The American Go Foundation Newsletter
"Each One Teach One"
Number 6 Spring 2010

SHEN, SU WIN AGF SCHOLARSHIP Cherry Shen 6d, and David Su 1d, have been chosen for the 2010 AGF College Scholarship. The $1,000 awards are presented each year to outstanding youth who have been active Go organizers or teachers. “Although I enjoy the competitiveness of Go,” said Shen, “there are other aspects of the game that I enjoy just as much: volunteering, teaching kids, and meeting a diverse group of people bridged by one game.” Su, an active high school organizer in the San Francisco Bay Area, told the Journal “I started playing G o in seventh grade and then joined my school's go club in freshmn year, but I did not foresee that I would be leading the club two years later.”

Shen taught Go to elementary school children in the LA area. In her application essay, she recounts some of her experiences: “amongst the young faces stood out a very special character, a young boy named Shin. It was obvious that he was extremely clever; however, he was born handicapped: loss of vocal cords and poor motor skills. At first I thought I would have to pay extra attention to him, but when I began to teach everyone, Shin caught on just fine and was even very interested in go. Because he usually had special treatment, I felt successful in that through go, he could have the same playing field as his peers. That in itself felt like an accomplishment, showing him a game where he was not at a disadvantage; even though communication may be a problem, words can be spoken through the movement of stones.”

Further north in California, Su was hard at work at Saratoga High School. “ I eagerly inherited a meager club my junior year and took the reigns,” said Su, “that year, the club designed and produced its first t-shirt, hosted its own intra-club tournament, represented Saratoga High School in three tournaments, and published its own newsletter.” The following year, with the collapse of the stock market, the Ing Foundation cut all funding to the US go community. Among the losses was the annual California High School Team Tournament. Su was undeterred however: “I entered a whole new platform of leadership when I enlisted a group of local high school Go presidents, and found multiple financial sponsors, to host the debut Bay Area High School Go Tournament, fielding a competition with 24 high school players in 3 brackets. I have been able to keep in contact with most of the Go Clubs via Facebook and my hope is that with help from the Bay Area Go Player's Association, and future high school leaders, the high school community will strengthen and the games popularity will trickle down through middle and elementary schools. My drive to popularize and legitimize go among youth in America stems from my belief that it is not your everyday board game, it is a marvel mental exercise.” – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photos by David Su and Cherry Shen

AGF Invests $16K In Supplies

We are happy to report that we have received a shipment of $16,000 worth of equipment and supplies. The warehouse is bulging with a variety of new materials for your programs. Need a demo board? We found some terrific magnetic roll-up boards . They're portable, durable – and cheap! $100 for 9X9, $200 for 19X19 pictured right). For do-it-yourselfers who prefer to make your own demo board , we also ordered lots of magnetic stones . Order as many as you want for $.25 each. (150 each of black and white should suffice for most purposes.) 9x9 cardboard sets are also back in stock. We found a better supplier and so have slashed the price to $1/each. We hope we're ready for the coming year – actually, we hope we're not! We would love to have to place another order soon. Many thanks to Xi Xie, Paul Barchilon and Marilyn Campbell for seeing through the complex process of organizng a shipment from various Chinese suppliers.

Have you visited the AGF Teacher Store lately? If not, have a look. We've reorganized the content to make it easier to find what you want and need among our growing inventory. All playing equipment , teaching equipment and miscellaneous items have been regrouped by function. We hope this makes it easier for you to find what you're looking for.

“It took begging on my knees to get into schools,” said “Su Co” Marjorie Hey 19k (r), the Buddhist nun who is also the American Go Foundation's Teacher of the Year , in a Monday afternoon presentation about her methods of teaching go. Once she did get into schools, though, teachers “found that the kids that were playing go were behaving better in classes — suddenly I was very popular.” Double-digit kyus make better teachers, she said, because they don't complicate things. “If you give the students too much information, they'll get confused, and they probably won't come back.” She is not a fan of “capture go” as a teaching method, because “by the time you get around to showing them all the rules, they've lost interest,” so she teaches the full rules of go. Hey said that she ensures that new players win their first game, no matter what, because they won't come back if they don't enjoy it, and “worse yet they won't tell anyone.” David Weiss 2D, a devoted teacher from Colorado, agreed that capture go is not a good tool because “kids in general only want to capture — it's like throwing gasoline on a fire.” But John Greiner 6k pointed out that the biggest advantage of capture go “is that they know when the game is over.” Hey doesn't like 9×9 boards — they're too crowded and players don't get room to experiment — so she moves people up to 13×13 after two or three games. In addition to the traditional names for the fourth line (“influence line”) and third line (“territory line”), she added names for the second (“losing line”) and first (“dead line”) to help her students avoid them.

For new students, Hey feels it's important not to “let them leave empty-handed,” so she gives out The Way to Go, paper boards, and various other handouts so that students have something to read as well as a way to play before the next meeting. It is important to recognize that different kinds of students have different needs, Hey said. Adults “need to be assured that they are learning something worthwhile,” while kids want to start playing “before they know where the stones go.” Presenting some go history and the names of famous players is useful when introducing adults, but not for kids. In addition to her presentation, Hey also brought a lot of her teaching materials (r) to show to the other teachers. Visit the "Instructional Aids" section of the AGA Teacher Support Page to download a printable 9x9 board, a class sign-in sheet, small-board recording sheets and much more. -- adapted from reports in The American Go E-Journal by Paul Barchilon and Jake Edge/photos by Jake Edge


Are you on Facebook? If so, have a look at the AGF's new page. It's part of an overall strategy to help teachers, librarians and organizers learn how we can help them to build communities of players with material support, guidance, and more. We hope you will become a fan, and encourage your friends to visit, too. Even if you don't plan to organize a Go program, someone may stumble across us while visiting your page. Even if they don't visit, your Facebook friends will know you have good taste!


We all know that playing games like Go and chess is good for mental development. Now a team of Korean scientists has shown that actual physical changes can occur in the brain as well. They studied “learning induced neural plasticity” by comparing fMRIs of skilled Go players with inexperienced players. They found that “long-term trained Baduk (Korean for Go) players developed larger regions of white matter . . . that are related to attentional control, working memory, executive regulation, and problem-solving.” They concluded that these changes “ might be helpful for improving higher-order cognitive capacities, such as learning, abstract reasoning, and self-control, which can facilitate education and cognitive therapies,” although perhaps not to Talosian (l.) standards . . . See the recent E-Journal article for more details and discussion.

New resources for Go players and teachers include numerous books, listed and described recently in The American Go E-Journal, and at least one new series of videos. An American 3D, a Korea pro and a chess master all published new books for beginners this year; see the recent EJ article to learn more. For the more serious player, John Fairbairn added three new volumes to his growing body of work, in which he translates and consolidates material and analysis concerning some of the most famous games and matches of the 20th century, especially those featuring Go Seigen.The recent EJ article has details.Several other interesting titles have also recently become available -- you guessed it, see the recent EJ article to read about them. On the Internet, Bat's Lectures is a new series of streaming video presentations for beginners; let us know what you think!

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

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