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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #21 Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:42 pm 
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iPads? Did I mention EasyGo? A great Tsumego app which allows to create profiles for different users. The kids in the school Go workshop I instructed for a few years loved it.

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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #22 Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:24 pm 
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...I am still working on graphical approaches to enticing new kids to learn as I feel there must be one that will work...


I'm not sure whether this would be helpful at all (I'm mainly speculating here), but it be logical to incorporate the notion of movement? It may be that one of the determining factors of what a certain child likes is based on that particular child's perception of movement, progress, and evolution, which would be slightly different to someone elses, therefore making certain activities seem more appealing than others.

Boring overly-long rant (length obviously doesn't match expertise level, excuse me) explaining the concept below:

For an example, video games are often seen as a stereotypical rival in the fight for attention. Playing most video games and Playing Go, mechanically, do not seem very different, since they both involve sitting down, however, this would be pairing the monkey with the panda. To some older Go players, and to many (most?) kids, the two couldn't be more different.

When we look at a board position, our subconscious mind immediately springs into action, as we can recognise many shapes on the field as plays that had been made (extension, crosscut, atari, hane, XXX Joseki, etc) and therefore, a poster of a Go position appeals to the concept of motion and omnipresence more than the average video game.

To most children, this is simply not happening. It does happen with the video game, though. Therefore, the reaction can sometimes be less than ecstatic, and attention is not drawn.

Another note to make is that movement is used in the advertisement of kids toys at a slightly more intensified level than normal (whether it's a girl's toy or boy's toy). And we can understand that many trading card games would not have become as successful if it where not for the action-packed show assosiated with it (sometimes the show was created primarily as an advertisement)

ps: The theory applies to all age groups.

pps: I don't see the side of Go as a fast medium to express yourself being introduced to people in the western society very often (am I wrong?). Isn't it somewhat close to a board-game equivalent of sign language/mind reading?

ppps: One last note, if you can associate Go with something famliar or already deemed "cool" or interesting, maybe it's best to be subtle (also from experience). Things like changing the language you use depending on who is being introduced to the game, and so on, are fine. ("each team of stones are planted onto the field, one by one (instead of alternately, which may sound too formal), so that as each side grows, any enclosed intersections are collected as land by the end of the game"
v "stones are placed in areas where you envison your dream territory, and steps are taken by both sides in various waves of offence and defense, to turn that dream into a reality")
;

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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #23 Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:38 pm 
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xed_over wrote:
on the other hand... kids are becoming professional players by age 11 or so. That means they are very, very good even at age 6 or 7. 19x19 does not have to be intimidating.
I agree with this 100%. I sometimes wonder if it is better to get novices acquainted with 19x19 play from the very first lesson, with 9x9 and 13x13 being used strictly on a supplementary basis.

Of course let's keep in mind that these kids are there with their parents' full sanction. As well, it takes almost relentless practice and refinement for a young kid to get to pro level before becoming a teenager.


Last edited by tekesta on Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #24 Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:24 pm 
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Bahkana, by any chance are there music classes at your school? (Not a rhetorical question exactly; for budgetary reasons some schools have had to cut "non-essential" programs such as music and art in recent years.) If so, you can take a cue from these and promote Go along these lines. Namely that playing Go can be compared to playing music. In both cases, intuition plays an important role in execution and constant practice & refinement is the way to get better.

Playing music can be confusing when one has no idea of how to put notes together, unless the music has been heard somewhere beforehand. Say, you listen mostly to pop music, so you are familiar with the patterns of pop music and can even make up your own pop music. However, if someone were to come up to you and ask you to play a classical piece, unless you are familiar with how classical music sounds you would have difficulty doing so. So, if you want to play a classical piece, you begin the same way you did with pop music. You try playing something you like and practice over and over until you get it right.

Playing Go can be confusing for most North Americans; hardly anyone has seen Go being played. When I first began to play Go back in May 2006, I played whatever way and developed bad playing habits along the way. Only in the past year have I been replaying pro game records to get an idea of how Go is really played. I wish I had done so as soon as I took up the game.

Lost games are of course part of the experience of Go players, but many are those who may not see a way to shake bad playing habits that are causing them to lose frequently. Eventually they lose all interest in the game and that is undesirable. Perhaps by replaying on a regular basis pro game records from the very first lesson the novice can know how a game of Go is supposed to be played - just as the musician listens to a recording to know how a song or tune is supposed to sound.

In a musical scale there are only 7 notes, or 5 notes, or 12 notes, but countless ways to put them together. In Go there are only a handful of individual moves and all can be counted on fingers and toes, but countless ways of putting them together.

