The American Go Foundation Newsletter
"Each One Teach One"
Vol. 1 Number 3 Fall 2009

Back to School Issue

Welcome back! We hope you had a great summer, and that you are getting a good start on the new year. We also hope you returned to your school, library or community program with a renewed love for this great game! As you plan your activities for the year, we want to make sure you know about some exciting new tools. And don't miss our intrview with 2009 TOTY Joshua Frye: He's got some great ideas, for instance on how to use Go as an incentive in the classroom. In this issue:

  • Free Sets of Hikaru No Go Manga for Libraries

  • An Interview with 2009 AGF Teacher of the Year Joshua Frye

  • A Profile of 2009 AGF Scholarship Winner Lawrence Ku

  • Korean College Offers Baduk Degree

  • The Level Up Series: Step by Step Go for Kids of All Ages

  • Exciting New Prizes/Incentives in the AGF Store

  • Beef Up Your Prize Supply with Free Anime

  • Huge Go World Back Issue Offer Coming Up

The American Go Association has received a generous donation of 100 complete sets (vols. 1-17) of HIkaru No Go manga, a cash value of more than $13,000. The AGF will distribute these sets to school and youth libraries around the country for the cost of shipping, on a first-come, first-served basis. The donor, Winston Jen, is an Australian anime fan and translator who lives in Hong Kong. " Hikaru no Go has contributed so much happiness to my life," Jen told Sensei, "I wanted to give something back to as many people as possible." Jen describes himself as "someone who fansubs slice-of-life anime that no one else translates." Indeed, his latest project Perrine Monogatari is based on En Famille , a 19th century French novel by Hector Malot. Visit C1Anime for a sample. If you'd like your school or community youth library to acquire a set of Hikaru , tell your local librarian to contact us at about this special offer.

An Interview with Joshua Frye

“I never intended to be a Go player,” said Joshua Frye, the 2009 AGF Teacher of the Year, when he spoke to aspiring teachers and other interested participants at the US Go Congress last month. “A good friend basically forced me to learn it. After several months of pestering, he wore me down. But then I was hooked.” As an avid student of martial arts, Josh saw and appreciated the Asian values associated with the game -- respect for one's opponent, the interplay of opposing forces. And as a 6th grade teacher in a Fort Myers, FL public school, he saw the potential for his classroom, first as a supplement to the math curriculum, then as much more. “I was surprised by the near-unanimous enthusiasm my students had for the game. Almost everyone wanted to learn and play more, and soon even the holdouts were playing. Every Monday, I assign my class their work for the week. If they finish early, they get free time to do other specific approved activities. Most of the class was so interested in Go, they began finishing their work more quickly to earn free time for play and study.” He also began running tournaments with AccelRat, a free download that calculates pairings for tournaments and uses the results to calculate player ratings. Josh was interested and surprised to note that as time went on, he had fewer classroom management issues. Before long he had integrated Go into all subjects in his curriculum.

“Our school has an ‘Open House' every year,” Josh said, “where students and teachers demonstrate and teach various activities they enjoy. My class presented Go, and lots more kids wanted to learn.” He estimated that he has taught 400 students to play. “Even if only a few dozen students continue playing, the rest know about it and may pick it up later, or at least will recognize it when they see it.” Josh found posters about “The Game of the Century” and “Live Shapes” and put them on display in the hall. Students who learn how to play earn certificates. Soon he formed The Fort Myers Go Club, now the largest Go club in Florida! More than 50 students played in his last tournament, a “Go For Dough” event at a nearby regional park. The Fort Myers USYGC Qualifying Tournament attracted more than 40 players. Winners received special Go-themed trophies and over $600 in prizes. To keep things lively, sometimes Josh intersperses silly activities, such as “Balloon Relay Team Go,” in which stones are placed some distance from the board and members of each team take turns grabbing a stone, approaching the board while carrying a balloon between their legs, and placing a move. Other prizes included the “Most Stylishly Placed Stone” award.

When Josh's school became accredited as an International Baccalaureate School he took the next step and won approval for his Go curriculum, so that now students who learn Go as an “exploratory” at his school get internationally recognized academic credits for doing so. While he has a large, successful program, he still hasn't stopped promoting and publicizing. “New people are the life of your club,” he says. “If you're not bringing in new players, especially youth, the club will not grow! Club organizers must think of unusual ways to get new players. Getting involved with local schools and libraries are what made our club succeed.” Josh would love to hear your comments, questions and ideas, so e-mail him at if you're interested in more information.

Lawrence Ku 6d is the first recipient of the new annual AGF College Scholarship. The $1,000 award recognizes outstanding local or national high school organizers. Playing strength is not a criterion. Ku, 18, has created and directed events on the national level and has helped to direct existing tournaments. This year he branched out even further, organizing the first cross -Atlantic youth tournament, with participants from the Ukraine, Russia, France, Serbia, Poland, Germany, and Israel competing against youth from the US and Canada. As the West Coast reporter for the E-Journal, Ku has written many stories over the past few years, frequently serving double duty as both a contestant and a reporter. Ku has also been active locally, leading his high school Go club, Mission San Jose. For the past three years, MSJ has placed first in the California High School Goe Club Tournament, and in 2008 they went on to a national win in the Ing School Team Tournament. Ku has also been teaching children at his local Chinese school how to play Go for several years. "Although still a youth himself, Lawrence already exemplifies a commitment to the next generation," reports AGF VP Paul Barchilon. "With leaders like Lawrence, there will always be a new crop of strong young Go players, and this is exactly the type of service the AGF Scholarship was designed to reward."

