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Proud father sees his son learn to make the right moves

By Lin Shujuan in Shanghai | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-05-07 10:21

In 2010, Shen Yao spent one semester at Arizona State University in the United States as part of his two-year MBA program at Shanghai's Fudan University. He rapidly discovered that a cafe near the Arizona campus had been the gathering point for Go players each week.

When Shen, an amateur 5-dan player since his teenage years, joined the event, the former marketing professional in the machinery industry was surprised to learn that the weekly games, initiated by a professor in the 1980s, had been taking place for more than three decades.

"I never imagined that they would continue to attract regular players for so long. This is virtually impossible in China, as few people my age have the time to play Go regularly," said Shen, who was born in 1975.

"China has been developing rapidly for decades and we are far too busy. But I believe the country will soon reach the stage where people will be able to slow down and find more time for leisure, if not for themselves, then for their children."

After graduating from the MBA program in 2011, Shen saw that the hobby industry at home was about to take off, and decided to enter it.

"At the time, as the father of a 1-year-old son, I was already considering a hobby for him," he said.

Go was a natural answer, as Shen, who grew up admiring the Chinese master Nie Weiping, is an avid player himself.

In September 2011, Shen set up BestGo, an education institute catering to preschool and school-age children. It also develops several Go-themed apps for online learning, tutoring, tournaments and various other activities.

After nearly eight years, BestGo, riding the boom in the extracurricular training market, has grown popular in the Yangtze River Delta region. It boasts more than 20 branches, where over 4,000 students, including Shen's son, are learning to play the game.

Shen said he is glad to see his boy, who has been learning Go for five years, has discovered "the joy of thinking" associated with the ancient game.

"I know for sure that Go will be a lifelong hobby for him," he added.

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