Fifteen-year-old Coloradan Zipei Feng is The Bride of the Go world, slaying twenty competitors at a time in the 4,000-year-old Eastern board game. It's a complex, mentally challenging match -- though certainly not as bloody as the encounters in Kill Bill Vol. 1. In China, promising Go players are recruited by a national committee to live and study at a central institute, where they immerse themselves in the intricacies of this game of strategy. Players face off on a nineteen-by-nineteen-inch ruled board, using black and white stones to acquire territory and surround their competitors to prevent any gains.
Feng learned the game at age eight and rose to the level of Shodan (trust us: that's very, very good) by nine -- a big feat, considering that it takes most novices six months to score their first win. But he didn't get the opportunity to enlist in the national institute, because his father, a scientist, accepted a job offer in Colorado and moved his family here from China. So now the prodigy is just a normal American schoolkid with a rock-solid hobby. He's also a welcome, if intimidating, visitor at the local Go clubs, where most of the members are adults. "He comes in and plays everybody in the room at once and beats them all," says Boulder Go Club spokesman Paul Barchilon, a pal of Zipei's. "He just trounces them."
Does Feng ever dream of going back to China to compete? "No, because they are too strong," he says with a twinkle in his eye.
Get a Grip
EMS Bouldering Day takes off
The south end of Carter Lake, 1800 South County Road 31 in Loveland, is littered with so many large rocks, it looks like something exploded. During today's fourth annual EMS Bouldering Day, outdoor-lovers of all abilities can scurry up the look-alike shrapnel under the supervision of knowledgeable staff from Eastern Mountain Sports. Climbers will need special footwear and chalk to give them Spidey-worthy traction; a limited reserve of demo shoes and chalk will be available for the equipment-challenged.
Proceeds from the $6-per-car entry fee, which includes lunch, will benefit the Access Fund, a nationwide organization dedicated to preserving climbing areas and keeping them open.
For registration and information, call the Glendale EMS at 303-759-3080 or the store's Boulder location at 303-442-7566. -- Caitlin Smith