Today was definitely the best day of the trip so far. Jon and i decided to go out to take a look at a Weiqi (aka Go, a strategy board game that we are obsessed with) school that we heard was down the street. Previously, we’d been searching high and low for a club where we could drop in and play games, but we had trouble finding any indication that such a place existed. We knew there had to be a place, but we couldn’t find one advertised anywhere and nobody we talked to knew of one.
Our luck changed the other day when i had some success searching google in chinese and managed to find a news report mentioning a Weiqi school here in Hangzhou. I looked up the address and it was on the street that borders the university, and ended up being just 1 block away from our foreign-student dorm here. So today we set out to check it out and hopefully play a game or two. The result was beyond our wildest dreams.
We entered the building and went to the 6th floor to some offices of the school and asked if there was a place where we could play, and they redirected us to the 4th floor. Our hearts jumped when we saw that the 4th floor was full of rooms with Weiqi boards and comfy chairs. they led us past a classroom full of 6-year-olds taking lessons. They sat us down in yet another room full of weiqi boards and brought in 2 six-year-olds to play against us. we kinda looked at each other, and looked back at the little kids, and shrugged our shoulders. playing kids was better than nothing, we thought. turns out the kids were awesome. they had a very deep knowledge of the game already. It was like going to an elementary school concert expecting tone-deaf kids choirs, but finding violin virtuosos. I lost my first game by about 5 points. The game was very strange too…judging by the skill behind a lot of the moves, the kid should have mopped the floor with me, but i think my strategy and foresight were stronger and balanced out his dictionary-like knowledge of shape and tactical responses.
afterwards, we talked with the teacher for a while in a combination of broken english and broken chinese. She said we could come there to play, study, and get lessons if we helped her with her english. she said the classes normally cost 1500 yuan, or about $200 Canadian per month. Anyway, we’re going to go there every day. She’s assigned us some practice problems already, and we also have to play a game against each other and record the moves so she can review it with us. It sounds like we might actually get more homework there than we do with our chinese classes.
I’m really happy about this…before i planned to come to china for chinese lessons, i had considered going to beijing for weiqi lessons…now i’m getting both, with one of them basically for free. good times!
Ride hard, ride free