The American Go Foundation Newsletter
"Each One Teach One"
Number 8 Fall 2011
WELCOME YOUTH LIBRARIANS!
Sensei is delighted to greet more than 100 new subscribers, youth librarians from all over the US who learned about us through our booth at the American Library Association Convention in New Orleans in June. You join hundreds of librarians, teachers and other Go lovers who rely on the AGF for support and read Sensei to become more effective organizers and promoters. In this issue you'll learn why Henry Kissinger refers to Go repeatedly in his new book, why female pros are protesting gender discrimination, how to share Hikaru No Go with anyone for free, and more. You'll also see a profile of AGF Teacher of The Year Fritz Balwit and see the winners of the first International Go Art contest, and more!
HENRY KISSINGER: CAN WEIQI HELP ACHIEVE WORLD PEACE?
For centuries, people have used weiqi (“Go” in Chinese) as a paradigm for thinking about warfare. In the last few years this way of thinking has become more prominent, mostly due to a paper by Dr. David Lai , a research professor of Asian security studies at the Strategic Studies Institute. In “Learning From the Stones” Dr. Lai notes that, in contrast to the “kill-or-be-killed” stance found in chess -- and often in Western military thinking -- the more complex “compete-and-coexist” relation between Go players can inform a strategic approach that is more suitable for the modern world. It turns out that one of Dr. Lai's fans is Henry Kissinger, who played a key role organizing Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972 . In his new book On China , Kissinger mentions weiqi in thirteen separate contexts. His Go analogy became a talking point when he was interviewed on CNN and NPR . Some reviewers (e.g. The Economist and The Wall Street Journal ) found the references to be of limited relevance. The book also stirred up some discussion and analysis in the Go community. Go historian Peter Shotwell finds the thinking ill-informed ( click here for Shotwell's article), while author/publisher and Kisedo founder Richard Bozulich argues here that China actually pursues a much more “chess-like” approach to world relations. In any case, Go serves well as a basis for many apt analogies.
TAIPEI PROS TAKES ON GENDER DISCRIMINATION
Joanne Missingham , the Australian-born Taiwanese professional player who won promotion to 5P earlier this year, has been causing a bit of a kerfuffle lately, by showing up for her games carrying a fan that says, “Protests Against Gender Discrimination.” Missingham, who plays professionally as Hei Jiajia, was one of four women who dropped out of a recent China-Taiwan pro friendship match when they learned that the men would be paid 2000 yuan per game (about $300), while they would receive nothing. The organizers explained that the male players were invited, while the women's section was open to anyone, but some observers saw this as a cynical rationale merely pointing to another inequality. Why aren't male and female athletes treated equally? More and more these days, the answer is, “Um . . . maybe you have a point.” In pro tennis, for instance, some tournaments now award equal prize money to men and women, although women play fewer sets in grand slams than the men. In mind sports, it seems even more difficult to justify inequality – women may be physically smaller, but are they less inherently aggressive or skilled? Some say that women's Go is less popular, and therefore less attractive to sponsors; while others argue that equality is a more important principle than economics. For more information see the article in GoGameGuru .
GO IN WW II INTERNMENT CAMPS
During World War II, the US government forced more than 110,000 Japanese- American to live in internment camps, due to concerns that arose more from racial prejudice than any actual evidence of sabotage or espionage. This sad episode has been extensively documented: Wikipedia is a good place to start. Internees were instructed not to bring any Japanese cultural items with them, including Go equipment; nonetheless, Go stones have been found by archaeologists excavating the site, according to an article in the May/June issue of Archaeology magazine. Takao Matsuda , the strongest American player in the 1960's and 1970's, credited his skill to the hours he spent playing during his internment. Considering that Japanese imports were denied during the war and internees were only permitted to bring one suitcase, the presence of these materials shows the importance of Go in Japanese culture. The photograph on the left, from The War Authority via The National Archives, shows men playing Go at Wyoming's Heart Mountain internment camp in 1943. To see more photos and artwork by George Hoshida , a camp resident, download Peter Shotwell's article from The Bob High Memorial Library , the foremost Internet archive of historical and literary writing about Go in English.
