Book on Go for Elementary School

Name:Book on Go for Elementary School
Contributor:Tibor Rapai
Organisation:Hungarian Go Association


While being responsible for international affairs within the Hungarian Go Association executive, I am starting some personal activities now based on my Japanese knowledge and inspirations from several persons around me. It is going to be a project of wide effect and I need your help to be able to publish the ever first book on Go in Hungary. In May 2002 we had a group of Japanese players visiting Budapest GP, lead by Nihon-Kiin 6dan professional player Masaaki Hirano sensei. He helped us with instructions and game commentaries during the tournament, and we experienced his teaching style and warm, informal personal attitude to be very close to us. His ideas were understandable for weak kyu players as well while analysing top amateur players' games. The atmosphere was similar to that of Saijo sensei's lessons during the European Go Congresses.


That time I heard from Hirano sensei about his new series of Go teaching books, the first of which has just come out from print in Japan (the date of publishing is 2002 September 15). When we spoke about situation of Go in Hungary, I asked him about a possibility to translate his book into Hungarian. Then he kindly offered his help to publish the book in Hungary.


Later I have received both the book and the material on CD from him. I have just started the translation now, and my plan (based on talks with a journalists knowing well such things) is to reach all Hungarian elementary schools countrywide with Go promotion material. It can be done using the School-book Publishing Company's help. They send regularly a list of available books to all schools, the books are ordered by the schools simply writing the necessary numbers into the boxes on the list, very easily. The promotion material will include a free flyleaf offering the book, sent together with the list as follows:


A free flyleaf in colour and high quality, in final print two sided A4 size, the first page containing:

1. Introduction of Hirano sensei's book: Winning and losing patterns in Go (with picture on the left)

2. Description of the board, instructions how to build a paper board oneself (picture of a board on the right)

3. The basic rules of Go (all small paragraphs with a funny caricature connecting Go to real life or other sport, eg. illustrating black and white consequent moves with black and white sumo wrestler figures standing on stones)

4. Short introduction (in one sentence for each) the versions of playing: Atari-go, equal game and handicap go, Japanese counting.


The second page of the flyleaf will introduce some basic techniques briefly, also with simple diagrams:

1. Catching (groups of) stones with ladder, geta, eyes, false eyes, cutting, living groups, ko rule

2. Basic patterns of connected stones, extensions from groups and vital points to attack groups

3. Finally list of go resurces on the Web, HGA, EGF, and my own home page with online ordering.

Of course these basics would fill up several books separately if discussed in details with exercises. My basic aim is to reach, with series of visually understandable definitions, the level where the book starts. I have also in my mind that such information is available already from several sources. For example there is a small guide in the Go sets other HGA members keep selling, and good teaching material on HGA's home page. Also Hirano sensei plans to write an introductory book within his series.


I think the Winning and losing patterns is a book highly needed both by our active players and the beginners, because it is speaking in easily understandable terms about the direction of the play. This way it can give not only useful knowledge but basic thinking about Go play for all of us. Such a book represents value and can be used by all players or becoming players. I plan to sell it on a minimum price, which covers the costs of printing and distribution. I need financial aid from the award to be able to print out this flyer and the book in nice quality. Then the future  - surely quite limited - income from selling the book will be the basis to publish the next ones and making further steps.


Introducing the game of Go using the school-book publishing channels to all elementary schools in Hungary. With ordering the book, using Web resources, and ordering or self-making Go sets there can self-supported go circles emerge around interested teachers. Such groups can give place for go teaching courses held by members of HGA later. I am also thinking about showing Hikaru no Go video series during go courses in schools to generate high interest among the pupils. Hikaru is proved to be a big success in Japan already. Attaching Hungarian subtitles for the series would be a manageable work in size; I have already contacted Ms. Rina Yamamoto asking about the possible solution regarding copyright.


I have started already the translation of Hirano sensei's book and collecting material for the flyer. Of course the contents of both will be checked by a top dan player before publishing, I plan to ask Tibor Pocsai 6dan, our former European champion for this task. The basic thing I would like to add, that I don't want to get money from the award only for promises. I need your help only when the book gets ready for printing, so - in case you think my project deserves supporting with the help of the award - I can present you the electronic material before the transfer of money!


Until now only own resources and the generous help of Masaaki Hirano sensei.

Possibilities to copy this project

I think each country can move ahead with promotion in this way, maybe many did similarly already. My key ideas are using school-book distribution channel, free introduction flyleaf with caricatures, instructions how to make paper Go set, easy book (and Go set) ordering (through the school-book publisher and on Web), then helping Go circles combining usual teaching methods and Hikaru no Go.

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