Davis/Sacramento Go Club

Volume 5 Issue 1 - March 1999

Dues: Last Notice

Kanji for GO

This is the last reminder about dues for 1999. Our budget is small and we cannot afford to continue mailings to non-members. Please make checks for $16.00 payable to Frank Berkenkotter, not the club, as a club bank account would be too expensive. Current members: So, Hynes, Scammon, Murphy, Harris, Redmond, Haynes, Low, Burrall family (3), Kreiss, Crawford, Sniegowski, Newmiller, Hopkins, and Berkenkotter.

1999 Numbers:





Number of members:



Davis/Sacramento Go Club
c/o Frank Berkenkotter
Box 4, Guinda, CA 95637

The Club Committee:

Frank Berkenkotter (530)796-3582
Will Haynes (916)929-6112
Steve Burrall (916)685-1504
Fred Hopkins (916)853-3458
Jeff Newmiller



On February 27th, the D/SGC held its first tournament of 1999 at the University Union at CSU, Sacramento. There were 12 players playing in one group. Results were split into two divisions between 3k and 4k.

In Division I, Jeff Newmiller, 2k, placed first followed by Steve Burrall, 4D, in second, and Will Haynes, 1k in third.

In Division II, Kristen Burrall, 6k, came in first with a 4-0 score. Fred Hopkins, 3k, was second and Matt Burrall, 7k, placed third.

Division I

(1) Newmiller 2k 3-1
(2) S. Burrall 4D 2-2
(3) Haynes 1k 1-2
(4) Berkenkotter 3k 1-3

Division II

(1) K. Burrall 6k* 4-0
(2) Hopkins 4k 3-0
(3) M. Burrall 7k 3-1
(4) Murphy 4k 2-2
(5) Charles So 4k 2-2
(6) Kreiss 8k 1-3
(7) J. Low 5k 1-3
(8) Crawford 7k 0-4

* promoted to 5k.

Next Tournament:

Saturday, June 5, 1999, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Public Library in Davis.

Simultaneous Player Update

James Chien will be playing a simultaneous match with us on Saturday, May 16th at the public library in Davis from 1 to 4 p.m. A postcard will be sent out with more details as the event approaches.

Two Days with Yasuda Sensei

by None Redmond

One afternoon in late November, a small group of us flew up to Aomori from Tokyo to watch some of Yasuda-Sensei's go classes for small children. Yasuda-san is a young, strong 9 Dan professional, well known now in Japan for volunteering a great deal of his time to teaching children Go. His biographer came with us, also Yuki Shigeno, who some may remember from Congress 1998 and Michael Redmond, who acted as my interpreter. I had heard of Yasuda-sensei for many years because he and my son had been friends when they were students in Mr. Oeda's Dojo.

When Yasuda-Sensei first began this work there seemed to be no time in the children's cirriculum when Go classes might be fitted in. Yasuda asked if there were any deaf or handicapped children who had free time and he was told there were. It was with these children that he began his teaching career. However, when the authorities saw what his classes were like, the quickly expanded his program to include all of the children. While we were with him we saw him teach class after class in an elementary school starting with the very young. He also taught a small class of handicapped children as well as a much larger class of deaf children, one of whom was severely brain-damaged. Yasuda-Sensei teaches Go to bring people together, so that they have fun. He doesn't care, I think, whether they become great Go players; but he wants people to be together, connected, talking to one another, in touch. So when he appears in front of the children he'll do anything to attract their attention. He makes us, his guests, sing a song, say "Good Morning", "Guten Morgen", "Hello" to the children. He tells a story, asking them questions and acting out the parts. He writes a kanji on the board and asks them about it. He transforms himself into a horse (clop, clop, clop across the stage) and the children laugh to see him. They roar out the answers, crowding around him and the teachers can do nothing to control them.

When he has them in the palm of his hand, he smacks a stone on the magnetic Go board and asks the children, "How shall we capture the stone?" The children think that they know. One by one, they come up to the board, take the stones and show him how they would capture. At every attempt, Yasuda-Sensei is delighted. He applauds them, and the children return to their places satisfied. But bit by bit, Yasuda is whittling down the number of stones until there are just the 4 capturing stones around. The children seem to have discovered this familiar shape by themselves. Yasuda removes the lifeless stone and again and again shows the children why this stone is captured.

The children are grouped into two teams to play, then the teachers play against them. Sometimes the parents are there and they played in a team. The children rooted for their side, standing up in excitement and shouting "Watch out! Watch Out!" or "Go for it!". Sometimes handicapped children had to be physically helped to the board to place a stone. Yasuda watches with infinite patience, occasionally helping a small player to see a good move, always applauding the final decision because for some of these children, making any decision is a major step.

He doesn't teach about "ko" in the class. He waits for them to discover it for themselves. When they come to him complaining that they are going back and forth, over and over, then he negotiates with them, telling them that the single intersection eye is a "trap" and allowing them to develop the ko rule for themselves. After playing the capture game for some time with just one stone captured winning the game, the children play the game where the first one to capture 5 stones wins... and so on. After a bit, the idea of two eyes giving life develops and the children are playing beginner's Go on the 9x9 board.

One of the most moving things I have ever seen came at the end of the class with the deaf children. We were grouping for a photo session. Now that no one was watching her, the little autistic girl who before had only gone to the board reluctantly and with help had made her way there unaided and was carefully placing white stones around the black one and then removing it from the board. Not only had she understood the lesson, she had moved out of her lonely prison to try to play the game.

Go Booth at the Whole Earth Festival (May 7, 8, 9)

We are still deciding if we can afford the $35 fee to have a table at WEF. If we do have a table, who would be interested in working, and what times they would be available. Frank would need help setting up on Friday and packing up on Sunday. Also, a few people are needed throughout each day to play go and show people how to play Go. Please tell Frank when you would be available to help.

Friday Night Go at Steve's

In each newsletter we will list the schedule for Friday Night Go sessions at Steve Burrall's house, 9021 Bridgewater Court, Elk Grove, phone (916)685-1504. The upcoming dates are: April 9, April 23, May 14 and May 28. Go club is at 7 p.m. You are also invited to dinner at 6 p.m, if you bring a dish (please call in advance).

1999 Tournament Schedule

The remaining tournaments of 1999 will be June 5 and November 20 at Davis, and September 18 at CSUS (We are looking for an alternate site because of increased costs at CSUS).

Club Championships

The club gives a free membership and a small cash prize to the players in Division I and II with the most wins in each year. You must be a member and play in 3 or more tournaments in the year.

Here is a list of the past champions.

YR Div Name, Rank Wins
92 I Zhang, 4d 17
II Nitta, 7k 11
93 I Zhang, 4d 10
II Harris, 4k 7
94 I Kong, 4d 14
II Newmiller, 9k 13
95 I Hynes, 2d 13
II Harris, 3k 11
96 I Haynes, 1k 8
II Abronson, 11k 11
97 I Burrall, 4d 10
II Sniegowski, 8k 9
98 I Berkenkotter, 3k 9
II Murphy, 4k 9

AGA Membership

The club is an affiliate of the American Go Association. If you are interested in individual membership in the AGA, dues are $25 per year. Please write to:

American Go Association
P.O. Box 397
Old Chelsea Station
New York, NY 10113

Modified last on April 27, 1999 by Jeff Newmiller.
(Comments and suggestions welcome.)

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