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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #21 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:27 pm 
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deja wrote:
The issue is not so much what ought to be the case or what benefits someone could gain given the right conditions, but what actually happens with low-level kyu players at clubs with members so far above their playing ability. It would be nice if there were more club members like xed_over, but I think he's probably unique. It takes a special dedication to devote your club time to teaching others.

So how many of you are like xed_over and devote your club time teaching weaker players?


"Devoting" implies all of my time; no, I don't do that, and nor does anyone else at my club.

However, we teach at least 20 beginners each year, many of whom carry on playing beyond beginner-level. Everyone contributes to teaching, no beginner is left waiting for a game for long, and we see recruitment as one of our primary aims. This is - in my admittedly biased opinion - what every Go club should be like.

Well, I exaggerate; I have no problem in principle with people having a club exclusively for stronger players. At the start of the academic year, when we have the most complete beginners, we reserve one evening a week for teaching and one for playing; beginners are encouraged to come to the latter session, but we prioritise pairing them against each other and experienced players against each other, as opposed to the former session where we prioritise teaching games. A club that doesn't encourage teaching, though, should in my opinion say so explicitly wherever they are advertised.

We are too small a community not to work hard on recruitment; without working to encourage beginners to improve, we will get no new opponents, and we will die. Furthermore, it is, in my experience, far, far easier for a beginner to learn to play from real live teachers over the board; we all have a responsibility to be those real live teachers.

Yesterday, I was co-opted to the Council of the British Go Association, and appointed Chair of the Clubs and Membership Committee. Since I have been spouting these passionate and hard-line opinions on recruitment, clubs and teaching for the last couple of years, I can only assume that they agree with me and want me to try to make everyone else think so too. :D

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #22 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 6:45 pm 
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Quite frankly, I wish players of all levels would show up at the club. A lot of clubs are small, and they can use all the attendance they can get.

My club had two 4 kyu regulars, including myself. There are some other single digit kyu local players who are technically members of the chapter, but they show up so infrequently that they might as well be ghosts. The rest of the players that show up are DDK, and half of them are 20 kyu or weaker. But I'm glad when they show up, because otherwise it would be just two guys playing go, not a club. Sometimes myself and my rival would forgo our weekly game to be sure that the weaker players would have reason to come back. But even when we played we'd be sure to only play one game so that we could spend time with the weaker players.

Well, attendance has been so bad that we don't have a club any more. And I'm actually pretty bitter about it, because I worked pretty hard to try to keep the club together, make a web site, make weekly problems, try to organize people, etc. So if a weaker player doesn't think they'll benefit from going to a club because all the other players are too strong or whatever, maybe they should think if they'd benefit from not having a club at all. The same thought should occur to stronger players who don't feel like playing against newcomers.

It doesn't matter if you get slaughtered in H9 games, or even if you just get to watch stronger players. Having an opportunity to play other local players at all is not something everyone has, and you should take advantage of it.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #23 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 8:37 pm 
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deja wrote:
So how many of you are like xed_over and devote your club time teaching weaker players?

Now, slow down just a bit. Just because I like to spend most of my club time teaching beginners, does not make me any better than others who don't :)
just different :)

I've encountered plenty of beginners who just "waste my time". Sure, they don't mean to, but they just don't "get it" either. And its rare, but there are some people who I'd just rather not spend time with.

It shouldn't be too hard to be welcoming and helpful to beginners without having to "devote" all one's club time to them :)

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #24 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:42 pm 
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My question was too preachy and "devote" was a poor choice of words. Sharing any amount of your club time teaching beginners is enough in my book. I'm drawing on my own experiences, which obviously can't be generalized. Nevertheless, I think such wide disparities in strength make it difficult to play meaningful games regardless of the handicap. A teaching game is something entirely different. The purpose is to teach not to even the playing field for a competitive game.

What I'm suggesting is that trying to play even games, or anything approximating such, is a mistake under the circumstances that Actorios described. I think it would be better to give teaching games with that expressed purpose. I remember the first club game I played. It was against a 4 dan on a 13x13 board, with a nine stone handicap. He destroyed me while eating his dinner and talking with another member. I was thrilled to have the game in any case.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #25 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:00 pm 
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I am going to be controversial here and state my strongly held opinion:

There is no requirement to go to a Go club at any level!!!

This might surprise some people, but that's what I believe.
Practically it means this: If you feel like going to a club, go, if you don't, don't, regardless of rank/level/age/gender/whatever.