Where you live it might be difficult to obtain pro game records in book form. If you have access to a printer and want to print out a few, you can click on a list of links to look at pro game collections in PDF format, kindly provided by "Logan" in this L19 thread: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10643

Also, you will want to demonstrate that anyone taking up Go will grow as well as be entertained. Begin by saying how Go has affected your life in a positive way. With an example to keep in mind, the kids will see Go as something worthwhile. Eventually there will be more and more examples of how Go has made a difference in the lives of those that play it and this will help your cause greatly.

I have seen chess and Go compared many times, but both are different games, despite requiring the same skills during play. Chess is subtractive; as a game progresses there are fewer and fewer pieces on the board, so deep analysis is essential to find the best play. Go is additive; as a game progresses there are more and more pieces on the board, so intuition often matters more than analysis in finding the best play. Go is so rich in lines of play that it is often not practical to keep each and every one in mind. This can make Go feel more like poker or bridge than like chess.

Before I forget, you may want to secure Go problem and tsumego collections for your more adventurous members. Go problems and tsumego can be compared to the scale interval and progression exercises and rhythm exercises practiced by musicians. There are various collections out there to consider, such as Kano Yoshinori's Graded Go Problems series or the Get Strong series from Kiseido Publishing. If you prefer something printable, here is Vit Bruner's list of Go problem collections in PDF format: http://tsumego.tasuki.org/

I wish you all the best of luck in getting your Go club off the ground :tmbup:

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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #25 Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:19 am 
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Thank you everyone again for the suggestions!

Elom wrote:
I'm not sure whether this would be helpful at all (I'm mainly speculating here), but it be logical to incorporate the notion of movement? It may be that one of the determining factors of what a certain child likes is based on that particular child's perception of movement, progress, and evolution, which would be slightly different to someone elses, therefore making certain activities seem more appealing than others.


I really like the idea of adding movement and was looking into more dynamic poses for future variations on go posters - much like the supplimentary art for Hikaru no Go. They are really good at illustrating motion when it comes to the game. Also the notion of movement as you were talking of applies to the kiddies getting their "cheevos" Everyone loves achievements and it provides instant gratification of accomplishment whereas traditional go leveling is more ephemeral. For this I'm planning on having lots of fun opportunities such as League play with keeping a running track of win/loss over time. From this data you can award titles and prizes on a quarterly basis on any number of things like: Most games played, winingest player, winning streak, highest KD, furthest rank progress, etc.

tekesta wrote:
Bahkana, by any chance are there music classes at your school? (Not a rhetorical question exactly; for budgetary reasons some schools have had to cut "non-essential" programs such as music and art in recent years.) If so, you can take a cue from these and promote Go along these lines. Namely that playing Go can be compared to playing music. In both cases, intuition plays an important role in execution and constant practice & refinement is the way to get better.


I do like the idea of a music analogy and I will use it when appropriate. Thanks!


I have some great news on the progress of Go in the school: I have two new players coming tonight and had two new players come Tuesday night. Their ages range drastically but I consider that a good thing at this stage. If we can get each of these new players to bring a friend it could spread nicely. In bigger news I approached four elementary teachers yesterday about teaching go as an alternate activity for them and three of them agreed readily. The one teacher who did not accept was due to the class schedule being completely booked already. So this means that in the coming days I will be introducing at least 45 new kids to go! There are a few other classrooms that might enjoy this but I wanted to approach a couple classrooms first so they can gossip about it over lunch/recess.

I am also starting to plan an "Anime night" where I will be showing HnG with pizza/soda available to a group of students after school. Working on scheduling now so we can get most of the people who are interested without conflicting schedules.

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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #26 Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:27 pm 
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Sounds like you're making some real progress with spreading go in your school. Be sure to let us know how things turn out!

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Post #27 Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:17 pm 
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bahkana wrote:
I do like the idea of a music analogy and I will use it when appropriate. Thanks!
You will find that Go and music have several things in common. I can even say that studying Go feels like studying music. Different ways to play a particular piece, playing styles, etc. Also, just as in music just a few notes of a scale can be combined in an endless variety of ways, so can just a handful of individual moves in Go be combined in endless variety of ways.
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I have some great news on the progress of Go in the school: I have two new players coming tonight and had two new players come Tuesday night. Their ages range drastically but I consider that a good thing at this stage. If we can get each of these new players to bring a friend it could spread nicely. In bigger news I approached four elementary teachers yesterday about teaching go as an alternate activity for them and three of them agreed readily. The one teacher who did not accept was due to the class schedule being completely booked already. So this means that in the coming days I will be introducing at least 45 new kids to go! There are a few other classrooms that might enjoy this but I wanted to approach a couple classrooms first so they can gossip about it over lunch/recess.
One obstacle to getting people on board with Go is the notion that it is too difficult for the ordinary learner to master even partially. In my experience I don't think this is true. Of course playing Go well takes lots of practice and refinement as well as time, but it is not the titan's endeavor some make it out to be.

