Starting a new IRL Go club (Ballarat, VIC, Australia)

My city doesn’t have a Go club and the closest one is over an hour away. I just got my first go set and a few of my friends have expressed interest in playing with me. It’s definitely still early days but does anyone have any tips on starting up a go club?

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Just set a date and time and meet. If there are alot of total beginners, consider preparing a quick beginners lecture/introduction and go from there. Dont over think it. it will develop organically .

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Yeah it’ll only be total beginners as I don’t know any established players IRL. My only board is 19x19, should I consider making some cardboard cutouts of 9x9 grids for training purposes?

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depending on how many ppl are comming yes, its always good to have boards for everyone to play at so that you dont have to share.

throw in a 13x13 for good measure

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For absolute beginners, having a 9x9 board is almost a necessity in my opinion. So much easier to get them into the basics, and most importantly, mush less time consuming.

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  1. GREAT!

  2. Where do you live? I strongly suggest to get in touch with your national Go association for some support (assuming that you’re a member). They should be able to provide you with promotional materials, perhaps some books, and, if you‘re lucky, also with some Go gear. They could also list you in their list of Go clubs so that people who search their Web site can find you.

  3. Having some entertaining materials should also be helpful … Hikaru No Go manga (and links to the videos), Aji’s Quest

  4. Have a link list to freely available materials (search for “resources” on OGS)
    For example, Sensei’s Library is THE ultimate Go wiki, and the Interactive Way To Go (IWTG) is very valuable for Beginners. There also exist quite a few free (and legal) books in PDF form. Ask here if you can’t find them.

  5. Good luck! And keep us updated, pls :slight_smile:

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What @trohde said. Great!

I started my own Go club about 8 months ago, so let me offer some advice.

To get new members, most importantly you need to get the word out anyway you can. A couple good options are registering your club with the Go organisation of your nation (American Go Association, European Go Federation) . Also consider advertising your club on sites like Meetup and Facebook. And of course, announce it on the OGS forums. (I even plastered my city [Chicago] with paper flyers. It’s over the top, but it works! It brought in two members).

Second, consider investing in some equipment. One board and one set of stones are fine for now, but if you get any more players they won’t stick around if they can’t get a game. And yes, you should have a 9x9 or 13x13 on hand. You can make your own, or I believe there is a printable version somewhere on the web. I look for it later. Anyone have the link?

The most important thing is to hold regular meetings. There is nothing worse that someone new coming out to your club and not finding it. They will never come again.

You already have a leg up, you already have one member. When I started I had zero, now I have eight. It was slow going at first. For the first four months, I had zero attendance! I thought about disbanding the club :frowning:. But be patient. Now my club is steadily growing. Good luck!

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Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
We do have a national association (also annoyingly called AGA) but I may give it just a little more consideration before contacting them. As it stands we have myself who plays here (currently 17k after 2 months of playing), my wife and 2 of my friends who are interested.

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Quickly threw this together before going to bed :stuck_out_tongue:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BallaratGoClub/

Will send an email off to them tomorrow.

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Maybe find a venue? Not sure if a gathering of people in your house can be officially considered a Go club.

Well, I’d think it depends on the house … and I know different (opposing) opinions about this:

  • Some say, a public venue is better because more it is easily accessible, there’s a lower visiting threshold.

  • OTOH this means you usually need to carry the Go gear and information etc. there every time, and in case of cafés and pubs you usually need to consume (i.e. pay), which for some is not easy.


The tiny Go club in the village where I live meets at my place for the latter reasons, and it is registered with our Go association. The—meanwhile respectable and still growing—library is mine, I also have a few books as duplicate copies so I can lend them to others, the playing material is also mine, and I definitely wouldn’t want to carry all this to other places AND have to pay for coffee or tea.

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This is important: don’t make the decision of not doing something because of your rank. If you let the Association know that you want to create a Go club, they won’t care if you are a 20k, they’ll just thank you for promoting the game and they’ll gladly give you advices and suggestions. Moreover, they surely know more than us about the pecularities regarding your country/city (places where to gather, institutions that can assign you places, like libraries, schools, or even bars).

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meetup.com is useful. find a restaurant/bar that allows games, or a game/card shop with space, and set a date!

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Not sure if it’s OT, but I’m curious as a club progress and matures, do you give each other ranks (kyu, dan)?

If so, aside from playing on go servers where there is an algorithm, how do you go about doing it?

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I’ll say it’s not OT because I’m also curious about in house ranking.

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Since for now it’s just my friends I think my house is fine for the reasons @trohde pointed out. We also have libraries and a game store as alternatives if we expand.

yes. the US AGA (at least used to) sends out free 9x9 paper printed packets for learning purposes with the rules and a little board and paper ‘stones’. even if you have to print them yourself, its really helpful for people to get a little 3-5 minute introduction and have fun playing another beginner rather than standing around watching more advanced play.

i used to have the spiel down pretty well, i would start with a couple games of capture and then tell them about proper scoring (no ko unless they ask). i’ve always been conflicted…i think capture is a straightforward way of introducing liberties, but i also think beginners don’t need any encouragement to get too focussed on the capturing aspect.

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Here is the link to the printable 9x9 board if anyone is interested.

Printable 9x9 Go Board

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First meet booked in for this coming Monday afternoon; I’ll be teaching 3 newbies :slight_smile:

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Sounds VERY awesome :slight_smile: Wish you good luck and lots of fun!

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