The AGF is honoring D'Mitri Moore and Jasmine Yan with our annual $1000 College Scholarships. Both of these outstanding young go lovers have made important contributions to American Go. Community involvement is an important factor to college admissions officers; now D'Mitri and Jasmine can use this recognition of and accomplishment on their college applications. D'Mitri started his club in inner-city Detroit and kept it going for four years. "Kids who may have never even noticed each other walking down the hallway were connecting and bonding as if they were friends for years," Moore reports in The American Go E-Journal .
Jasmine, who first encountered Go in China, enrolled in The Feng Yun Go School when her family moved to America. She began teaching go in fifth grade, and started clubs in middle school and high school, while also attaining the rank of 4D, co-directing The AGHS Team Tournament (see next story), playing varsity basketball and serving as President of The American Go Honor Society . Listing this scholarship on college applications helps D'Mitri and Jasmine to make a stronger impression. Do you know someone under 20 years old who is planning to attend college next year? It could be their turn to win a scholarship! Applicants are asked to submit an essay describing their accomplishments and volunteer activity. Click here for details . The application deadline is November 20. Read about former winners in in Sensei #6.
AGHS TEAM TOURNAMENT
More than 50 teams totaling nearly 190 players from America, Mexico, and Canada signed up for the 10th annual North American School Team Tournament to compete online for over $3,000 in prizes provided by the AGF and the AGA. Organized by The American Go Honor Society (AGHS ), the tournament was held on the KGS Go Server over the weekends of March 5 and March 12. Justin Teng, one of the nine officials and a tournament participant, said, ”People were pretty excited and pumped up. They were in quite a competitive spirit, encouraging and rallying their teammates while battling against other schools.” More AGHS tournaments, including the Doubles Tournament for Pair Go, are in the works. Visit the AGHS web site for more information. AGHS Presidents Jack Ye and Jasmine Yan directed the tournament – many thanks to Meredith Leu, Joshua Wu, Ryan Ngoy, Viral Kotecha, Rebecca Cheng, Eric Chen, Tommy Liu, Justin Teng, and Tim McCaffrey for their invaluable assistance! Adapted from an article in The American Go E-Journal .
AGF AND ALA: PERFECT PARTNERS
In June three longtime Go teachers staffed an AGF booth at the American Library Association's (ALA) annual conference in New Orleans. Former AGF Teacher of the Year Vincent Eisman, past AGA President Chris Kirschner and AGF VP Paul Barchilon spent three days with more than 20,000 librarians. Their goal: to show how the AGF can help them to start Go programs, starting with a free 23-volume set of Hikaru No Go manga. Paul reports: “We knew the event was going to be big, but we were shocked at how huge the convention center was. The building itself ran for almost two miles, and the vendor area housed 900 exhibitors. Our booth was in the Graphic Novel/Gaming Pavilion, and once the conference opened, we had a steady stream of visitors. All three of us have done a lot of demos before, but we felt that this was very different. Visitors were not merely casually interested, or just wandering by and curious: they were focused, excited, and looking specifically for ways to engage kids and teens in their libraries.” Noting that most participants seemed to come from relatively nearby states, the team realized that thousands of other librarians will show up for next year's conference in Anaheim, CA. The AGF will be there!
- adapted from The American Go E-Journal article by AGF Vice President Paul Barchilon
IF YOU LIKED THE MANGA, YOU'LL LOVE THE ANIME
Hikaru No Go is also available in anime format, and if you have Netflix , you can view all 75 episodes for free. Non-Netflixers can also find them on Hulu , if you don't mind commercial interruptions (for non-subscribers); or you can purchase the series at $1.99/episode or $19.99 per season on iTunes. The version that appears on all three sites is dubbed in English.