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I am also starting to plan an "Anime night" where I will be showing HnG with pizza/soda available to a group of students after school. Working on scheduling now so we can get most of the people who are interested without conflicting schedules.
Hikaru no Go is only the start. There is other Go-related fiction out there. For example, there is a Chinese period TV drama about the rivalry between Fan Xiping and Shi Ding'an. Can't remember it right now, but I saw a clip of it on YouTube. Also, whenever you have the chance show The Master of Go, a film about Go Seigen.

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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #28 Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:02 am 
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Think how hard Tsuitsui-san worked, and he lived in Japan.;)

You're just planting seeds, too. A first exposure that is positive, even if it doesn't hold, might still grow a Go player some day, even if you don't know about it. Of course that doesn't help the Go club today.

The posters are nice. I wouldn't stress how hard the game is, though. I'd say something like, "The world's oldest and still best strategy game!" Controversial statements are your friend, just have something to back it up with if someone comes to argue with you about it (which would be good!). Like, be ready for arguments with people who like chess, or who know something about backgammon. "Simple rules, deep strategy" is one I've run with in events listings. People don't like "hard" things in their off time, these days. I mean, they do, but marketing makes people think they don't. Marketing is all about "fun" and "easier" and "exciting" and "new". With flashing lights and exclaimation marks!!! Which get cloying, which is why Go is still actually quite relevant.

Hmm. "Learn to play on your lunch hour, become obsessed for a lifetime"?

Make some joke ones "I'd never date a man who didn't know sabaki!" if you think you can get away with it. "Hey! What's sabaki mean?" "It's a certain move in Go, come on and sit down and I'll show you how to play." Maybe not, I'm just shooting ideas around.:)

Make ones with an angry samurai graabbing up the board, like Go World covers, you know. Caption: "GO! It's not for little kids." "GO! Temper, temper!" Hmm. I'm going to use some of this idea myself, my mostly adults club needs to do posters again before we totally stagnate.:)

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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #29 Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 8:42 pm 
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bahkana wrote:
Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. I am feeling better after getting so many ideas and will keep going. The method I have found to work the best, especially with younger players is to start them on a 9x9 or smaller and get them playing first capture within minutes of sitting down. The kids usually love getting to play right away, and I just explain things as their games progress. When they are ready for the full set of rules I've just been doing a 4 stone handi on the 9x9 if there's no other kids for them to learn with (as if often the case).
I know the thread has been dead for some time, but I just remembered something, so I could not resist the urge to revive it.

We have discussed capture Go, but there are other ideas that are worth mentioning. The following is sure to result in a method that instills core fundamentals of Go in perhaps as little as 1 easy lesson. First, teach the rules. Second, show liberties for different (eyeless) groups of stones and how each is captured. Third, play a few games on 5x5 board, then 7x7 board, and finally 9x9 board.

The rules are simple enough. In essence there are only 3 and can be explained as follows. First, a stone can be placed on any point where a horizontal line and a vertical line meet. Once placed there, it does not move. Second, as long as a stone or group of stones is connected along a line to at least 1 empty point, known as a liberty, it can remain on the board. If only 1 liberty remains available, this is known as "atari" in Japanese and it means only 1 turn remains until a stone or group of stones is captured and removed from the board. Once a stone of the opposite color is placed on this last liberty, the stone or group of stones that just lost said liberty is removed from the board and considered captured. Third, any position in which immediate and consecutive recapture of a stone can occur indefinitely (known as "ko" in Japanese) must be left alone by the side that just lost a stone in said position for at least 1 turn before playing therein. (Of course, if immediate and consecutive recapture were allowed to go on indefinitely in a ko position, the game would be stalled.)

After explaining the rules, you continue with explaining the rule of liberties & capture. For this, you use a 9x9 board. One beings by placing a single stone on the center. Count liberties for that (4) and say that (4) turns are needed to capture said stone. If you prefer, you can let the learner place the stones on the liberties surrounding the stone and correct him/her by showing that only the empty points connected directly to the point where the stone is, count. Reinforce this whenever the need arises; often the learner will place more stones than necessary to perform the capture. Afterwards, place the same single stone on the edge. Count liberties and turns needed to capture. Finally, place the same single stone in the corner and do the same as before.

Then you go on to 2-stone groups. You show that this group is formed by placing a stone on 1 of 4 liberties of a stone of the same color. One liberty is taken away, but 2 are given back to make 6 liberties for the 2-stone group versus 4 for the single stone, when it is in the center. Then place this 2-stone group on the edge. Place it in 2 positions, lying down and standing up. Count liberties and turns to capture. Finally, place 2-stone group in the corner and count liberties plus turns to capture.

