The American Go Foundation Newsletter
"Each One Teach One"
Vol. 1 Number 4 Winter 2010

Happy New Year! We would like to wish you a happy and productive year, and we hope that means teaching lots of Go. We will continue doing our part to support your efforts in every possible way. In this issue you will learn about a new shipment of Go World magazines, available only to organizers and AGA chapters; we will tell you how we can help you apply for your own foundation grant; you'll find a free link to lots of short, classroom-timed Flashmedia instructional video; and more. Enjoy!

A vast archive of first-rate Go study materials is now available to AGF programs and AGA chapters, through a generous donation from Kiseido Publications of more than 12,000 back issues of Go World magazine. With 120 issues in print since it was founded in 1977 by Richard Bozulich and John Power, Go World is the ultimate “evergreen” publication. Every page of game analysis and instruction can help increase your strength just as much now as when it was first published. Eligible programs and clubs can order copies of back issues from #44 (Summer 1986) to #102 (Autumn 2004), more than thirty issues in all. Each issue focuses on detailed analysis of between ten and fifteen games from important tournaments, with many additional features -- problems, tips, book-length instructional serials, essays, cultural and historical writings and more, enough to support years of productive study.  Various special offers are available, from a “Sampler” of five issues to “The Whole Enchilada” of 32 issues, more than 2000 pages of playing wisdom. Click here for more information.


During President Obama’s December trip to Asia, among the ceremonial gifts he presented to Chinese President Hu Jin-tao was a goban handcrafted in the US. The board itself was made of koa,  the second-most common tree in Obama’s native Hawaii, by master carpenter Frank Salantrie of North Carolina.  AGA president Allan Abramson had seen a board Salantrie had made for the 2006 US Go Congress, in the shape of North Carolina (above right), and asked him to make the board Obama wanted. The gift also included a set of stones donated by Feng Yun, the well-known 9-Dan professional who now lives in the US, which were contained in handblown glass bowls from California. Ms. Feng received the stones in recognition of her achievements as part of the China National Weiqi (go) Team. (See more photos on Facebook and Fotorocket.) Ms. Feng said she felt honored to give them “as an expression of continuing friendship between the United States and China.” “Perhaps this gift expresses the President's respect for China's long history," suggests Abramson in The American Go E-Journal. “And that the traditional Western competitive model has room for the cooperation and balance so prized in Go and China.” If so, President Obama acted in accord with advice given to a previous President, George H. W. Bush,  by The New York Times in an 1992 editorial entitled “When The President Passes Go.” The gift inspired some speculation in the world press; click here to see some of the coverage.

Have you ever wished you could apply for grants to support your project? Now you can, through the AGF’s new “fiscal agency” program. Just complete the approval process, and we become your "fiscal agent." Earmarked contributions to your approved program become tax-deductible, a boon for individuals. In addition, corporations and foundations often prefer to deal with a known corporate entity—that’s where we come in. Thousands of businesses and charities give away billions each year; somewhere out there, there's a good fit for your program. We want to help you find good funding sources and develop proposals to secure directed funds for your project. Click here to learn how to look for money, and how we can help if you need it.  Special thanks go to Roger Schrag of the Bay Area Go Players Association for helping us develop the process, and for making BAGPA the first beneficiary of this program.


The AGF is doing more than ever to connect with schools, libraries and community-based youth programs. As a result we sent 120 Starter Sets to new programs last year, a 30% increase. Each Starter Set contains enough materials to get up to 24 players started. We increased support for developing programs as well, opening a special Teacher Store, continuing our Matching Grant program and in many other ways. Despite severe economic times, players and supporters responded strongly to our recent fund raising drive. Every few years, the AGA permits us to send an appeal to current and former AGA members. They do not share the list with us -- we give them the final appeal and they send it out, so no one's privacy is compromised. We used e-mail this time instead of "snail mail," saving more than $2K in printing and mailing costs. We were delighted to see that the response is comparable to past mail drives, with dozens of donors stepping forward. Between the AGA drive and our appeal to our own list of friends and supporters, we have raised more than $13K so far. Across the country, programs like yours are helping kids to improve, and many parents are grateful for the fine work you are doing. Perhaps some of the more involved parents in your Go program would be willing to to provide tax-deductible financial support -- especially if they know their funds will help other children to reap the benefits of a Go program. Click here to download an appeal that is specifically addressed to the parents of the kids you're working with. For more information, write to us at

It’s time to start selecting the 2010 AGF Teacher of the Year, an excellence award that comes with an all-expenses paid trip to The US Go Congress. To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching Go to children for at least two hours a week for two years, have started a Go youth program, and have helped them enter any available tournaments. In recent years, winners have far exceeded these requirements, some running several programs at once.  Click here for more information. To nominate someone for this award, please write to The final selection will be made in the spring.

Calling all high school seniors and juniors who have made an outstanding contribution to their local Go communities: apply for The AGF College Scholarship, a $1000 award for college-bound students.  The ideal candidate has started clubs and/or made a significant contribution to promoting Go, especially in areas lacking a strong community of players. Playing strength is not a factor. To be eligible, a student must be a US citizen, age 20 or younger, and planning to go to college. Special consideration is given to students who have helped to organize new programs. Beyond the small financial stipend, this prestigious scholarship helps the winner stand out from the competition during the college admission process. Click here  for more information.

Here’s a series of nineteen animated videos, with cartoon characters explaining the basics in a way that appeals to children. They’re from Baduktopia,  publishers of the Level Up!, Essential Life and Death, and Jeongsook (Joseki) Compass, high-interest workbooks designed to appeal to young players.  Click here for a list of videos. To play them, you have to login – select a video by clicking the check box on the left, then click on the name of the video.Use "baduktopia1"  as both your User ID and password when a dialog box comes up asking for them in Korean. Play them at your meetings/lessons and discuss them or let your students use them at home.  We are very grateful to Baduktopia for providing this outstanding resource to the Go-playing community.

Western Go has had a short but interesting history, and now students of Go history and culture can study facsimiles of two of the oldest books in English on the subject. Before Kiseido, Ishi Press, Samarkand or Yutopian, before Edward Lasker, there was Arthur Smith’s 1908 The Game of Go: The National Game of Japan, the first book in English on the subject. It was based on Das Go Spiel, written as a series of articles in German by Otto Korschelt in 1880-81.The chapter on Go history is particularly interesting, written before the creation of the Japan Go Association, at a time when komi was still unknown – in those times players would often answer queries as to whether they had won by saying, "I had Black."  In 1956, Smith’s book was picked up by Tuttle, a mainstream publisher specializing in Eastern subjects, and stayed on bookstore shelves for decades. Click here to download a PDF facsimile, or click here to buy a copy online for as little as $1 plus shipping. In 1911, Horace Cheshire published The Game of Goh or Wei Chi. Click here to download a PDF of this manuscript. Cheshire’s attempts to anglicize some Go concepts, such as calling ko “seesaw,” seem a bit quaint, while game records moves are simply listed as coordinates – diagrams with numbered stones and intersections were difficult to produce before the advent of computers. You won't get much stronger from reading these books, but they provide an interesting window into the time when Americans were first awakening to many things European. Impressionism, modern classical music and psychoanalysis, like Go, first came into view in America during that time through European eyes. There's an interesting essay assignment in there somewhere . . .

Click here to return to the Sensei Index.

Managing Editor: Roy Laird

Associate Editors: Paul Barchilon, Terry Benson