FRITZ BALWIT: THE “PIED PIPER” OF GO
2010 AGF Teacher of the Year Fritz Balwit started showing up on the radar in 2008, according to longtime Oregon organizer Peter Freedman: “For a number of years he had taught chess in the public schools, but he had recently fallen in love -- with Go. . . . Soon all his chess clubs became Go clubs. During 2008 he had clubs in seven schools and exposed more than 125 students to Go. 90 of them played in one of the school Go clubs. Fritz also ran several Go camps during school breaks. I've assisted Fritz teach at many of these schools,” adds Freedman, ”I call him ‘ the pied piper of Go' in Portland. He has a magical way with children. He is gentle, funny, articulate, gives out tons of positive reinforcement, and continually amazes me with the way he explains Go to children, making it more than a game. He talks about how in Go you must share, just as in life. When talking about building a wall, he remarked, ‘If you don't play here, there will be a little hole for a ferret to crawl through. You don't want a ferret running around in your house, do you?” (Actually, Fritz has two ferrets running around his real life house, along with three children ranging from elementary to middle school age, all of whom play Go.) “My selection is a great honor,” says Balwit, “it has been a unique privilege to introduce Go to children. They immediately recognize its magical properties, and are receptive to its aesthetic allure at an intuitive level. I have found that it brings people together in friendly collaboration based on respect and shared appreciation. I hope to continue working with kids in schools and to create a space at our local Go salon where kids can discover the beauty of the game. I teach Go daily at Portland English Language Academy where I also teach English as a second language. We have a very lively group that plays for fun. Many of the Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese students -- mostly young adults a few teens -- are newly introduced to their traditional game. One kid shyly mentioned that his rating was 6 dan; he rolled over all other Oregon players at the next AGA tournament in Salem.” Balwit won an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress in Santa Barbara, where he conducted a special round table for teachers. – adapted from an article in The American Go E-Journal by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Fritz Balwit: Balwit (r) teaching his son Theo (l).
INTERNATIONAL GO ART CONTEST
The First International Go Art Contest, sponsored by the Mexican Go Association, received submissions from the US, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines and India. The goal was to make Go culture flourish among children, and promote it through a creative exchange with a painting contest. There were three age categories A, B and C from 6 to 15 years old, and kids were free to use any technique for their artworks. All the paintings showed the creativity and love that Go inspires in these children. The submissions are all online and can be seen here , including a Special Mention for Takumi Shimada, a four-year-old Japanese boy. Even though he was under age, he submitted a painting showing his love for Go and his will to learn. The Go is Art Painting Contest will be an annual event, so don't hesitate to send your submissions next year!” said organizer Siddhartha Avila. ” The children were from different schools and clubs, and ranged in rank from 30k to 10k. ”This was a great opportunity to round up the majority of young players in the same place, and to make new friends. After this we're looking forward to consolidating the existing Go clubs, and to eventually create more Go programs for youth in México. The event wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration of Go teachers, players, and volunteers who offered their efforts to run the tournament. The MGA, based in Mexico City, has connected with many local children as well, 71 of whom came to their June Youth Tournament. We want to thank the AGA as well as the AGF for their donation of 20 sets of stones, which we needed to make this possible.” A retro style photo album from the event, by Alma Juárez is here – reported by Alma Juarez and Siddhartha Avila. Adapted from The American Go E-Journal . Photo: Jamia Mei Tolentino's ”Happiness with Go” An entry from the Philippines.
US YOUTHS STUDY GO IN HANGZHOU
Last summer, Cherry Shen and ten other American teens received scholarships from the Ing Foundation to study Go in China. She writes: “I've traveled to China several times before but none of my trips were quite as insightful or fun as this one last July. We had the amazing opportunity to attend the 1st U.S.-China Go Camp/College Student Exchange, playing Go while learning about China's rich culture and history. Exploring China with a group of Go enthusiasts was hilarious, eye-opening, and extremely memorable. As soon as we landed, we were showered with generosity and overwhelming hospitality from the members of the Ing Foundation, which sponsored the event. The university hotels we stayed at were great and the authentic Chinese food was incredible. Aside from the mind-blowing Go-themed hotel, Go schools, and Go lecture hall, we also visited the Great Wall of China, Yu Garden, the Shanghai Financial District, and more. The presence of Go in China was so impressive, especially when we were introduced to numerous young (7- 8 -years old) 4-5 dans, at the Hangzhou Go School. We also had teaching games from professionals, met other college Go students, and toured Go facilities. This journey was unbelievably amazing and enriching; and I hope we can reciprocate this experience to future visiting Chinese college students. – Adapted from Cherry Shen's report in The American Go E-Journal . Photo: At Fudan University, with various college Go players.
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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 present the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the American Go Foundation.