In each of the examples mentioned in this post, you and the learner count the liberties and turns to capture. When you get to 3-stone groups, there are 2 shapes of this group, Straight 3 and L-3, or "foot 3" (also known as empty triangle). Each shape is placed in the center, then on the edge in 2 positions. For straight 3, the 2 positions are lying down and standing up. For the L-3, the 2 positions are foot on the edge and toe on the edge. Finally, both shapes are placed in the corner. Straight 3 appears in only one form in the corner, but Foot 3 can appear in 3 forms. Ankle against corner, toe facing corner, and upside down. You and the learner will observe that one shape can have different number of liberties depending on its relative orientation. When Foot 3 is in upside down orientation, it has an enclosed liberty. You can explain that in the capturing process, occupy outside liberties first and inside (enclosed) liberties last.

Finally, you arrive at 4-stone groups and there are 4 different shapes of this form. Dumpling 4 (or "bale of hay 4", if you prefer), straight 4, or "stick 4", L-4 or Leg 4, and T-4 or "hammer 4" (because its shape resembles that of a hammer). First, set up the Dumpling 4. This shape is one commonly made by beginners in the mistaken belief that it secure from capture due to its size and the fact that all the stones are together in a group, so introducing the characteristics of this shape is beneficial IMO. In the center dumpling 4 has 8 liberties, 6 liberties on the side, and 4 in the corner. You can explain that since it does not work well with other shapes of stone groups to surround inside liberties (territory), the dumpling 4 and other dumpling shapes should be avoided whenever possible.

Next, set up the Stick 4 in the center. It should have 10 liberties - 8 on the sides and 1 on each of both ends. That means 10 turns needed to capture. Then place the Stick on the edge in 2 positions, lying down and standing up. In each position the number of liberties will be different. Finally, as with the Stick of 3, the Stick of 4 can go in the corner only one way.

Leg 4 has 9 liberties in the center, so 9 turns to capture. On the edge this shape can be found in 4 positions. Foot on the edge, leg lying down, foot up in the air, and toe on the edge. In each relative orientation the number of liberties will vary and so will the number of turns needed to capture. At this time you can introduce the concept of surrounding from the top, then the bottom.

In the corner Leg 4 can be found in 3 relative orientations. Toe against the corner, leg lying against the corner and knee above the corner. The 1st orientation will have 6 liberties, 4 atop and 2 underneath. The 2nd will have only 4 liberties and the 3rd will have 7 liberties, of which 2 are enclosed.

At last, you get to the Hammer of 4. In the center the hammer has 8 liberties. On the edge the hammer can be found in 3 positions. Upside down, standing on its side, and standing up. In the first orientation there are only 5 liberties, in the second there are 7 liberties, and in the third there are also 7. Notice, though, that in the third orientation 2 of the 7 liberties are "underside" liberties and placing a stone on one of these liberties will result in that stone being in atari.

Then on to the corner. There, the hammer can be found in 2 orientations, face down on the corner and 2 legs on the edge. In the 1st one the hammer has only 4 liberties and in the 2nd there are 6, of which 1 is an inside (enclosed) liberty and 1 is an "underside" liberty.

After the rather lengthy explanation, you and the learner are ready to play some games. I suggest playing the first few games on 5x5 or 7x7. It goes by super-fast, which allows you to play multiple games in a short time span, but you can still play a normal game of Go or capture Go, depending on preference. Although, if you choose the former option you can omit the pass rule and just play until one side runs out of liberties. (The side that runs out of them loses.) The learner will learn 2 important lessons with this. The importance of increasing liberties for one's own groups and the importance of passing when the only remaining choice is to play inside one's own territories. If you go with the capture Go option, the learner will acquire the ability to protect his/her own groups in addition to capturing those of the opponent. Many fundamentals can be learned from both methods, even before going on to capturing techniques per se, such as ladder and net. Increasing liberties to avoid capture, reducing liberties to facilitate capture, connecting stone groups of same color to increase liberties and so avoid capture, disconnecting stone groups of opponent's color to reduce liberties and so facilitate capture, direction in which to impose atari, correct sequence of moves to execute capture successfully or to avoid capture, etc.

Whenever I play a teaching game of capture Go or normal Go on the small boards with someone, I intentionally make mistakes to see whether they are paying attention or not. I make it easy for them at first so they can begin grasping fundamentals. As the learner gains more experience, I increase the level of difficulty slightly and slightly.

