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 Post subject: New York Go Center to Close
Post #1 Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:21 pm 
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I am not an "official" voice of the New York Go Center, but I thought everyone should know that, after 15 years of serving the NY go community, the Center will be closed on November 30, 2010. Please note that the club is certain to remain alive, but in what form is uncertain.

The building was donated by Iwamoto Kaoru in 1995 for use as a New York Go Center. The Nihon Ki-in has decided to sell the building, and it is currently not clear what relationship will continue to exist between the Nihon Ki-in and the club. To my knowledge, the only thing certain to date is that the club will close at the end of November, and the members will continue to meet somehow.

If you have any questions, would like to show your support, would like information on some farewell get-togethers, or would like to keep updated on meetings going forward, please send a message to manager at nygocenter dot org. You can message me as well, but I'll likely just forward it on so you can stay in the loop.

If you'd like to share any fond memories of the NY Go Center, you are, of course, welcome to do so.

EDIT: You can read an official message here

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #2 Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:58 pm 
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If it was donated how come they are claiming it back ? :scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #3 Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:15 pm 
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Kaliwan wrote:
If it was donated how come they are claiming it back ? :scratch:

It's bs. Basically iwamoto technically gave it to the nihon kiin and not to us and they are exploiting that. I suppose I could just concert my apartment into the new go center, it's certainly close enough.

And I'll probably stop by a few times this week to say goodbye to everyone :sad:

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #4 Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:00 pm 
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are there any documents :scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #5 Posted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:11 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #6 Posted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:51 pm 
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:grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy:

It's a pity. The Marriott Courtyard on 53rd had become my favorite hotel when visiting NYC; it and the subway stop were a mere block and a half from the club.
I wish you folks good fortune in finding a new home.

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #7 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:09 am 
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I am not sure what makes me sadder, the end of this wonderful place, a place that I visited less than I would have liked (only an occaisional visitor to NY) but that I thought would always be there.

Or is it that people do not seem to care. This is only the 7th reply to this thread. I really do not mean to criticize anyone - rather I just think that the admittedly wonderful online opportunities for playing go have diminished the value people place on actually sitting down with someone, truly meeting them over the board and enjoying a game.

Yeah, that is what really saddens me.

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #8 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:25 am 
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Maybe there's not a lot of New Yorkers here?

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Post #9 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:39 am 
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I know they haven't done much in recent years to begin with, but is this a sign that the Nihon Kiin is no longer interested in supporting Western Go?

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #10 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:27 am 
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nagano wrote:
I know they haven't done much in recent years to begin with, but is this a sign that the Nihon Kiin is no longer interested in supporting Western Go?


Maybe they're trying to send signals that it's time for Western go to grow up and shoulder some of the responsibility themselves.

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Post #11 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:20 am 
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nagano wrote:
I know they haven't done much in recent years to begin with, but is this a sign that the Nihon Kiin is no longer interested in supporting Western Go?


I'm interested in learning Korean but it's not practical for me right now. They've had to make a lot of cutbacks.

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Post #12 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:21 am 
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pwaldron wrote:
nagano wrote:
I know they haven't done much in recent years to begin with, but is this a sign that the Nihon Kiin is no longer interested in supporting Western Go?


Maybe they're trying to send signals that it's time for Western go to grow up and shoulder some of the responsibility themselves.



By snatching the money out of Iwamoto's cold dead hands? He bought this building specifically so that it would be used to promote western go. I'll hold off on completely condemning the Nihon Kiin until its clear what their long term plan is though.

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #13 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:48 am 
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While the developments in New York are a disappointment, I'll suggest one obvious constructive thing we can do to honor Iwamoto's Legacy.

Remote Annual memberships to the Seattle Go Center.

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #14 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:59 am 
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There is a meeting tonight with a representative of the Nihon Ki-in at the New York Go Center (at 6:00pm I think). I understand that they will explain their decision, and maybe provide some information about the future, though I'm not holding my breath on the latter. I'll share any information I can. I'll try to post updates so that, if you're visiting NYC (or you live here), you'll know where you can play go.

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Post #15 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:41 am 
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rubin427 wrote:
While the developments in New York are a disappointment, I'll suggest one obvious constructive thing we can do to honor Iwamoto's Legacy.

Remote Annual memberships to the Seattle Go Center.


And help find a renter for the downstairs part of the building... That is what the SGC REALLY needs right now.

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #16 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:41 am 
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By snatching the money out of Iwamoto's cold dead hands? He bought this building specifically so that it would be used to promote western go. I'll hold off on completely condemning the Nihon Kiin until its clear what their long term plan is though.


Er, I'd advise even more restraint. Apart from the fact that the Nihon Ki-in has serious financial problems of its own and is surely entitled to look out for number one first, I'm not sure Iwamoto bought any of the buildings on his own.

As early as 1974 he definitely solicited contributions from individuals - businessmen and politicians, including at least one war criminal as it happens - for the internationalisation of go, which was to begin with the London Go Centre.

