#19 (January 1973), pg. 6, Wood You Believe It?
The B.G.A. were interested in a letter received by Derek Hunter recently from Robert H. Rushmer of Massachusetts, U.S.A. It seems that Mr. Rushmer has met with difficulties in obtaining the sort of equipment he requires at reasonable expense, as has been considering ways of making equipment, particularly a board, and of materials which could be used. He recalled a sort of wood called kwila which he saw at Hollandia, or what was formerly Dutch New Guinea, and is so enthusiastic that I cannot do better than to quote from his letter:
“It is the colour of dark caramel. … This wood has a deep-reflective radiance about it. It will never shrink, warp, crack, check, or shake. I made a small frame for a picture with it and all that was ever done to it was to rub it with another piece of kwila for the final finish. You would swear it had been sized and waxed to look at it. The reason I think of it in terms of a go-ban is that this piece rings like a xylophone when tapped … This would be a break with tradition, but a board made with that wood, and inscribed with the 19 lines in bright yellow, would certainly be a marvel! And it would last for three lifetimes. The piece I have is crowding 30 years old, and apart from the fading of the (natural) yellow deposit, it has not lost one bit of the original natural lustre in that time. Its only care is to rub off the dust now and again. It has never had one milligram of artificial finish – wax, laquer, varnish or whatever. When the sun hits it, it is ablaze with the deep, radiant, reflective richness.”
Starting a Go Club, pg. 7 (Francis Roads)
The most promising areas for Go clubs seem to be anywhere where computers are programmed, science and maths departments of universities, and other research establishments. (…) founding a Go club without such a focus as the ones I have mentioned is a much harder and longer job. (…) arrange things so that the potential convert asks YOU for information about the game (…) Arrange to be seen playing Go, or reading “Go Review” if you haven’t an opponent yet, in a common room or similarly public place. (…)
In review of the difficulties in obtaining equipment, it is well to emphasise from the start to your recruits the ease with which equipment can be made, using buttons, graph paper, etc. If making your own equipment for use by beginners, make only quarter-boards to start with, as beginners learn more quickly if progress to the full board is delayed as long as possible.
Anyone who wants to start a Go club must be prepared to spend a long time teaching beginners, many of whom will drop out, and playing boring games against very weak opponents. As soon as possible get a regular meeting place, even if it is just someone’s front room. One wants to make Go playing a habit, and to have a time and place where people know they can ‘drop in’ without warning. (…)
As soon as you can persuade five people to pay 20p, affiliate your club to the B.G.A. and start a programme of activities. Members tend to take more interest in a club that they feel is ‘doing something’, so start by asking your nearest club for a match. Don’t hesitate to ask because the club may be a very large or strong one – they will probably be only too pleased to help a new club. (…)
Another date in your calendar could be to invite a strong player to your club for a lecture or simultaneous display. The BGA secretary can arrange this if necessary. Never hesitate to take part in BGA Tournaments, however weak your players. (…)
As soon as you have something worth reporting you will, of course, contact your local newspapers and radio station. (…) I have found local (as opposed to national) media very co-operative, and prepared to publish almost anything they are sent. Local papers like photographs, especially if they show children or an attractive female playing Go.
Public libraries often keep registers of local organisations and diaries of events, and usually you only have to ask to get the Go club listed. (…) Many libraries stock books on Go, usually those by Lasker and Smith. However, show a little enthusiasm, and they may be persuaded to buy some or all of the Nihon Ki-in and Ishi Press books on Go. (…) If you can afford to present a book to the Library, they will usually let you inscribe it with the name and address of your club.
Libraries (…) will often display a poster about Go – suitable ones are available from the BGA. (…) Some local organisations, eg. Women’s Institutes, Young Conservatives, etc., find it difficult to find enough speakers to address their meetings. Here is a good opening for the Go-propagandist, armed if possible with some sort of demonstration board. Naturally, one will vary one’s approach according to the audience. For example, at the W.I. one would be discussing mainly the social and traditional aspects of Go, always bearing in mind that one’s real target was the husbands and children.
However, never expect too much immediate result from publicity ventures. (…) There are enormous barriers of apathy and ignorance to be overcome in creating a Go-conscious public in a particular area, and it should be looked on as a gradual process over a period of years. Your own efforts to gain publicity may well bear fruit years later, perhaps after you have left the district!