A Bachelor of Arts in Baduk Studies – that's what Seoul-based Myungji University's Department of Baduk Studies, has conferred on hundreds of students from all over the world in the past ten years. Serious young Go players who are looking for an interesting "Junior Year Abroad" -- or more -- may be surprised to learn how easy it is to enroll. "Foreign students are welcome, as long as they're serious ," says Daniela Trinks, a graduate and one of the first candidates in Myungi-ji's new Masters program. Most importantly, students should have some familiarity with Korean, because courses are taught in that language - although foreign students can receive and complete their assignments in English. (Several faculty members speak excellent English.) Myung-ji U offers a special Introduction to Korean during the summer for incoming students. "No one fails who puts in the work," according to Trinks. Foreign students are also eligible for a 70% scholarship, so that tuition works out to about $1000 per semester. With some Korean fluency, it should be possible to teach English for extra income to cover living expenses.

The department also sponsors the annual International Conference on Baduk, where scholars present research in history, sociology, game theory, computer technology, psychology and other areas. The fifth such conference will occur in Korea in October; participating scholars will receive a partial stipend. More than 100 students are currently enrolled in the program, which produced more than twenty graduates this spring. "People often think that the program aims to increase the playing strength of students," Trinks said. "Actually, the goal is to build a body of scholarly work and research." - reprinted from The American Go E-Journal

Teachers and parents who want to introduce Go to children have dreamed of colorful, engaging, easy-to-use teaching materials. Now that dream has become a reality, thanks to Baduktopia, a Seoul-based publisher of books in English. The heart of the books is an extensive, comprehensive, carefully crafted series of easy-to-solve problems, bringing the aspiring player along slowly but surely, repeating a series of related fundamental points, then reviewing them. Lee Jae-hwan, the author, developed the "Level Up!" approach by trial and error during twenty years of teaching Korean children full-time at his Go studio. Adults can also benefit from the thorough, systematic repetition of fundamentals. After many other teachers asked to use Mr. Lee's materials, he decided to publish them, and Yoo Chang-hyuk 9P, one of the world's top players, agreed to supervise the production. Colorful illustrations are interspersed throughout each large format 168-page book, along with illustrated discussion of rules, concepts, and even manners, all presented in a way specially designed to hold the young student's attention. "These books are tremendously appealing to kids," reports Go Congress Youth Director Paul Barchilon. "The colorful cartoons, fast paced action, and simple diagrams are a winning combination. Baduktopia translator Lee Seong-Keun did a live presentation in the Congress Youth Room and had some 20 kids shooting their hands up, just begging to be called on. He knows how to make kids excited, and this ability is clearly carried over into the books." Congress youth described the books as "awesome," "cool," and more directly: "can I use my gift certificates to buy these?"

The "Level Up!" series contains twice as many problems as other books of comparable size - because there are no answers! Translators Lee Seong-gun and Daniela Trinks explained that most Korean teachers are 5D or better, so they already know the solutions! However, less adept instructors can download the solutions from here. The first twelve books are available in English from Yellow Mountain Imports and Slate and Shell. Click on each book for a detailed description of the contents. In coming months, two other sets will take up where "Level Up!" left off: "Jump Level Up!" and "High Level Up!," for a total of more than thirty systematic workbooks, as well as two other five-volume-plus-review sets for more advanced players -- "Essential Life And Death" and "Joseki Jeongseok Compass." If you're an AGF-approved program, don't forget to ask for your 15% discount. - reprinted from The American Go E-Journal

Now that the AGF store offers just about everything the well-equipped teacher/organizer could want, we're focusing on students by adding Go-related items that can serve as prizes or incentives for completing a course of study, while also telling the world about our favorite game.

Kids love patches and stickers, so we've added some of each to the store (above). There's also a limited supply of totally cool Go-themed stickers from Japan. All items available exclusively from the AGF store.

We recently acquired a stock of about 100 beautifully done prints from the Nihon Kiin. How would a beautiful Go-themed image look in your classroom, youth reading room or community center? The answer's easy – not only do these historic prints look great, they attract attention to your Go program. Click here to learn more and choose among six striking images. $5 each while supplies last.

As if the Hikaru no Go manga wasn't enough, Winston Jen also donated numerous copies of four popular anime DVDs for use as prizes in upcoming AGA-rated youth tournaments. In Hunter x Hunter, a young boy follows in his father's footsteps. This “shonen” (male-oriented anime) contains mature content and is recommended for ages 16 and up. The other three are “shojo” (female-oriented anime) rated for ages 13 and up. In Fruits Basket a young girl meets the animals from the Chinese zodiac. Kodo cha features an eleven-year-old TV star trying to lead a normal life. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an anime movie; 100 copies of the manga will also appear as prizes in coming youth events. Organizers of AGA-rated youth tournaments should contact for more information.

Did you take advantage of the AGA membership offer earlier this year that included free back issues of Go World magazine? If you did, you know that Go World is the ultimate resource for the serious player, with comments on top games and great teaching material. So you will be excited to learn that the publisher has generously donated an additional 10,000 back issues to The American Go Foundation. This donation includes up to 70 different issues, many of which were not available in the previous offer. In the next few weeks, we'll be taking a complete inventory and making them available to AGF-approved teaching programs at a reasonable cost. Stay tuned!

back to Sensei index

Want to help us promote Go in the US? Click here to learn how to help us. We depend on support from players like you. Click here to view previous issues of this newsletter.

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.