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 Post subject: Go Club Success Stories
Post #1 Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:12 pm 
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Sometimes it's hard to find a lot of people to play go with in person. I think one of the advantages of being in Japan or Korea, or maybe China (I've never been to China, so I'm not sure) is that you can easily find people to play go with at go clubs/salons.

In other countries, the solution is simple - make a go club. But sometimes it can seem hard when you're starting out to get people to show up, to have people that are strong, etc...

So if you have started a go club, and it's gone well, share your success story here. What worked for you? What tips would you give to others starting a club?

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 Post subject: Re: Go Club Success Stories
Post #2 Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:55 pm 
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I didn't start the Schaumburg Go Club, but I took over shortly after it was started 'cause the guy who started it moved away. That was 8 or 9 years ago now. Originally it was a 2-5 person per meeting club. Now it's a 10-15 person per meeting club (record 20, IIRC), which I think makes us the most well-attended club in the area (not including the newly opened Go Center).

I didn't do anything special, I just showed up, mostly, and tried to make it worth people's time to come.

Factors contributing to our success, are, I think:
* Consistency: someone is always there at the posted meeting times. I used to bring some go books in case no one else came.
* Convenience: A good location is essential.
* Players in the area who don't have a place to go: your life will be easier if you don't have to create go players.
* The right people: SGC is very friendly. Stronger players practically always review or teach.
* It helps to have a few dan players but it's not essential (we survived for years without). For quite some time I was often the strongest player there. There's little chance of that ever happening again, lately we have about as many dans as kyus.
* It helps to have some weaker players/beginners. A wide range of playing strengths lets you assign competitive matches to most visitors. I'm a little worried that SGC will keep getting stronger and beginners won't want to come. Most regulars are SDK or stronger.
* Bring a book with easy problems for beginners (I use GGPFB II).
* Get good at teaching the rules if you meet in a public place (We're in a starbucks). (The Goal: get as many of your stones on the board as possible. The Rule: stones must have liberties to stay on the board. I then elaborate on that.)

That's all I can think of now.

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 Post subject: Re: Go Club Success Stories
Post #3 Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:56 pm 
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Well, I've been working with running one for 4-5 years now and would call it "going OK". There have been much better times (defined as higher regular attendance), but it still seems to be chugging away (but not as well as I'd like without my actual presence there).

So tips for starting/maintaining one:
1) Promote however you can. Many newspapers have free event listings, so make sure you are in there. Flyer/poster anywhere you think go-minded people might be (anime stores, game stores, comic book shops, universities, even chess clubs if they'll let you, Asian markets, etc.). Also make your presence known at anime or Asian culture conventions/street fairs. I've gotten great traffic at demos/training/booths there. Not a whole lot of club recruits, but it does get the word around.
2) Stay regular for meeting times. We used to meet every Sunday, but dropped it down to 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month so I could do other things in life on Sunday (heresy, I know...) and I think some people still stop by on the off weeekends and think the club doesn't exist.
3) If at all possible, try to develop a core team so you don't have to do it all yourself every time. See above as to how that hasn't panned out right now and the immediate effects. It's much easier if you can share the burden.
4) Once you have a regular crowd (say around 5+) try to create events to vary from just playing games. Mini-lectures for beginners, reviews/playthroughs of pro games, inviting strong players all help keep club meetings interesting.
5) Keep the club open and inviting. Welcome beginners and kids and evangelize to any passerby who shows a shred of interest.

That's what comes off the top of my head. Good luck!

Bruce "My club and welcome to it" Young

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 Post subject: Re: Go Club Success Stories
Post #4 Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:35 pm 
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I'll add what I can from our local club's frustrating failure.

There needs to be a critical mass of players. If there's like two regulars, anybody else who comes will get the impression that there's not much reason to come back. IMO There needs to be a minimum of four dedicated players every meeting. Having a meeting with three players sucks and player #3 probably won't show up the next week. If you get six in attendance, things start to get fun and you'll suddenly start seeing more people show up.