Once the learner has played for about 2 or 4 weeks on the 9x9 and smaller boards, depending on frequency of games, you can introduce them to the 13x13 and 19x19 boards. In anticipation of games on the full-size board, you can have the learners replay pro games. It is the closest many will ever get to having an East Asian professional for a Go teacher. A caveat, though. Some beginners may have difficulty replaying games from a diagram, which is how the vast majority of games are recorded. One alternative is a list of coordinates, such as those found in Oskar Korschelt's Theory and Practice of Go. I recently opened up a thread on this very topic, of game records in coordinate list format as an alternative for those beginners who may find it frustrating to replay a game from a diagram. viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11764

For beginners it is better simply to replay pro game records from start to finish and the more they do, the better. Some time will have to pass before the beginner is advanced enough to begin understanding the reasoning behind the moves in these games, without the help of comments. However, if commentary is desired, a book such as Invincible, by John Power, is a good choice. There are other commented game record collections out there, but comments only serve to help organize what the beginner learns through replaying pro games. Thus, the first thing to do is for the beginner to replay pro game records from start to finish, as often as possible. Development of good playing habits and conditioning of the brain to remember long sequences of plays are a couple of major benefits. Another important benefit is easier attempts at solving life & death and other exercises; all tsumego and similar exercises are essentially fragments of a game of Go.

And for those of your students that dislike doing exercises, replaying pro games should be sufficient since there is not the stigma associated with getting the wrong answer. In fact, it is likely that after a period of just replaying pro game records such persons will gain confidence enough to try out the exercises.

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I am still working on graphical approaches to enticing new kids to learn as I feel there must be one that will work. Beyond this I will continue approaching the elementary teachers to see if I can win one of them over to the educational benefits of go and dispel the enigma that it's too difficult for youths to pick up. I'm also going to look into organizing events that may draw out the hesitant ones. There is an inservice coming up soon so hopefully I'll be able to bend a few ears that day. I'd love to pull in the chess club and work with them but...they don't exist, there are absolutely no board game clubs in the school besides Go club.
I recently discovered that Go is probably the easiest game to pick up. It's just that one must use the rule of liberties and capture as their point of departure, for everything that happens in a game of Go is based on this. It's like everything humans do. It all boils down to the need to survive and reproduce. Human beings struggle to live in a place and expand their numbers, but unless the amount of available living space can be increased, after a certain point there is always bound to be large groups of humans fighting and killing each other in pursuit of the same. In Go this occurs as groups of stones striving to attain permanence and expand their reach, but in many games groups of stones are either captured - or made permanently subject to capture - or reduced when secure and permanently safe from capture, since the number of stones on the board increases, but the amount of intersections does not.

Even fuseki can be explained in terms of the rule of liberties and capture. Only that, instead of connection & separation of groups and direct occupation of an enemy group's liberties, it's the occupation of areas of influence - and potential space for expansion of a group of stones and the territory they surround - on the board. It's the difference between having one big moyo on one side of the board and having the same moyo be divided in two because your opponent played a stone right in the middle. To make it easier, think of fuseki as the phase of large-scale shapes, middle game as the phase of medium-scale shapes, and the endgame as the phase of small-scale shapes.

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When it comes to using apps and such, each classroom has a small set of iPads they use as a station - the next time I get these iPads in for updates I will push the TinyGo app onto all of them. Even with no explanation there are likely to be a couple inquisitive ones who will open the app just to see what it is.
If the app is available, by all means use it and promote its use. For many it's the only way to play Go when physical sets are not handy.

If you happen to know someone that works with ceramics, perhaps you can have them make some porcelain Go stones for you. These are rather simple to make. Nothing more than round porcelain discs of 2 different colors, between 3/4 and 7/8 inch in diameter and between 3/16 and 1/4 inch thick. A small radius can be made on the upper and lower edges and a bulge made on the upper side to facilitate placement and removal of stones from the board. These will likely have to be single-convex, since double-convex stones can be difficult to render in porcelain. Go stones can be made from marble and even volcanic stones, but these materials are hard, so making them by hand, with even the proper tools, can be the most laborious of chores.

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I do not work in the same town I live in so teaching people outside of the school club isn't going to help it unless I get local students interested enough to start their own school go club so we can have competitions. I do get over to the library and teach during the summer - on nice days I play in the Library's pocket park just off the main street. I only got a kid here and there but it was something. This next year will be my second year doing that so I will work with the library to hype it up and get the word out, I'll also be doing a single day "seminar" on a Saturday. The seminar idea was the Library coordinator's as we had a lot of people calling in asking what the go club was and hesitation due to their not knowing how to play. So even though the club ads said "absolute beginners welcome" people were disinterested because of a perceived gap in "regulars" and themselves. So to remedy this and the "I might try it next week..." we decided to schedule an event where I do introductions to the game and that's the entire purpose of the day. At the very least I should be able to give introductions to a decent number of people this way because events pull in many of their regulars and we'll do it in the youth area where they hang out and game on a regular basis.
I know from a USGO.org article that there was a high school student in the Lower 48, probably in California, Washington State, or the Northeast, who started a Go club in his high school and the first thing he would do is just show games and explain the game of Go to newcomers. No boards, no stones, just explanations. The first lesson was pure exposition of the game. If anyone was interested, they could return for the second lesson to being learning the rules and playing Go. I think this approach might be effective in your situation.

Getting strong at Go is a matter of effort, not talent. (I have been playing Go for almost 9 years, but I have yet to clear SDK level since I have not spent much time playing and when I did play regularly I did not have an organized study program to encourage my progress.) I recommend you institute an organized study program for all the members of the Go club so that there are no lasting disparities in skill level. As well, a Go club that has just such a program in place will be able to function well even when you are absent.

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 Post subject: Re: How not to promote a go club in the middle of nowhere
Post #30 Posted: Mon May 04, 2015 1:57 pm 
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Tekesta,

Thank you for the suggested alternatives. I avoid doing the long explanation right away, especially with younger kids. The reason being that the longer it takes them to actually start playing, the less interested they will become. The best method I have used to getting kids interested is to give them a 1-2 minute explanation of the super basics (intersections, liberties, non-moving pieces) and get them playing first capture right away. Instantly starting to play really gets kids excited. If they are interested in learning more I start going into the longer explanations you talked about. After they've gained a bit of experience I start going into the thought process bit. The biggest problem I have run into with this approach is I end up with students who have no interest in playing the full game yet and simply like playing capture on larger boards. They just keep capturing stones until they stop and the one with the most stones in their cup wins? I still feel like it is worth while though as, once the kids mature a little, they can always move on to playing the full game later. The reason this happens is mainly because you end up with players who don't like the idea of thinking and don't grasp the importance of strategy yet. Young kids are often impatient and quick to give up if they feel something is too hard.

I do have a number of students at the Go Club currently. We are planning two tournaments but most of the players will not be able to play as I want it to be full games on the 9x9. As for getting the students studying games or tsumego, the same issue of not wanting to slow down and think make this practice nearly futile. The more mature players do fine in this aspect and utilize the books I have available or play full games. No matter how structured I make the club, I will not be able to have it run without me as there needs to be adult supervision at all times for school activities.

I have lots of physical materials to play with so getting the materials isn't the challenge. The main reason to look into technology is to add a barb to the hook for the new generation that grew up in this "always online" environment.


I think the lessons I have learned this year from the Go Club are:

1. Serious elementary students are rare, especially when around their friends.
2. Quick and dirty introductions are a great way of getting younger kids interested, or at least informed about the game.
3. Keep it fun; if you can keep your less serious students playing some version of Go, you will have a chance to snag them once they are ready to get to business.
3. a. Have options. Different play modes such as King of the Hill or Rengo helps keep kids from getting too bored when they aren't ready for real games.

Obviously I would prefer to have more players serious about the game, but I will take fun for now as long as I can keep them on task long enough. I'm looking forward to having the summer off from Go Club to get things re-organized and planned for next year. I'm thinking of talking with some of the coaches and teachers to see how their practices usually go for school activities.

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Post #31 Posted: Mon May 04, 2015 11:12 pm 
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Playing first capture with (plastic wrapped) candy might be fun for elementary-aged students. You could use two colors of Starburst, for example. Then the capture is doubly rewarding (I win! + I get to eat that!).

Just a thought. :tmbup:


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Post #32 Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 4:02 pm 
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Drew wrote:
Playing first capture with (plastic wrapped) candy might be fun for elementary-aged students. You could use two colors of Starburst, for example. Then the capture is doubly rewarding (I win! + I get to eat that!).

Just a thought. :tmbup:



Funny, who knows it may work. : )

I played three color GO with a boy and his dad recently. They both had lots of fun, especially attacking the stronger player me. I think three or 4 color GO is fun for little kids.

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Post #33 Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 6:40 pm 
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bahkana wrote:
Tekesta,

