African-American Youth &
Family Board Game Sessions
©Michael Oshoosi, 2017
"Strategy=Tempo, Position, and Strength Instructional Method, ("S=TPS")" ™
Teaching Life “Strategy” To African-American Youth
Through Three World Class Traditional Games
--An African-Centered Approach--
Hosted Weekly by:
[ YOUR ORGANIZATION’S NAME ]
[ YOUR ORGANIZATION’S ADDRESS ]
Activity Creator & Promoter:
Michael Oshoosi, (Using the
“Strategy=Tempo, Position, and Strength Instructional Method, (S=TPS)”™2017)
“Open Play Day” Game Sessions
Ages 14 and Up
(Separate Sessions for Ages 6 -13 ASAP)
Chess Go/ Wei-chi
1st and 3rd Sundays / 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
During February and March, 201
1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays / 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
During April, May, June and July, 2017.
“Play’as Only” Seminar Sessions
These once-monthly seminars are open to anyone who recei-
ves a “Play’as’ Circle Card.” Please See “Rules” in the Appendix
"A" to see how easy it will be to obtain a “Play’as Circle Card.”
2:00 p.m.to 4:00 p.m. 4th Sunday “S=TPS” Evaluation of Members’ Games
of Warri/Mancala, Go/Wei-chi and
Chess-- showing why the mastery
of “Tempo, Position and Strength”
is the key to gaining advantages and winning contests.
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 4th Sunday “S=TPS” Evaluation of Members’ Personal
Stories (from Life Itself) that illus- trate why “mindfulness” of "Tem- po," Position and Strength” is highly valuable.
*The three official games of this system for teaching strategy-in-life are Warri-Mancala, Chess and Go (or Wei-chi). Any African-American youth (or family) member can participate in playing any of the board games in this program on any “Open Play Day,” but to receive a “Playa’s Circle Card” one must learn the simple basics of all three games. Yet this is not difficult: Warri/Mancala and Go/Wei-chi take about one hour each; Chess takes about two hours to learn the moves and rules, and about ten 30-minute (avg.) games to learn how to win.
FOR WHOM? WITH WHOM?
These activities are free for all who participate. Small donations for refreshments are encouraged. Initially, the starting age for all participants will be 14 years (but
soon, children’s sessions may be added).
This project is purposed to raise the self-esteem and evaluative skills of youth and family members with predominantly African, Afro-Latin/Caribbean, and African-American heritage. Its primary purpose is to foster thinking sophistication, decision-making, and leadership skills in real life. Secondarily, it is to foster recreation and fellowship.
This project is a stand-alone program that can be instituted anywhere. In the instant case, this program will be offered at (and for the benefit of) your non-profit, tax exempt, community association named [ YOUR ORGANIZATIONS’s NAME ].It is a multi-purpose program (ages 14 and up) for African-American youth, family mem- bers and adults who reside in [ YOUR ] metro area. The program’s location is [ YOUR LOCATION ].”
The program creator and “Game Salon Facilitator” is Michael Oshoosi Wright (or, simply, “Michael Oshoosi,” as he is an initiated priest in the Yoruba religion--Cuban Lucumi-Santeria variant)--and has professional backgrounds in psychology and law. He is a player of very modest skill levels in each of the three core games in the prog- ram. But he is versed enough in the games to teach them and their important rules to novices or to proctor games for any players.
When asked, he (or any “Game Day Helper”) can verify that a participant knows the rudiments of the three games and can, therefore, be given a “Play’as’ Circle Card.” (Please see Appendix A for a brief description of how a participant can obtain a card. Also, please see Appendix B for pictures of Chess, Warri/Mancala, Wei-Chi games. Appendix C is a flyer that depicts African-American children playing Warri / Mancala in Harlem, NYC, and Appendix D depicts Dr. Michael Oshoosi ’s interests in these games and the bases of his abilities to organize such a project of gaming for African-American youth and families).
--By using the play of three ancient and culturally-rich board games from Africa (“Warri/Mancala”), Asia (“Go” or “Wei-chi”), and Euro-Asia (Chess), we can help any person learn the concept of “strategy” and its importance for prevailing in life’s contests or personal challenges
--African-American youth, in particular, will only benefit by helping them develop evaluation and leadership skills. The world today is complex, fleeting (“digital”), impulse-driven and, frankly, dangerous. Sometimes our youth are faced with so many distractions, and have suffered such a gap in the handoff of experience from their immediate preceding generations, that they sometimes mix-up goals or objec- tives with strategems (and often confuse both of them up with tactics) in to a hard-to-explain mish-mash of thinking. Consequently, frequent poor decision-making occurs. But this educational program helps youth gain a respect for ‘longer-term’ goals and rewards and, thus, this fun training also helps to suppress impulsivity.
--What better way to instill clearly organized thinking, gain impulse control and, therefore, instill effective planning and decision-making in a young person than to do so in a way that is, at once, great recreational fun (e.g., in participating on the “Open Play Days”), on the one hand, but is also connected to a clear educational program and objective (e.g., participating in the monthly “S=TPS Seminars”™ on how to identify and develop “strategies), on the other?
