Jenny Radcliffe / Durham Training

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Durham Go Club's Introductory Session for Beginners

On Thursday 14th October, as every year, Durham (UK) Go Club will be hosting an Introduction to Go for new students and other new players.


  1. Get everyone seated, say hello, introduce myself and (briefly) one or two experienced players. During this session, someone (Sandy? Andrew? Both to be on the safe side?) needs to count the number of "known faces" in the room, and the number of newcomers.
  2. Find out whether any of the newcomers already know how to play, to the extent of not needing to be told the rules, etc. If any such are around, set them to play an approximately appropriate old hand, with a vaguely appropriate handicap and board size.
  3. Explain the rules, simply and quickly; probably not including ko, but giving at least a brief explanation of how the game ends.
  4. Depending on how time is passing, a quick (9x9, obviously) demonstration game (prob me vs. Andrew, perhaps vs. Will) which will hopefully not be too complicated.
  5. Novices begin to play! Preferably each against an experienced player, but depending on the numbers, potentially against each other with each pair supervised by an experienced player.
  6. After the first games are finished, we will take a break. In theory, I'd like to serve cake then, but as I'm feeling a bit paranoid about the porter showing up and complaining, I will in fact not do so. While we're not eating cake, I'll give some more information about the club, the BGA, etc. Mostly about the club; membership not being required but what it provides, that kind of thing. And handicaps and the CoD.
  7. If there's time, there will then be more games of Go.
  8. At 2130, we will start to pack up, and go to the pub, where there will actually be cake. Anyone who can't go to the pub will be given cake to take away.

Notes for Experienced Players while Teaching (general as well as specific to this session)

  • Introduce yourselves! Ask your opponents' names! Repeatedly! (I mean, only more than once per game if you've forgotten, but every time you play a new opponent.)
  • Ko won't have been explained in the initial rules explanation, so when ko arises, explain it. And in games beyond the first one, re-explain it, while players are still fairly new.
  • Games should not be recorded on the CoD until the novice has won his/her first game.
  • Don't shout at new players who make mistakes, it puts them off. Instead, offer encouragement and explain mistakes. Save shouting for sessions after the third. (Please note, that's Mr 2d President saying that bit, not me.)
  • In general, turning to Jenny to ask who to play next is absolutely fine. It is, however, also perfectly acceptable to use your own judgement on the matter. Try not to play any one opponent too much, but feel free to observe that someone else has finished and swap novices with them, for instance, in these first weeks in particular. You should never be shouted at for finding an opponent instead of waiting for Jenny to assign one!
  • On determining handicaps: for a 19x19 board, the handicap is the gap between your grades. On 13x13, it is half the difference between your grades. And on 9x9, it is a quarter. In all cases round down, and for novices, assume they are 35k. (Alternatively, use the ladder's recommendations.)
  • Don't interrupt another experienced player's teaching unless their error is very seriously wrong. As in going-to-cause-havoc-wrong. Small errors by players less experienced than yourself (or even more experienced than yourself) are not a problem in introductions to beginners, just as the not-terribly-accurate model of an atom taught at school is not a problem to physics students. Interrupted lessons, on the other hand, are confusing and problematic.
  • In an ideal world, be at Elvet Riverside on time, if you can. That's 7:30 on the 14th October. Other sessions, well, be there when you can.
  • Don't take too long over introductory games!

Jenny Radcliffe / Durham Training last edited by on October 14, 2010 - 20:23
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