Thank you for the suggested alternatives. I avoid doing the long explanation right away, especially with younger kids. The reason being that the longer it takes them to actually start playing, the less interested they will become. The best method I have used to getting kids interested is to give them a 1-2 minute explanation of the super basics (intersections, liberties, non-moving pieces) and get them playing first capture right away. Instantly starting to play really gets kids excited. If they are interested in learning more I start going into the longer explanations you talked about. After they've gained a bit of experience I start going into the thought process bit. The biggest problem I have run into with this approach is I end up with students who have no interest in playing the full game yet and simply like playing capture on larger boards. They just keep capturing stones until they stop and the one with the most stones in their cup wins? I still feel like it is worth while though as, once the kids mature a little, they can always move on to playing the full game later. The reason this happens is mainly because you end up with players who don't like the idea of thinking and don't grasp the importance of strategy yet. Young kids are often impatient and quick to give up if they feel something is too hard.
In that case just have them play on a 7x7 board and use Mentos(Registered trademark) in 2 different colors as stones. Play normal Go, but omit the pass rule, even if the kids start playing on their inside liberties, also known as territory. The side to first run out of all liberties loses the game - and the Mentos. (This way the kid who lost will pay attention to the game and soon enough get to eat all the Mentos!) Of course, the side that wins gets to eat all the Mentos remaining on the board after the game. Any tasty snack with the requisite shape. such as bite-size sugar cookies, will do just fine if Mentos are not available. The good thing about this is that after a while the kids learn when to stop playing, namely when the only thing that can be done is to play on one's own inside liberties, also known as territory.

Strategy is not something the beginner has to learn right away. In fact, beginners ought to grapple with tactics first before starting to learn about strategy, for strategy is a set of long-term objectives that are realized through a sequence of multiple tactical exchanges. In other words, the fighting comes first, then the how-to-do-the-fighting. With enough experience in the application of tactics, the beginner will soon have enough info to begin forming strategic pictures in his/her mind.

The idea of studying and training in Go is to automate the thinking process until it becomes intuitive. In other words, the right move will come to mind with only a moment's thought. If you study the game during off-hours, when playing a game things will proceed much more quickly than if no study was conducted. This can be compared to the sports player exercising the body outside of practice games and tournament games so that he/she has a body ready to react quickly and effectively to the rigors of a hard-fought practice or tournament game. In the same manner study, practice, and refinement of skill in Go makes it easier for the Go player to deal with even the most difficult situations that may arise during play. Hon'inbo Jowa once said that it is better for the beginner to play what comes naturally than to sit in front of the board and spend a long time pondering every move. With constant study, practice, and refinement, the beginner will notice how much faster his/her thinking becomes when playing.
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I do have a number of students at the Go Club currently. We are planning two tournaments but most of the players will not be able to play as I want it to be full games on the 9x9. As for getting the students studying games or tsumego, the same issue of not wanting to slow down and think make this practice nearly futile. The more mature players do fine in this aspect and utilize the books I have available or play full games. No matter how structured I make the club, I will not be able to have it run without me as there needs to be adult supervision at all times for school activities.
That indeed is tough. You will have to begin teaching the other educators and some chaperones how to play Go, at least at an elementary level. This way there is not so much pressure on you to lead the Go club.

When playing hockey, one has to learn several things before being able to play. The first one is skating, the second one is swinging the stick and hitting the puck with it to get the puck to go where you want it to go. So, yes, study is part of the game, even with low-brow games such as hockey and football. There might not be any reading out of a book, but one still has to practice skills in order to become any good.

Or... let's look at hunting game. To hunt game, one needs to practice several skills. Using a weapon, such as a hunting rifle or bow & arrow, to kill game, determining the seasonal habits of different game animals, determining availability of game through observation of seasonal and environmental changes, among other things.

In similar fashion, the Go player has to learn tesuji and life & death to kill groups or to save them, be familiarized with the characteristics of different openings, determine when there is a change in phase, such as from opening to middle game, observing changes in the balance of territory between Black & White on a whole-board basis, among other things.

Studying games is a bit beyond the ability of the beginner till he/she has been playing on 19x19 for some time. When I first began playing Go, I was unable to make sense of most of the contents of the Go books in my collection. It was not until I began to replay games, do exercises (tsumego), and play practice games that I was able to make sense of what is explained in them. For the time being, just replaying game records from start to finish, move by move, is more than sufficient, even for those who may not like doing life & death and tesuji exercises. (Tsumego is still a rather exotic-sounding word for most North Americans, so I prefer to use the word exercise to refer to tsumego.)
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I have lots of physical materials to play with so getting the materials isn't the challenge. The main reason to look into technology is to add a barb to the hook for the new generation that grew up in this "always online" environment.
Some kids may look to Go as a way to tune out of the forever-online environment of our times. In fact, there are emotional and social issues that cannot be effectively addressed by online culture. An off-line culture is needed and the game of Go can provide this. It is often said that Go is a great way to make friends. The mark of a really good Go player is that he/she is humble and willing to help with the improvement of one's Go skills.
Quote:
I think the lessons I have learned this year from the Go Club are:

1. Serious elementary students are rare, especially when around their friends.
2. Quick and dirty introductions are a great way of getting younger kids interested, or at least informed about the game.
3. Keep it fun; if you can keep your less serious students playing some version of Go, you will have a chance to snag them once they are ready to get to business.
3. a. Have options. Different play modes such as King of the Hill or Rengo helps keep kids from getting too bored when they aren't ready for real games.