There needs to be several people who are dedicated to organizing and promoting the club. If it falls on one or two people, it's going to probably fall apart. Even if they're really serious about it, they can't go every meeting, and they'll probably get frustrated from lack of interest by others. And the group's truck number must be at least two.

There needs to be a regular place and time, and there needs to be at least one organizer there on time for every single meeting. We changed our night/location a few times trying to get something that worked better with players schedules, but it didn't work. Each change shed more members than it gained.

If the "core group" wants to all go to congress or something together, or wants to take a road trip to the club in the next town, and can't hold a meeting, the club needs to be notified months in advance, or some substitute needs to run the meeting.

There needs to be some weaker players who are regulars. If somebody new to the game comes, and can't get a competitive game even with huge handicaps, they're gonna probably get scared off. We were lucky to have a few DDK players that didn't mind getting creamed every week. They were always oddly enthusiastic when a newbie came along.

Make sure people bring boards. It's a pain if people have to wait for somebody to run home to get their spare board. Also clocks; time is usually at a premium, and that 19 kyu playing at a 2-hour per side pace is killing everyone's enthusiasm.

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 Post subject: Re: Go Club Success Stories
Post #5 Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:53 pm 
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I don't have much experience in organizing a go club, but I'll just echo one of fwiffo's point. Make sure all the grunt work doesn't fall onto only one or two people.

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 Post subject: Re: Go Club Success Stories
Post #6 Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:47 am 
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1) you must have strong players in the club so weaker player can learn.
2) fee will be $10~20 per day.
3) sell drinks foods and cigarettes to people to raise money for the club.
4) try to recruit you people. young people have more time and get hooded on go faster.
5) books are available for people not playing.
6) playing for small money always helps.
7) treat your regulars with respect.

i didnt run go club but been there over 25 years everyday and above are what i have noticed.

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 Post subject: Re: Go Club Success Stories
Post #7 Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:46 am 
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I think that Magicwand is talking about a different kind of "Go club".

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 Post subject: Re: Go Club Success Stories
Post #8 Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:04 pm 
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I can tell a few things that have worked for us. Keep in mind we are a university club so we have some advantages (and disanvantages) that cannot be applied to every club:


+ Our university only offers engineering degrees, so its easier to find the kind of people who are attracted to this kind of stuff. If there is one of those in you area, find a way to give a talk there. Or at least put some flyers of your club around.
+ We make a beginners class at the beginning of every semester. We put about 30 flyers around campus. We have done this three times now having about 15 attendants per class. Of these attendants, about 60% show at the first meeting after the class... the some more drop it. In the end, 2 or 3 will keep coming back.
+ Show on time (like Daniel pointed out: consistency is a must). If someone comes and see nothing, most likely he/she will leave. This sucks, i want to get rid of this kind of things, and now, after a year and a half, i think we are making progress. Now (some) people stay and wait for the boards to arrive. Sometimes they even go look for them themselves. But this took time. Be ready to make an effort. Sometimes you will just sit there for 20 minutes before someone shows.
+ Play in public, but where people with nothing to do hang around. For example: we play every friday in a big study room. Every one there is worried with their classes and tests, so almost no one asks o looks around more than a glance. But then sometimes we played in the "living room" (there's a TV, magazines, even chess and domino). People go there to relax or wait for classes. The difference was big, a lot of students gathered around our boards, asking what it was, when do we play, etc.

Now, on the downside of having a university club:
- High rotation. The year before i joined the club there were about 6-7 members. The year i joined, only 2. A whole generation graduated and the club barely survived. So hopefully you should have members from all years.
- Exams period, and classes in general. Very very low attendence on the last weeks of each semester. People tend to put their career before go! What are they thinking!! :D


Things that didn't work as i thought they would:
- Talking and teaching at anime/rpg/star wars/magic/comic conventions and similars. A LOT of people comes to the stand and learns about the game and the rules. Almost noone comes back to the meetings.

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