Stephanie Yin, professional 1-dan and 32 years of age, is the founder of the New York Institute of Go (NYIG). She was kind enough to sit down with us and answer a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:
Jeremy Kaiser: What has your experience of the EGC been so far?
Stephanie Yin: I’ve really enjoyed the past 10 days. It’s very nice to see a lot of family and warm and friendly players from all over the world. This is my first time at the EGC. So it’s my first time meeting the European pros in person and talking to them.
I played a couple VIP teaching games and it was fun. But I didn’t have time to play in any events at EGC. [Shortly before this interview she played a teaching game against Congress Director René Scheibe]
JK: Do you have any role models in terms of Go?
SY: I have a bunch. In terms of style, I studied a lot of Lee Chang-ho games.
JK: Do you think the Go community should be more diverse?
SY: Of course, diversity is one of the most important things. If we have more people coming in from more cultural backgrounds, then the Go community will become bigger and stronger. We just need to keep promoting and let more people know about this game.
JK: Can you tell me a few things about the Go community in the US?
SY: It feels like there’s more tournaments happening in Europe regularly. It might be because the countries are closer, I don’t know. I heard there are over 2.000 active members in Germany, that’s quite impressive. Compared to the AGA, the AGA has a similar amount. And if we add all the members in the EG, that’s a lot more.
JK: Can you tell me a bit about the NYIG?
SY: Of course! Maybe I should start from the beginning…I actually studied at university in New York after I became a pro and majored in finance. After graduating, I started working at a brokerage firm. I had been teaching at a lot of Go events, like promoting Go in libraries, holding workshops in schools and teaching at the US Go Congress. I realized a lot of players were very eager to learn. But they didn’t have access to resources, so they just studied by themselves. Every time we went to workshops, they’re so friendly and want to learn as much as possible. That’s why I quit my job and founded NYIG: to provide a physical and permanent place for all people to play and learn.
JK: What are your goals for the future?
SY: Yes. I always wanted to promote Go especially focussing on the younger generation as much as I can. That’s why we started writing a series of text books in 2017.
I had the idea in 2010-ish and we started writing around 2016/2017. So far we’ve finished 12 books already. The books are systematic teaching books for beginner to 3-dan. We are currently in the last stages before publishing, just editing the books and correcting some errors. So, the idea is to have a series of books that are useful to both teachers and students. Currently, it’s very hard to find a systematical teaching book. Once you reach 20k, what’s next? Once you reach 10k, what’s next? A lot of books are great for specific topics, but it’s really hard to find teaching books based on playing strength.
Once we publish those books, it will also be much easier for teachers. Right now, teachers use various own teaching materials. At some point, they may lose track of what to teach next. Once teachers have a syllabus, we want to encourage more people to become Go teachers.
JK: How do get more people to become Go teachers?
SY: First of all, they need to have an actual teaching plan. They can simply follow our text books when teaching their students. Once they have more students, they can maybe make a living. After that, many more people will be able to teach Go full-time.
JK: So your books are mainly for professional teachers?
SY: No, they’re for everyone! For example, Book 1 is for beginners – 30kyu to 26kyu. So maybe a 15kyu player can start teaching those 30kyu students. But without the books, they would have to find the materials themselves. If the book is ready, it will be much easier to start teaching ¬– that’s the whole idea!
We haven’t published any books, though. We want to publish all of them as a series. Hopefully they will be published by the end of this year.
JK: Do you have a message to your fans?
SY: I enjoyed myself very much at EGC and I’m looking forward to returning to the EGC next year in Toulouse. If anyone visits New York or plays Go in New York, visit us! We’re always happy to show you guys around!