--By drawing on three grand gaming traditions--with an African one at the center
(Warri-Mancala is the oldest game in the world!)--this is a culturally-congruent program of education for young African-American girls and boys, and elder-folk as well, whose African and African-American heritage of excellence in thought and creativity has been long-battered by the toils and tribulations of life, generally-speaking, in a socially hostile and neglectful environment. To every extent then, we must expose as many of our youth as we can to alternative ways of being and func- tioning that include: tactile and real-world tangible (not just digital) experience, forethought and patience, the evaluation of complicated situations, and the mast- ery of the principles of psychological “warfare,” i.e., how to identify and contend with it through the lessons learned in gamesmanship.
PHILOSOPHY: How Do We Recognize a Winner?
--The most important ethical aspirations in this project—good will and sports- manship--can be illustrated by asking these questions: “Win, lose or draw, did I give my opponent a good run for his or her money?” Or, “were there periods in the game when I played very well (even though I lost the game in the end)? If the an- swers to these questions are “yes” then you are a top-notch, A-1, BIG-time winner! (In tourn ament play our biggest trophy would go to the person or persons who showed the most tenacity and brilliant tactics in a recorded game; even if he or she ultimately lost the game. (This spirit, after all, was the basis of the traditional “brilliance award” often given to a player in the old-time chess tournaments—regardless of who scored the most tournament points and “won--who used the most tenacious, creative or even “brilliant” tactics of play in a game in that event).
--The second important ethical goal is competence. Did I play well-enough to actual-
ly prevail in the game; to win, formally-speaking? If the answer to this question is “yes,” then you are a top-notch, A-1, BIG-time winner!
--The third most important objective is to engage in consistent winning so that one can accumulate a higher ranking in the world associations for Chess, Warri/Mancala, or Go (Wei-chi). Am I becoming a consistent winner? If the answer to this question is “yes” then you are a top-notch, A-1, BIG-time winner! You are a person who can eval uate his or her play (or real-life social situations and challenges) using my strategy-evaluating system called “STRATEGY=TEMPO, POSITION and STRENGTH IN- STRUCTIONAL METHOD™” And this is where the seminars come in.
--Honoring “formalities!” There are reasons that we use only three games, reasons
why we insist on standard rules of play and standard pieces (e.g., Staunton design chess pieces), and reasons why we have standards in the field of play. We aim to teach the African-American youth about formalities. Knowing the differences bet- ween formal and informal situations and speech is important to learn from the ear- liest years possible; starting, hopefully, no later than the age of seven.
HOW TO PROCEED?
DISCUSSIONS AND AGREEMENTS BETWEEN [ YOUR ORGANIZATION ] AND
1. Seeking agreement on the aims and terms of this Prospectus. Set dates for gen- eral recruitment meeting for participants and potential “Game Day Helpers” through flyer distributions that invite them be involved.
2. Michael Oshoosi will provide two sets each of Warri/Mancala, Go/Wei-chi), and Chess to [ YOUR ORGANIZATION ]. These will be the first sets to be used. Additional sets may be lent to the “club” on an “as needed” weekly basis, but shall remain the property of Michael Oshoosi Wright (IKO, Inc.) for occasional use in other venues.
[ YOUR ORGANIZATION ] is free to buy its own sets at any time, of course.
3. [ YOUR ORGANIZATION’S ]officials will, without question, support the activity promoter and Game Salon Facilitator, Michael Oshoosi Wright, in his decision, should the situation arise, to re-direct anyone from the game salon if his or her beh- avior is a distraction to the peace, concentration and harmony of the other players.* (But for persons with clinically diagnosed mental or behavior disorders, reasonable accommodations may be possible—most likely involving separate group or person- alized game sessions).
The once-monthly Seminars on “S-=TPS” principles will be run by the Salon Game Facilitator. They constitute the “Theory class" for this program. He will provide 30 days’ notice to [ YOUR ORGANIZATION ] if he elects not to continue these seminars within the six month—to—one year trial period. Similarly, he will give [ YOUR OR- GANIZATION ] no less than 30 days’ notice if he intends to cease “Open Play Day” facilitation. Similarly, [ YOUR ORGANIZATION ] can serve a 30-day notice on him that
it wishes to cease hosting the events at [ YOUR ORGANIZATION’S ] faclities at any time.
4. The once weekly (or every two week) “Open Play Day” will be facilitated by the
“Salon Game Facilitator” (Michael Oshoosi) and the “Game Day Helpers,” but the event will be considered hosted and enabled by the [ YOUR ORGANIZATION ]. These Saturday game days will be analogous to the “Lab section” of the program. [ YOUR ORGANIZATION ] will, therefore, promote and solicit volunteers to be helpers (they should be willing learn the rudiments of all three games).
