go community will be considered more highly than those who have assisted in already established areas. Those applicants whose enthusiasm and ambition spread Go in under-served areas have greatly helped the American Go community. Strong players who spend much of their time voluntarily teaching will also be considered, although the award is focused more on Go promoters and organizers who have continually contributed during their Go career. To learn more and download the application form, click here .

Starter CD: A Free Download And A Book Deal

The new, improved AGA Starter CD 5.0 is out, and we do mean out. Requests are coming in from all over, and we've decided to make it as freely available as possible. The AGA will provide a free copy to any full AGA member, and up to 20 per chapter; just write to with “Starter CD” in the subject line and your address in the message. Every AGF Starter Set now includes one, and additional copies are available to approved teaching programs through The AGF Teacher Store for $1/each. Many people are making their own copies for friends who don't have high-speed access by downloading the entire contents , all 388 MB. The artwork is also available, so the copies you distribute can look just like the original. Peter Shotwell's popular book, Go Basics , also included the CD when it was published in 2006; the second edition, now in press, will contain the updated CD as well. If you're curious, click here to browse the contents. Please send your comments and ideas, so we can make 6.0 even better.

Welcome Young Adult Librarians!
A few weeks ago, we suddenly received fifteen requests for Starter Sets, in a three-day period, from young adult librarians at community libraries. It turns out that someone had mentioned our support program on the American Library Association 's discussion forum for young adult librarians. In these days of online everything, libraries are struggling to remain relevant; hosting clubs that use library resources is an important solution. Through the AGF, libraries with active Go programs receive free equipment to get started, and matching grants and vendor discounts to help them build a respectable “Go” section their shelves. Recognizing a new category of potential partners out there, we immediately put together a special AGF page for librarians . At a cost per Starter Set of roughly $65, the AGF has invested about $1000 in this initiative so far. If you're having a hard time getting started in a school, talk to your local young adult librarian. "The support that the American Go Foundation (AGF) has given us has been invaluable," says Teen Services Librarian Stephanie Squicciarini, from the Fairport (New York) Public Library. "With library budgets being hit hard, we might not otherwise be able to offer Go as a programming option for our teen patrons and their families, and seeing teens and parents learning, playing, and enjoying the game together would be so missed."

Go World At $.03 Per Page??

Several years ago, The American Go Association acquired a large inventory of vintage editions of Go World magazine . Now they're partnering with the AGF to make five issues of this great magazine free to everyone who joins or renews their membership. You can also purchase some issues and receive a free trial membership. If you've ever seen a copy of Go World , you know that each 8x10 issue is packed with at least 64 pages of game commentary, instructional material and more. Each cover features classic Asian art. (Pictured: the cover of #76, an 1874 oban print by Gyosai in which the courtesans of Hell dream of skeletons playing Go.) Original editions of fifteen issues are now available to US residents for just $2/issue. That's less than the per-issue cost ($2.50) of the digital versions , and a small fraction of the $10/issue price by subscription. Click here to learn more about what's available, and order yours. The AGA and AGF are grateful to the publisher, Kiseido Press , and especially to Richard Bozulich and editor John Power, for making this offer, and Go World itself, possible. (Offer expires 3/30/09)

AGF Reaches Out To Teachers Of Gifted And Talented Children

We're expanding our outreach to teachers with an advertising campaign, starting with an ad in Teaching for High Potential , a newsletter published by the National Association for Gifted Children . Our goal is to reach game-oriented teachers, not necessarily Go players, who might make good use of the Classroom Starter Set. We started with this publication, not because we think only gifted children can learn Go, but because we're told that teachers of gifted students are often trend-setters in a school. They're often the first to try something different, and if it works, other teachers join in. How else can we reach out to the teaching community? We're probably not ready for the NEA Journal, with a circulation of 2.7 million; we would need a more substantial funding base for that level of demand. But what other “niche” teacher magazines might reach the right teachers? Send us your suggestions as we expand this outreach program.

