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Starting a Club

posted Feb 10, 2012, 6:52 PM by Greg Smith

I have found Capture Go to be slightly more intuitive than the Stone Counting method. People can more easily recognize a capture than the subtleties of the end game in Stone Counting. I have created printable boards for both teaching methods. With Capture Go, I find that I can show someone the basics then let them loose with other beginners or start a game. Here's my method:

Explain that "if a stone is surrounded along the lines, it is captured. Diagonals don't count."

Take the 9x9 board, and show them a single white stone in atari in the middle. Ask "where would you place a stone to capture". It's better to give them a stone as you're saying this so they actually place the stone.

Then show them a single white stone in atari on the side. Same question.

Then a single white stone in the corner. Same question.

Then two stones in the middle, then on the side, then in the corner. Same question each time.

Then I set up a single white stone in atari in the middle and ask "if you were white, where would you place a stone to prevent being captured?"

Now they know go!

It takes 3-5 games for most people to start to get it, it goes pretty fast. If I play them, I use 5 stone handicap. Each game I *maybe* show them one thing (solid connection, diagonal/bamboo connections), but try more often to stay quiet. It's very easy to overwhelm. My first move is usually on side star point (3-7). And their first play is often attached on the "line of defeat" (2-7). I don't explain what's about to happen, but after I capture, I walk them through slowly and suggest to start again.

By game 10 they are beating me. When that happens one or two times, we dispense with capture go and play regular go "the winner is the one who has the most territory, surrounds the most empty spaces" and play to "the end, when neither of us can gain any more points". Of course, they don't know what that means exactly so I tell them when that happens (usually they ask, or they sit there stumped on where to move, or they move in a place where they lose a point). Then I show them scoring and explain territory. I don't explain those very deeply, just show them how to move the stones and count the spaces.

Posting Flyers

I use the flyers from AGA.

Direct link to word template, or here at the top level, look for the What Is Go? Poster

Here's my customization. I also put them in a stand-up acrylic display stand anywhere I'm playing so if people are interested, they can read about the game. I often ask "Have you heard of the game of Go?". In any advertisements I refer to it as "The Ancient Game of Go".

I have the AGA trifold of Capture Go with my website written on it.

I have business cards to pass out to anyone that looks interested. It has the website information and a plea to come learn or play and the AGA rules on the back. I put an email link on the website, not on the business card.

Carry business cards with you everywhere (5-10 is usually enough).

If someone is interested, they'll walk away usually with a business card, the tri-fold Capture Go, and the 9x9 board with Capture Go instructions on the back.


I would start with one 19x19, two 13x13 boards, and four 9x9. This requires 3 full sets of stones and will handle 14 people all playing at the same time. You can have a dozen printed 9x9 boards to hand out or use as well. This will handle 4 more people if no one uses the 13x13.

It all depends on your mix of skill levels. I end up teaching a lot of people at our club, so I use more of the small boards.

The AGF has one of the best deals on most teaching/club equipment for qualified programs, though I think there's not enough bowls if you split the stones up for use with small boards. You can supplement the bowls with Ziploc Smart Snap bowls from Walmart. Size "XS" bowl is great for this (6 for about $3).

Another option is the Go Kit Club Pack which is similar in cost with different equipment (laminated boards, plastic chips for stones, bowls for everyone).

I don't know of any other inexpensive equipment options for clubs.