Sunday, February 12, 2006

Iceman's Go class takes off and grows

Students at Iceman's school watching Hikaru No Go

In one of my recent posts, I wrote about how Iceman has been working hard to launch a Go program at the elementary school where he teaches. I'm very happy to report that it is off to a very strong and successful start, and that some members of the KGS community have helped with their support.

Iceman teaches Go both to his 4th grade class and to an after-school recreation class for 3rd to 6th graders (the latter for two hours a week). Enthusiasm for the program is spreading quickly and Go is now being played and taught on a daily basis during recess and lunch. A number of parents have stopped by to learn more.

His 4th grade class has now moved from the basics of capture Go (PDF link) to proper Go.

He made all those.
I couldn't even make one! (Except on paper.)

You have to admire Iceman's hard work and dedication. He has since finished making several 9x9/13x13 combination boards for this school program. Each of them are laquered and have silicone pads to give the boards a nice resonance when the stones are placed.

Iceman's teaching tools. The tiny goban that you see at the
front uses M&M candies.

Iceman's training arsenal is pictured above. His inventory includes:
  • Home-made boards ranging from 6x6 to 19x19
  • Several sets of Go stones in plastic gosu
  • Five sets of the Hikaru No Go manga (Volumes 1 to 6)
  • The first two DVDs of Hikaru No Go (presented using the school's digital projector)
  • A home-made magnetic board constructed using office supplies from IKEA

Close-up of the magnetic goban.

Iceman also uses resources from the American Go Association, including Anton Ninno's PowerPoint presentation (PPT link).

Go Seigen said that he doesn't know which country the next great players of Go will come from. Korea, China and Japan clearly have a big head-start and you have to appreciate the efforts of Iceman to promote the growth of this game here in the US.

Offer a game, or even a teaching game, when you run into him on KGS.

Speaking of Iceman's students ...

When they play online, Iceman's students play on IGoServer. However, last Friday afternoon, I encountered one of his newer pupils who ventured on his own into KGS using a guest account. He later tried out a 9x9 match against Iceman while Joyride and I watched and kibbitzed.

We may see a few more of them soon.

Beginners' Learning Resources

These sites are in my right-column but they're noting in a post.


At 5:04 AM, February 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have part numbers for that homemade demonstration board? I have been wanting one but they are pretty expensive to purchase a real one.

Icemans efforts are admirable. Teachers are the best way to spread go since they have a captive audience. I tried to teach a go class through our local community education program and nobody signed up.

Making boards is pretty inexpensive after you figure out how to get the lines on in an acceptable way, the grain really causes most inks to vein.


At 6:32 AM, February 13, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello JMP! I don't have the part numbers but I'll inquire with Iceman. The board and the magnets are easily found at the Emeryville IKEA store in the home office accessories section.

Iceman said that he used graphic arts tape for the lines on the demonstration goban.

Ink-bleed into wood grains is a problem with home-made boards. I'll ask Iceman if he can also answer that one. Perhaps he applied them after a first coat of laquer.

Yes. In-school programs have an advantage. Of course, having an anime based on Go helps create excitement too. I'm sure that students were intrigued by Iceman's tournament posters.

At 9:17 AM, February 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article Chiyodad!
Good work Iceman!

I think this is ... IKEA Magnet BAR:

At 11:14 AM, February 13, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello Leonard!

Yes. Those are the magnets. They're sold at the IKEA stores (next to the magnetic boards).

If one needed enough to illustrate a game on a full-sized board, you would probably spend $100 for 320 magnets. Most games use no more than 160 stones on either side (so it's been said).

For only illustrating local moves or tactics, you'd need considerably less magnets and probably spend no more than $30.

At 1:44 PM, February 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great. I’ll check my local IKEA soon. I’ve got some black and white magnets from thrifty stores … enough for my 9x9 demonstration table, but definitely I would like more.

BTW, I don’t know if you are aware about:
… there are some very interesting ideas/projects about how to promote GO.

JMP, it’s hard to “invade” a school and more than that to “make two eyes”, but keep trying. I’ve succeeded with Hikaru no GO and one demonstration. It is simpler if somebody from inside … can open the door for you.
If you got enough resources “attack” a public library too :-)

At 2:50 PM, February 13, 2006, Blogger FatParrot said...

Big kudos to Iceman! I've done a tidbit to spread the gospel of go but it doesn't compare with Iceman. I'm guessing he just bought the stones? Or did he manage to make those too?

At 3:00 PM, February 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the write up Chiyodad! And thanks to the KGS community for being so supportive and encouraging. The BAR magnets (as cited by leonard) were easy enough to find in two separate places at IKEA. They, along with the BITS magnetic memo board ($12), were located in the home/office organization section.

BAR magnets are 35mm in diameter. The line spacing is 38mm (1.5"). IKEA has another set of cheaper magnets called ALLEBY that are 30mm. They come in sets of 40 (10 of each color). Problem is they only come in primary colors . While not for the purist, these are great for students to play on the side of a file cabinet.

The letters and numbers are 1" vinyl letters from a hobby shop and the lines, as Chiyodad noted, were done with 1/8" graphic art tape from Staples. The board size is appropriate for 13x13. However, IKEA had different sized boards and there may be on large enough for a full-sized board (?). One thing to be aware of is that graphic art tape is easily removed (thus easy to work with). I applied a layer of transparent contact paper to keep the tape from being damaged by sliding magnets. This problem could be solved by using a sharpie to draw lines in place of tape. I prefer the texture of the tape, however. The star points, incidentally, were made by using the inside of the vinyl letters D, P, and B so they’re ever-so-slightly oval shaped.

Regarding the wood boards, I applied one coat of polyurethane, sanded with very fine sand paper, then drew the grids using sharpies and staedtler permanent markers (I like the variation in line width and sample packets of stain made for great variety in board color). The polyurethane coat not only prevented ink-bleed, but also smoothed the surface and enabled me to use rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to remove mistakes as I went along. One or two more coats sealed the grid.

Fatparrot, twelve sets of stones and extra bowls were purchased with a grant. They've been divided into 16 13x13 sets and several full-sized.

Thanks JMP, fatparrot, and leonard for your encouragement. Thanks too for the site reference, Leonard. It looks great.


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