Study Shows Go Aids Development

Extensive chess studies tell us that games can help the mind to develop more fully, but does Go work too? That's the question Baromi Kim asked in her recent doctoral dissertation at Kyung Hee University, according to the Joongang newspaper. In an article published in January and added to the Hankuk Kiwon website in February, it was reported that Dr. Baroni Kim conducted a study of 68 5-year-olds a t the Deoksoo Elementary School in Seoul, randomly dividing them into two groups. One group received Go instruction for seven months, the other did not; then Dr. Kim retested the 68 first graders. Both groups improved on most measures, but those who studied Go achieved 50% larger gains. Click here to learn more about this important study.

Go Clubs Online

Do you want to maintain detailed records on your club while also giving members a chance to learn transferable online database management skills? If so, this service offers many options and is available to approved programs for 2/3 the regular price of $99/year. Programs can use matching funds for this purpose. Please welcome our new partner with a visit to their website .

Kifu Paper Added To Starter Set, Teacher Store

Recording and analyzing your games is a good way to improve, and many teachers get requests from serious students for kifu paper to record their games. Now it's available! Hinoki Press , the prolific producer of new English-language Go books, has produced and donated pads of kifu paper to the AGF. A pad is now included in every Starter Set, and they are on sale in the Teacher Store, $2 per pad of 50 sheets. As you see from the partial image on the right, these sheets are designed so that move numbers go in open boxes rather than on intersections, making them easier to read.

New Additions And Submissions

Last issue, we asked you to send in your lesso n plans and other materials. Thanks for your submissions! Which included:

A Curriculum for Beginners
Peter Freedman and Fritz Balwit spell out how to introduce non-players to the game in seven detailed lessons, with specific goals, activities and talking points. This is a beta version -- if you try, please send feedback to Peter.

One Page Summary of AGA Rules
Peter Drake developed this simple summary of AGA rules for use with beginners.

Concepts In Go
Twelve-page discussion of basic concepts for neginners by Ian Davis.

The Three Little Players
Davis also sent us this parody of the classic fairy tale, which we offer with suggested related classroom activities.

We've also added a few interesting new links to our list of methods and materials :

Video Go Tutorial : This four part series for the serious novice runs a little under two hours. Click on the name to view Part I , Part II , Part IIIA and Part IIIB .

Dariush 3D -- Free Download for Beginners
Animated avatars race a cross the board to place their stones in this lively piece of freeware, which plays both "AtariGo" (Capture Go) and Go on a 9x9 board, offering three levels of expertise and was developed specifically to appeal to children. Dariush, another free download that plays 19X19, is also available.

A Game of Go
Pianist/composer Haskell Small wrote this musical interpretation of a classic game for two pianos, to be played while the game itself unfolds on a screen. Small and other artists have performed the work numerous times, in the US and abroad; now it is available on YouTube for all to enjoy. Students who are familiar with Go might write some interesting essays about it!

Elwyn Berlekamp's Coupon Go
Dr. Berlekamp, a UC Berkeley math professor, developed this variation as part of an effort to measure the exact value of Go moves. Does it work? How else might one tackle this problem? These questions could form the basis for an interesting lesson with your older math students. Further sophisticated mathematical analysis of Go games can be found in Dr. Berlekamp's book Chilling Gets the Last Point , and in Games of Chance and More Games of No Chance , two collections of downloadable scholarly papers on the eponymous subject, published by The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.

“Pure Intelligence”
Congratulations to British player and promoter Peter Wendes for arranging of this article in Sublime magazine , a popular British magazine that can also be found in the US. Wendes also arranged for us to make this pdf available.

Got a story, lesson plan, favorite link you'd like to share with other teachers? Send it in!

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Managing Editor: Roy Laird
Associate Editors: Paul Barchilon, Terry Benson

Text material published in Sensei may be freely reproduced, as long as you credit " Sensei : The American Go Foundation Newsletter" as the source and hotlink to the AGF home page if possible. Articles appearing in Sensei represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the American Go Foundation.