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For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Ron Rice
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director

For Release: January 4, 2006

State Board of Education Recognizes Student Go Board Game Champion

The State Board of Education today recognized Lionel Zhang, a 5th grade student at the Lawrence Intermediate School in Mercer County.

At the age of 10, Lionel is already a recognized Go board game champion.  Go is the world’s oldest board game that is still played in its original form

The game originated in China about 4,000 years ago and remains the only board game at which no computer has been able to beat the best human players.  In 2005, Lionel became the champion of Go in the under 12 years old class of the American Go Association. 

“We are proud to salute this young man’s 21st Century achievement in a board game several centuries old,” said Governor Richard J. Codey.  “Lionel’s success at this level and in all of his other extra-curricular activities bodes well for his future accomplishments that we all eagerly anticipate.”

“Lionel’s exemplary play under pressure-filled conditions clearly shows a student more mature than his age would initially suggest,” said State Board President Arnold G. Hyndman.  “The State Board recognizes not only Lionel’s winning ways, but also his dedication to being the best he can be as a student, competitor, and representative of his entire school district.”

“I join the Governor and the State Board in honoring Lionel Zhang as a champion both in the game Go and in life,” added Acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy.  “Lionel is a well rounded individual who has not allowed his success outside of his school to preclude his participation and achievements in clubs and organizations within his school.”

In addition to his achievements at Go, Lionel sings with the Lawrence Intermediate School chorus and has been playing the piano since the age of six.  He also enjoys skiing, bicycling, hiking, ice skating, ping pong, and computer games.

Lionel Zhang is also bilingual as he also speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Each month during the school year, the State Board of Education honors a student or group of students from a county in New Jersey to recognize academic excellence.  In December 2005, the State Board of Education recognized Sarah Brown, a senior at Burlington Township High School in Burlington County.

For more information, please contact the Department of Education Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.