Obviously I would prefer to have more players serious about the game, but I will take fun for now as long as I can keep them on task long enough. I'm looking forward to having the summer off from Go Club to get things re-organized and planned for next year. I'm thinking of talking with some of the coaches and teachers to see how their practices usually go for school activities.
Looks like you have a good program in place. It has the potential to become something greater.

Go need not be a game for scholars. It can also be rather light-hearted, despite the skill it demands of its practitioners. As with anything else, constant practice is needed in order to become proficient. Then again, when something is fun, it doesn't really feel like practice, doesn't it :)

Elementary schoolchildren usually have challenges of their own off the goban. I imagine they would like to forget or at least reinterpret these challenges when they sit in front of the board to play. (When I was an elementary student, looking at books was one of my favorite pastimes, at least to forget the challenges I faced as a kid growing up.)

There are different versions of the game of Go, with different rulesets. E.G., sunjang baduk and Ancient Chinese Go. There is also hasami shogi, a Japanese board game played with Go stones and 9x9 board, but the stones go in the spaces, not on the intersections. It is even possible to play checkers using stones and a 9x9 board. Also, when you have the chance you can bring in some strong Go players to give your kids a real challenge.


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Post #34 Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:19 am 
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I'm not trying to be mean but if I was that age (and at my current age too) those posters look horrendously cheesy. That seems to be pretty common among Go themed art. :P


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Post #35 Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:19 pm 
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For the folks who say "Go, like chess, can never be 'cool' " -- they should watch the documentary "Brooklyn Castle", about an inner city school where the chess club is the largest extracurricular -- the school president is also a top player in the chess club, which meets *every day of the week*

There's a trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOFtm_XlNjo

you can watch it on netflix, etc. I found it pretty inspiring. These things are possible.

I think those posters look great, btw!

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Post #36 Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 2:41 pm 
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elementc wrote:
I'm not trying to be mean but if I was that age (and at my current age too) those posters look horrendously cheesy. That seems to be pretty common among Go themed art. :P

Not as cheesy as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1rwwUYdkDg .

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Post #37 Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:04 am 
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Hello bahkana and others,
How's the situation at the moment?
Perhaps you want to give us an update on the go club and yourself, how you handle affairs currently. I am anxious to learn if you were able to keep the youngsters interested, perhaps even attract new ones. Or has interest vanished over time? Either way, I am interested.

We started a go club for children one and a half year ago.
Difficult to keep them (and their parents!) interested. Nevertheless, we now have 7 children as young members, which I think is quite an achievement. We hope to grow on that, but I reckon 'turnover' will be high. How's your experience with that?

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Post #38 Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:55 am 
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I feel that Aji's quest (and the printable brochure introducing Go) might be helpful for OP. Just going to leave this here.
http://home.earthlink.net/~inkwolf/Inkw ... Quest.html

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Post #39 Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:42 pm 
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sybob wrote:
Hello bahkana and others,
How's the situation at the moment?
Perhaps you want to give us an update on the go club and yourself, how you handle affairs currently. I am anxious to learn if you were able to keep the youngsters interested, perhaps even attract new ones. Or has interest vanished over time? Either way, I am interested.

We started a go club for children one and a half year ago.
Difficult to keep them (and their parents!) interested. Nevertheless, we now have 7 children as young members, which I think is quite an achievement. We hope to grow on that, but I reckon 'turnover' will be high. How's your experience with that?


Hello Sybob,

Congratulations on getting such good numbers!

The Club is still going, albeit quite small. We tend to get a bunch of kids at the beginning of each year and lose most of them within a few months. This is almost entirely due to Sports. This is a very small school and with that most of the athletes in one sport are usually in all of them. Meaning that they're only available for the first couple months of school before Football season starts. We have two High School students yet, and we've had a good number of our HS team graduate. So our turnover is quite high, but everyone who has left is another seed. A decent number of people in the school now know what Go is, even if they've never played. This particular school isn't necessarily the best place to start a club like this, considering they haven't even had a chess club in at least a generation or two. All of our youngsters have since stopped, but these were all due to other activities such as sports or dance teams. I haven't done another drive for young players yet because of not knowing how long I will remain at this school and the low retention is a bit disheartening at times. If I'm still here next year, I'll do another push at the upper Elementary level by doing first-capture introductions with a few classes again.

Good luck!


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Post #40 Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:43 pm 
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Koosh wrote:
I feel that Aji's quest (and the printable brochure introducing Go) might be helpful for OP. Just going to leave this here.
http://home.earthlink.net/~inkwolf/Inkw ... Quest.html


I love Aji's Quest and have shown it to members in the past. Great little web comic.

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