I know, I know, you're not supposed to say things like that, but I can't watch the youngsters stumbling blindly in the dark in these Go-shark infested waters.

Well, I hope somebody has already said that, I have not read the whole thread.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #26 Posted: Mon May 10, 2010 12:31 pm 
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As one who runs a club I'm just going to repeat:

Any level player should go to a club if you want to spend F2F time with other go players. It doesn't matter what your rank is. I'd expect that everyone at a go club is there to primarily to play, and hopefully you should be able to find someone who'll enjoy a game with you no matter what the comparative skill level is. Personally, I've played 30k-3p at my club and I can only think of a few games that I wouldn't have wanted to play after the fact. So I try to find something from almost every game. I'd hope there are many others like this to be found in other clubs.

Bruce "Club Kid" Young

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #27 Posted: Mon May 10, 2010 3:46 pm 
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Quote:
I am going to be controversial here and state my strongly held opinion:

There is no requirement to go to a Go club at any level!!!

This might surprise some people, but that's what I believe.
Practically it means this: If you feel like going to a club, go, if you don't, don't, regardless of rank/level/age/gender/whatever.

I know, I know, you're not supposed to say things like that, but I can't watch the youngsters stumbling blindly in the dark in these Go-shark infested waters.

Well, I hope somebody has already said that, I have not read the whole thread.


yup. I guess it depends on whether you like joining clubs or not really. I think you get better chances to play Go on the internet. Stumbling youngsters wouldn't bother me though, I stumble enough - it's just not an efficient use of my time.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #28 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:22 am 
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Helel wrote:
Araban wrote:
The level is irrelevant, people of all levels should go to a Go club (and also feel welcome). Before the Go club at my hometown I visit once a week died off after several crucial members stopped going, I would always try to pay a visit when I had time even though I was the strongest player by over 9 stones and it was certainly not an experience that would help me improve. But that's not the point of going to a Go club; it's to meet new and old people who share similar interests with you, to create new friendships and just socialize with people who share an interest with you.


I think Araban's sentiments are really nice, but can he be sure that being crushed at nine stones didn't contribute to their quitting?


I've had the opposite experience when being crushed as black in a 9-stone game. I feel like I'm wasting the better player's time.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #29 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:39 am 
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If the strength difference is too big, play on a smaller board. Adjust the komi/handicap after each game.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #30 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 1:14 pm 
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Depends on the club.

At my club (Baltimore), you have to walk up a half flight of stairs.

In Washington, you need to walk down a full flight.

The bigger the building, the more important it is to know which level.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #31 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:23 pm 
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HKA wrote:
Depends on the club.

At my club (Baltimore), you have to walk up a half flight of stairs.

In Washington, you need to walk down a full flight.

The bigger the building, the more important it is to know which level.


Words of wisdom. I'm only able to participate in 3 joist clubs. Anything higher and I get winded.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #32 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:41 pm 
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I never went to my local go club until I was around 4k or 5k. This had a lot to do with me being shy about meeting groups of new people. If I had started going sooner, I would have enjoyed it a lot I think.

Like all clubs, ours has its ups and downs. Lately the attendance has been on the "down" side; around 10 people is common. I have even heard some grumbling about the club dying, but just three years ago we would often have around 20 people showing up, so I'm hoping that the current lull is only temporary...I really enjoy playing face to face, and I enjoy the people I have met at the club. I will be sad if it comes to an end.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #33 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:50 pm 
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I run my club; I consider it part of my job to make sure everyone gets to play someone. I give teaching games to beginners if people can't give them enough stones.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #34 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 3:06 pm 
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Ten is "down"? I think we got ten people at our club, like once. "Down" for us was like two. Or just me showing up and reading go books by myself.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #35 Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 3:13 pm 
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fwiffo wrote:
Ten is "down"? I think we got ten people at our club, like once. "Down" for us was like two. Or just me showing up and reading go books by myself.
Yes, it's all relative I guess. But when you remember seeing 20 people showing up every week, and running out of boards and table space constantly, then when you have 3 or 4 boards and a couple onlookers it feels pretty dead.

The good thing (for me) is that about half of the Portland go club seems be in the 2k..3d range, so even when there are only 10 people showing up I can usually get a good, close game (I'm about 1k/1d). But of course it's best for the club to have a wider range of people, so that newcomers are more likely to have a good time. I don't think it's hard for weaker players to find stronger players willing to give games (I know that I end up playing white in high-ish handicap games on a fairly regular bases), but it's always best if you can find an even game when you want it.

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