How does one make a Go workshop?

Hi there!

There will be a Japan Festival at the Historical Museum in Bern (Switzerland) on the 15th of September 2019 (come and visit!). Now, my local Go club was asked to do a workshop there and a few of us decided to take things in hand.

However, I have no idea how a “Go workshop” should be made up. We expect around a thousand to 1500 visitors to the event. The audience will be partly Japanese expats living here, but mostly local people who probably never heard of Go before. Space seems limited. I happen to work at that Museum and asked my boss about the space, and she said, it’s gonna be rather tight.

I thought about maybe two tables, one where two players from the club play a match that laypeople can kiebitz, with another one of us commenting what they’re actually doing, and a second table with equipment, books, tsumego and the like, where we can show people the rules. Maybe some 9x9 boards and stones which people can use to try out a match on their own.

Can some of you maybe give us some advice? I’d appreciate it very much.


I’d say allow visitors to play at both tables. The club game will be of little interest for beginners, and experienced players (you can expect a few at a Japan Festival) will want to play. One selling point of Go is the simplicity of the rules, and people will be happy to experience a full (9x9) game.

Also, how about a computer? That usually attracts visitors. You could offer online tsumego, Go-playing AI (leverage AlphaGo fame), and short videos.


We did something similar at a schools festival. We had a magnetic 9x9 demo board which nicely served as an eye-catcher. We used it for explaining when we had visitors and for playing when there were none, to attract people, which didn’t work that bad. We also had 2 or 3 9x9 and 19x19 boards ready and had people playing capture go there.


Thank you, I like these ideas.

this is a few years ago, so forgive me if its a bit wrong

I used do the the Cherry Blossom Festival with the crew from the Seattle Go Center in the US. We had the packets that the AGA handed out which was the printed rules, and paper stones and 9x9 board (I think) for them to take home with them.

There were usually 2-3 of us working, and I think we had a barker and some signage. if there were two people I would teach them how to play capture (using glass stones I think) with a crosscut in the middle of the board and watch them play each other, otherwise I would play the individual. if they were still interested after that we would do a 9x9 game with no discussion about ko, life, scoring or anything.

if they accidently found out about ko or life i would try to fill them in quickly and kept things moving.

people seemed to like it… i usually spent maybe 5-10 minutes with each person/pair

sounds like what you’re planning is more involved…but maybe there are some ideas here. the take home paper packet was appreciated - alot of the time it was parents with their kids.

the Seattle Go Center also had a program with schools that I didn’t participate in, which I think started with a similar introduction, but ended up getting several tens of children coming to weekly classes at the center.


Starting with the cross-cut to force fun situations is such a good idea!

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it also kind of eliminates the ambiguity of how to start. you dont want them thinking too much, and since you went through the capture rules already, they have a group (2 really) to extend and a group to capture already in front of them…it makes it a little more like tic-tac-toe

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BenGoZen (go blogger) has some nice advice about teaching go

I like it so much that I insist on mentioning it whenever a thread like this comes up.


In Moscow when there’s a festival or something like that it goes something like this. All available to your group space is filled with 9x9 boards. Everyone interested taught simple rules and put to play their first game. Often there’re too many beginners wanting to play so experienced players kinda don’t get to play at all. If possible, print flyers with info about your club and such.

You can look at pics from one of cons

Thank you very much for your suggestions! They are much appreciated. (Sanonius and I are working together on this)

@yebellz I thought this blog post was really helpful. Thanks for linking it.

@S_Alexander good idea about printing flyers, thanks.