Iwamoto's plan was to collect 500 million yen, but the timing was not ideal. The Ki-in, and thus its backers, were split over the Meijin Problem (i.e. the argument with the Yomiuri and the Asahi over funding the Meijin tournament) and also the Tajitsu Problem (re Tajitsu Wataru, a Mitsubishi Bank bigwig, then the still new President of the Nihon Ki-in). When Iwamoto went with his begging bowl he was told in no uncertain terms that now was not a good time. The upshot was that he only collected 11.5 million yen, which Iwamoto still regarded as a great success, but that explains why London didn't get a bought building and could not be rescued once the funds ran dry. It's very hard to calculate how much that would be in modern terms, as this was a time (1975) of enormous argy bargy over forex rates and the yen in particular, but at a very rough estimate (I'd appreciate a better one) I'd say it was about half a million dollars. This had to pay for 50 high quality boards and sets of stones at the London centre, plus rent and furbishment of a rather large building in (almost) central London, just to get started, then there was very little income, so in my opinion it did well to last as long as it did. At least it produced T Mark and myself so it got something right :)

I don't know the precise situation with the later buildings in the USA, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, but I'd be very surprised if they were not funded in part by a raft of individuals apart from Iwamoto himself, who certainly put in a considerable tranche. Probably the purchase of a building was simply seen as a priority in the light of the experience of the rented London centre, which was unfortunately a little ahead of its time, rather than having any significance as a donation to the countries concerned. Since Iwamoto was also a deputy CEO of the Ki-in, I can't imagine he'd do anything to harm their interests.

Either way, let's await the facts. And, as I've said umpteen times before, it would help the Nihon Ki-in to continue to feel well disposed towards us if there was a bit less slagging off of the Ki-in and Japanese go in general.


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Post #17 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:54 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Quote:
By snatching the money out of Iwamoto's cold dead hands? He bought this building specifically so that it would be used to promote western go. I'll hold off on completely condemning the Nihon Kiin until its clear what their long term plan is though.


Er, I'd advise even more restraint. Apart from the fact that the Nihon Ki-in has serious financial problems of its own and is surely entitled to look out for number one first, I'm not sure Iwamoto bought any of the buildings on his own.

As early as 1974 he definitely solicited contributions from individuals - businessmen and politicians, including at least one war criminal as it happens - for the internationalisation of go, which was to begin with the London Go Centre.

Iwamoto's plan was to collect 500 million yen, but the timing was not ideal. The Ki-in, and thus its backers, were split over the Meijin Problem (i.e. the argument with the Yomiuri and the Asahi over funding the Meijin tournament) and also the Tajitsu Problem (re Tajitsu Wataru, a Mitsubishi Bank bigwig, then the still new President of the Nihon Ki-in). When Iwamoto went with his begging bowl he was told in no uncertain terms that now was not a good time. The upshot was that he only collected 11.5 million yen, which Iwamoto still regarded as a great success, but that explains why London didn't get a bought building and could not be rescued once the funds ran dry. It's very hard to calculate how much that would be in modern terms, as this was a time (1975) of enormous argy bargy over forex rates and the yen in particular, but at a very rough estimate (I'd appreciate a better one) I'd say it was about half a million dollars. This had to pay for 50 high quality boards and sets of stones at the London centre, plus rent and furbishment of a rather large building in (almost) central London, just to get started, then there was very little income, so in my opinion it did well to last as long as it did. At least it produced T Mark and myself so it got something right :)

I don't know the precise situation with the later buildings in the USA, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, but I'd be very surprised if they were not funded in part by a raft of individuals apart from Iwamoto himself, who certainly put in a considerable tranche. Probably the purchase of a building was simply seen as a priority in the light of the experience of the rented London centre, which was unfortunately a little ahead of its time, rather than having any significance as a donation to the countries concerned. Since Iwamoto was also a deputy CEO of the Ki-in, I can't imagine he'd do anything to harm their interests.

Either way, let's await the facts. And, as I've said umpteen times before, it would help the Nihon Ki-in to continue to feel well disposed towards us if there was a bit less slagging off of the Ki-in and Japanese go in general.


Thanks for the information. I never could understand how Iwamoto could have funded all those go centers by himself. It's much more believable that he made a contribution and promoted the project but that many others helped to supply funds. If indeed the Nihon Kiin does own the building it isn't surprising to me that they could need to sell it to help themselves out of a financial crunch. On the New York Go Center web page it was mentioned that there would be a meeting with someone from Japan, which may already have taken place. Any news of what happened at that meeting?

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 Post subject: Re: New York Go Center to Close
Post #18 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:05 pm 
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gowan wrote:
On the New York Go Center web page it was mentioned that there would be a meeting with someone from Japan, which may already have taken place. Any news of what happened at that meeting?


See my post above - it is tonight at 6:00pm (eastern time of course).

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Post #19 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:54 pm 
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Just to mention a few things.

There has been an attempt at a large number of events in New York. The New York Go center has been running bimonthly tournaments, we had a monthly league (though that was all of two months long), up until last year there was always a relativly strong instructor. These days it started to finally pick up. The fact that we have a local pro these days helps a lot too. (btw she offers lessons if anyones curious)

It just seems that a lot of Go players take it for granted that they could just come visit next week. Well, to be honest i cant blame players for not showing up, New Yorkers are all terribly busy.

Anyway, though there is a lot of "bad press" about japan, we should be greatful that they are/were helping us out. We are acting like homeless people who get angry when people dont give them change.

Go in New York is nowhere near dead, just about to change shape


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Post #20 Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:23 am 
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What happened at the meeting yesterday?

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