American Go E-Journal

Stephanie Yin 1P on MLily and the importance of promoting Go to kids

Thursday August 24, 2017

fullsizeoutput_beaby Karoline Li

After the beginning of Ryan Li’s top 16 game on Thursday 8/24 here in Tongling, Stephanie Yin 1P and I got a chance to sit down to chat about her Go career and her experience here at the MLily Cup. “I think I’m more nervous than Ryan is,” she laughed. “I am so proud that he has achieved this all on his own, without a teacher.” She is also happy that there are AGA representatives here to support Ryan, and not just her. “We think that last time, we were like individual soldiers, but this time we’re a troupe.” She and Ryan have been together since just after the 2016 US Go Congress in Boston. Since they are both professional go players, I wondered whether or not they ever play against each other; Stephanie says they have played a total of four games, and they each won two of them. “We haven’t played since his top 64 MLily Cup game,” she explains with a smile. “I think that after that tournament experience and his match with Chen Yaoye 9P he has improved a lot.”

Stephanie’s own Go journey began at the age of seven. Her father is a go player and big fan of the game. “He and Ryan are the same,” she laughs. “If they don’t touch go at least once a day they feel like something is wrong.” She started studying under her father’s teacher, and after only a year she won first place in the student city tournament, winning against older students who had been studying longer. She started studying at a professional Go school in Beijing at age nine, and became a professional Go player at age 16 in 2007. “I only competed for one or two years before moving to the states,” she says of her competitive career. After moving the US, she attended Fordham University in the Bronx studying finance. After graduation, she worked as a stock broker and taught go for a year before quitting her finance job to found the New York Institute of Go in August of 2016. “Teaching go full time makes me more proud of myself,” she explains, her passionate about teaching evident. “When I see a beginner who didn’t know about go begin to like it and improve, even after just one lesson, that makes me happy.” She has about 50 students now in group lessons, school programs, and after-school programs, and her Go program has just been approved by the parent teachers association of a network of schools in Manhattan; they will be starting Go clubs in September. “A new way to promote Go in the US is through rating competitions,” she suggests. She held just such a competition recently for her students in New York. These competitions are held with the purpose of assigning a rating to a beginner who hasn’t played in tournaments yet; they can use their new rating to compete in other tournaments, and work towards promotion. One of the things she’d like to see in the US is an organized system of rating and promotional competitions to get more beginners interested in learning and improving their Go skills. One of the most important things we need, she says, is to encourage teachers to put in the effort to promote Go in schools and community places like libraries to reach out and introduce new people to the game. “I think the market for Go in the US is large,” she says after her first year of full-time teaching experience. “We need to find sponsors like MLily for our events so we can reach more potential players and really work to promote Go.”
report/photo by Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief