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It's Go Time

Floris Elementary students compete to participate in tri-school Go Tournament.

Students ranging in age from 5 to 12 years old competed Jan. 25 at Floris Elementary School for the chance to play in a tri-school tournament at the end of the month.

The competition?

A Go tournament.

At the seventh annual tournament at Floris, students played against each other, slowly whittling down contestants until a final winner from each grade level is left.

Go is a board game that originated in China more than 4,000 years ago, according to the American Go Association Web site. In Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, Go is more popular than chess is in the United States and professional players compete for large cash prizes.

The premise of the game is that players alternate placing black and white stones on a large ruled board, with the intent to surround as much board space as possible. Stones are never moved, but can be removed if they are completely surrounded by the opponent's stones.

To simplify things, Floris students used laminated boards with dry erase pens.

This year's in-school competition finalists were kindergartner Sohan Ray; first-grader Ajit Gupta; second-grader Sean Noyes; third-grader Jared Abelson; fourth-grader Tony Xiao; fifth-grader Jooh Ho Yeo; and sixth-grader Eric Shiao. These students will participate in the third annual tri-school Go tournament Feb. 24 in the school's cafeteria against finalists from Fox Mill and Great Falls.

Before the start of the tournament, Mitsuru Kitano, minister for public affairs for the Japanese Embassy, presented $1,000 worth of educational supplies to the school for its Japanese Immersion program.

"We support the idea of an immersion program and wanted to give the students the opportunity to widen their perspectives and open their eyes to other cultures," Kitano said about the donation.

The embassy also donated Japanese scholastic supplies to Fox Mill and Great Falls Elementary — the two other county schools with Japanese Immersion programs.

<1b>— Brynn Grimley