Volunteers will be called “Game Day Helpers.” They must be willing to attend a special orientation sessions or some of the “Open Play Day” sessions in order to learn the rudiments of all three games, to familiarize themselves with the basic rule books that will govern play in the salon, and to familiarize themselves with small ad- ministrative or hospitality matters.
5. “Game Day Helpers” tasks include (a) setting up tables and game boards, (b) preparing and putting snacks out for guests, (c) attending the session 30 minutes early for the orientation, (d) personally coaching attendees to get them to the point where they can earn a “Play’as Circle Card,” (e) giving the salon 45 minutes’ notice before the end of play that day, (f) making neat the salon 30 minutes before closing, and (g) collecting all game boards, pieces, stones, and closing the salon.
‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’
--Traditional African Wisdom
SOME OF THE NOTABLE RULES FOR CONDUCTING THE SALON
1. Round-Robin Table Play: The winner plays, in succession, anyone who sits at the table as an observer (or volunteers to be a game recorder) and wishes to play—next in order. A person who has won five games in a row shall offer his or her seat to the next awaiting player.
2. Personal Game Play: Participants may play the same person repeatedly, with-
out limit, if they so agree; so long as enough sets are available for the Round-Robin table players. (Personal game players must respect the same traditions, brands, and the general rules of this salon that include the specific standard rules of play for each type of game, and type of pieces used as well).
3. Disputes about play issues or the maintenance of salon decorum are matters to be resolved by the Salon Game Facilitator, if required.
4. The Rules and Authorities: Chess games and club tournaments shall be gover- ned by the latest, most current version of the “U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess.” The rules governing the play of Warri/ Mancala shall be found in “Instruct- ions for Mankala,” and the rules governing Go (Wei-chi) are from the “Rules of the Nihon Ki-in and Kansai Ki-in (1949) as modified in 1989. And the method of play may be found in the chapter on “Fundamentals” in “Go & Go-Moku: the Oriental Board Games.” (These rules will be provided for free in an orientation seminar for “Game Day Helpers).”
5. Official boards for all three games shall be used. Official pieces--wooden or plastic--for chess are called “Staunton design,” the official pieces for Go/Wei-chi are called “ishi,” or “stones” and are made of polished plastic, ceramic, or hardened lacquer, and the pieces for Warri/Mancala are called “seeds” or “marbles.” These are the only pieces allowed in the salon for play.
6. “Play’as’ Circle Card” shall be issued to any person who learns and does or demonstrates the following things in at least one observed game observed by (ob-
served by the "Game Salon Facilitator" or by a “Game Day Helper.” [A simple writ- ten test, involving simple problem-solving in the three games can suffice for an of ficially observed game]. Having a “Play’as’ Circle Card” enables one to become a “Game Day Helper” (if desired) and also to participate in the once monthly “S=TPS Seminars”®™
Warri/ Mancala: The player:
(a) knows how to set up the board with is seeds or stones.
(b) knows how to take alternate turns to proceed with play
by “sowing” seeds in to the 14 “pits.”
(c) knows how to get “free turns.”
(d) knows how to capture.
(e) knows the logic behind when to seek to end the game on
favorable terms (i.e., by winning the most “enemy” stones
Chess: The player:
(a) knows the names of all pieces and how they move.
(b) knows the concepts of “check,” an “illegal move,” checkmate,
capturing en passant, adjusting a piece (“j’adoube”), castling,
stalemates and other “draw” situations.
(c) demonstrates the ability to checkmate any opponent in an obser-
Go (Wei-chi): The player:
(a) knows the basic method of casting stones onto the board, alter- nately, in the course of play.
(b) knows the terms or concepts: “Me” or “Moku,“ “Ko” (situations),
the “Seimoku” points, “Go Bang” (five-in-a-row play), and “Kagame”
(c) how to recognize when a game has no more room for continuation,
must end, and a winner decided.
7. “S=TPS Seminars” ® (Strategy Equals Tempo, Position and Strength)
Type One Seminar: “S=TPS” Evaluation of Members’ Games
Using the recorded games of our “Play’as’ Circle Card” holders,
of our Warri/Mancala, Go/Wei-chi and Chess players—we will
show why the mastery of “Tempo, Position and Strength” is the
key to gaining advantages and winning contests.
Type Two Seminar: “S-TPS” Evaluation of Members’ Personal
From members’ anecdotes themselves, we will learn that, in life,
“mindfulness” of “Tempo, Position and Strength” is highly valu-
able in solving all manners of contests, strivings, and decision-
*The ambience, tradition and brand of a “game salon” is important. Though this is an indelicate subject, these programs (game salons) are not group psychotherapy events for the further growth and development of highly troubled people. A game salon is a formal, low-keyed, and pleasant place to be—no exceptions, no excuses. Officials, therefore, should support the Salon Game Facilitator, without reserva- tion and prevent “splitting” around the antics of a problem person or his or her advocate. If an advocate is not able to successfully super- vise a difficult person, unfortunately, anyone who gets on nerves of the other participants (and especially the nerves of the Salon Game Facilitator) is subject to being re-directed--outward.