Setting up a Go club

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    Keywords: Clubs & Places

Setting up a go club is not so hard. All that is necessary is to have a place (or places) to meet. If you want to do it formally you could advertise an organizational meeting, with contact information for people who can't attend. Post notices at local universities or other places where go players might be found. Contact people from clubs in other cities (or your national organization) to find out whether they know of any players in your area or have any useful advice. Post a notice at the meeting place of the local chess club or at local game stores (if any). Use Places without a Club to find nearby players.

At the organizational meeting discuss meeting places and times and what people want or expect from a club. If you plan to have official club activities such as tournaments, ladders, equipment and/or books for members to use, affilliation with national go organizations, membership or participation fees, etc., you may need to have some formal administrative structure for the club. But the most important things for a go club are people to play and a place to do it. Some of the most successful clubs have grown from a group of friends who meet periodically to play at one another's homes. It often happens, though, that a successful, active club needs a few "spark plugs" who keep things going, calling or emailing members to make sure people are there at meeting times, organizing events, and making publicity.

Some web resources:


Hikaru79: Hm... it hasn't been this easy at all for me. I've tried starting one at my high-school, and there've been lots of problems. First, there's lack of interest -- very few people at my school play except for those I taught. Second, we have to have a sponsor teacher to supervise the meetings--you can imagine how hard it is to get a teacher to give up two hours daily of his/her time to watch kids playing a game they've never heard of. Then there's the equipment-- me and my friends have had to start sewing cloth boards and using bingo chips as stones... it gets the job done, but not exactly what we were looking for. Then there's people dropping out, people who want to participate but have all sorts of extracurriculars... ugh. x_x

StormCrow: One suggestion for school clubs is to see if there is a chess club or other intellectual club you can piggyback onto. It may not be daily (a daily high school club seems too frequent anyway), but you'll probabaly find an advisor willing to help out. As for equipment, if you contact the AGA, they may be able to help out. Through their association with the ING foundation, they may be able provide equipment or matching funds for equipment purchases for a school club.
Hikaru79: Hmm, already tried that, but there are disadvantages. First, there is little interest there. (It's a daily club, and me and another Go-playing friend play there every day, and yet nobody else has shown anything more than casual interest.) Second, there's a certain, erm... stigma that comes with being associated with a chess club. Other people think Go is like a chess variant or something, and shun it by default. So while piggybacking the chess club is OK for private games, it's definetly not an attention-seeker. Also, I live in Canada, so I doubt the AGA will be jumping at the opportunity :P But thanks for the suggestion ^^ I suppose I could try canvassing the CGA ^^;

C.S. Graves: I too live in Canada, and a comrade and I had tried to organize a baduk club in a small city. We used word of mouth and a local internet forum to drum up a few attendees (VERY few!). It inadvertently became a baduk/xiangqi club after the first meeting. The second meeting probably had the best attendance, but it was still a very small group. The third meeting was the last our gathering would have, as every other member had either moved out of town, left for university, or just lost interest. I was sad to see it go, but it was fun while it lasted, and the interest from passers-by was always good to see. My love of the game continues, and I'll gladly teach anyone in this little town who asks me. I still humour myself with daydreams of starting a kiwon here someday, if ever I can generate enough interest. I know what you mean by the stigma of such games... a local video game enthusiast quipped that he couldn't understand why people still play go after the invention of 3d accelerators. In my reply I stated that I couldn't see people still playing Grand Theft Auto 3000 years from now.

axd: I don't agree with Hikaru79 concerning piggybacking a chess club. It's end of March 2005, I'm in the process of trying to start up a Go club in Hasselt (with the added pressure that I'm leaving the area by the end of June). I had the idea to contact a local chess club where lot's of young people come and play, so I got the authorization to use their rooms at the same time the chess club would meet. The very first evening I was there alone for maybe an hour - almost to the point where I decided to leave - replaying positions from a book, and after a while a few (young to very young) chess players showed interest. They usually play a few chess games, then as the evening progresses, some of them will wander off in my direction. As a side note, it's mainly kids that are most attracted to the game, and then their parents, probably to be able to play with their kids; their parents later come by and sometimes reaction is then to place their kids before a dilemma: either chess or Go! Another observation is that the older chess players have far more difficulties in accessing the game: some can't grasp the rules, others don't even make the effort of asking for the rules... It seems as if kids just don't bother too much about rules, and want to get their hands on the game; while adults try to understand the rules, think up exceptions and sometimes give me a difficult time in trying to explain what's it all about LOL, because they will "jump" on anything that is not clear enough . Another strange observation I made was that the kids played a few chess games, and then went on playing card games (mind it: easy ones, not bridge), or football! As if they were obliged to play chess... I will try to figure out what's happening here, I'd like to understand why people that come together to play board games then divert to card games. Personally, I think that if the chess club can live with the danger of losing (some?) members by allowing a Go club among them, a combined club is able to offer more than the two clubs separately. Maybe when I will move to Gent (there's also a - relatively small, too small to my taste - club there), I think I will try to get more in touch with chess clubs in order to give Go more publicity. I'll try to keep updates about my progress here.

xinwen: I'm from a country without Go, where everyone know nothing about Go, but yet I've worked very hard to make it all come true. Check out my page might understand some ^^^. I'm still working to set up a Go Association in this country, Brunei Darussalam; so nothing is impossible!

xela: In my opinion, the single most important thing, if you want to attract and keep new players, is to create a welcoming atmosphere. I've been part of two clubs where, when a new person walked in the door, everyone would just stare at them for a moment and then ignore them. People were so focussed on playing their own games that they couldn't manage to say "hello, my name is (whatever), welcome to our club, would you like to learn how to play?" (or something like that). Both of those clubs died due to lack of new members.

Bob McGuigan: Yes, a friendly atmosphere is very important. If there is a regular core group of organizers/attendees, why not designate a "greeter" for each meeting whose job is to welcome newcomers and find them a teacher or opponent if they already know how to play? The job could be rotated among a group of volunteers so no one is overburdened with it.

bballkid:How is a club recognized by the AGA? Is there a form that needs to be filled out?

Spiritweaver: The [ext] AGF is an amazing resource for equipment problems. It's nothing fancy, but certainly better than nothing. They also provide 'The Way to Go' booklets as well as posters and a pad of kifu paper. They gladly sent a set to my school even though there are only five members, as well as a few others who come occasionally.

Path: Club =>
Setting up a Go club last edited by Spiritweaver on October 22, 2009 - 23:18
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