How you can be a part of the world’s biggest Go event: Introducing Learn Go Week

Simultaneous games in Japan.

A public Go event in Kanagawa, Japan.

Mist escaped from John’s mouth in small puffs as the boot of his car sprung open. He removed a box containing three beaten up old Go sets and glanced around to get his bearings.

Over in the square, which was already bustling with early morning shoppers, John spotted Chris. It looked like he’d just finished taping posters to a folding card table.

The crisp morning air didn’t bother John at all, as he waved and hurried over, and the warm sun on the back of his neck held all the promise of a beautiful day.

About an hour’s drive away, in a neighboring city, Kate already had her first ‘customers’. They were a young family with two kids. “This is called atari,” she said as they listened with interest. “It means you’re about to be captured.”

Meanwhile, things were already in full swing on the other side of the country. “And I’m told there are more than 300 events like this all over the country today, and even more around the world,” the local reporter shouted into her microphone, against a murmur of nearby voices.

“Maybe it’s time we all got going,” came the studio anchor’s retort. He grinned from ear to ear at the wit of his own joke, blissfully unaware of just how predictable it was.

To the viewers at home, it didn’t matter. It was the first time they’d heard it…

Become a part of the story

What you’ve just read is, of course, a story. But it doesn’t have to be.

Every year, thousands of Go players around the world promote Go in their local communities. For those of us who really love this game, teaching it to others isn’t really a choice. It’s a way of life.

Perhaps parts of the story feel familiar to you? Or perhaps the whole notion of teaching Go in public is new, but sounds compelling.

Either way, it’s time to be part of something bigger!

Introducing Learn Go Week

Getting your priorities right in Korea.

You can play Go anywhere!

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, we’re going to go out into our local community and run a small Go teaching event.

And we hope that you’ll join us – by organizing your own modest, local Go demonstration.

If you already do this from time to time then you don’t have to do anything new. All we’re asking is that run your own demonstration on the same day as everyone else.

September 13 will be the start of a new event called Learn Go Week.

We can achieve great things together

Every Go player knows that stones work better when they work together. So let’s apply that principle to life.

Right now we’re all doing our own things, within our own communities. We’re spread out thinly, all over the world. But if we work together, we can all be part of something bigger.

We can create an Event.

An Event is something that gets people’s attention.

Imagine thousands of people around the world all doing something on the same day. Doesn’t that sound intriguing? Isn’t that something that would get your attention? Now what if that thing was Go?

Not only would it be cool to see Go on the news, but being a part of a global event will be great fun.

So much fun, that you’re already on board with the idea, right?

Anyone can play Go!

Anyone can play Go!

Why Learn Go Week…

…and not World Go Day?

We wanted to give you a little bit of freedom, so that you can still get involved even if September 13 doesn’t work for you. Or, so that you can run multiple events throughout the week if you want to.

Run a beginners’ night too!

In particular, if you have a local Go club, we hope that you’ll also organize a beginners’ night in the week that follows (September 13 to 21).

This is something that you can tell people about at the Go demonstration on the Saturday. You can hand out brochures with the rules of Go and details about your club (we’ll help you with this and will provide templates which you can modify shortly).

One of the challenges local Go clubs face is that new players rarely turn up on the same day. Beginners are often discouraged when the only players at the club are relatively experienced, and that’s not surprising when you think about it.

However, if you can get a group of beginners to start learning together at the same time, the likelihood that they’ll keep playing and visiting the club is much higher.

Saturday, September 13 is the most important date of Learn Go Week, and we hope that you’ll join us on that day, but you can also get involved throughout the week that follows.

This is what we like to see: Tapgol Park in Korea.

This is what we like to see: Tapgol Park in Korea.

How you can help

There are many ways that you can get involved in Learn Go Week and help to make it a success for all of us. Here are some ideas:

  • Organize a local event or join an existing event and help out
  • Tell your friends and your local Go club about Learn Go Week
  • Contact your local Go association and encourage them to get involved
  • Let us know about your event(s), so we can help you with publicity
  • Translate this article into your own language and share it (let us know if you do)
  • Translate the other promotional materials which are coming soon
  • Share this article with friends and other Go players you know.

How Go Game Guru will help you

We’ve wanted to organize something like this for years, but we waited until now so that we’d have the resources to help make it more successful. Here’s what we’re going to do to help:

  • Coordinate local event organizers and help you to stay motivated
  • Maintain a public list of all Learn Go Week events, with contact details, maps etc for each group
  • Send out media releases and handle (English language) questions from journalists and other interested parties
  • Support your local efforts with (editable) Go brochures, posters, checklists and information for running an event, etc
  • Work with other Go organizations (e.g. national Go Associations and the IGF) to make this event as big as possible
  • Logistical support, cheap Go sets, money saving tips and printable Go boards for organizers who need some affordable Go equipment
  • Promote Learn Go Week as it happens – send us photos and videos of your event and we’ll share them with the community
  • Afterwards, we plan to combine all your photos and videos from around the world into a promotional video for Go.

More to come soon

There will be plenty of things to discuss in the coming weeks, before September. We’ll be hard at work updating Go Game Guru with resources to help you and you can visit the main Learn Go Week page to make sure you get updates.

If you have questions, ideas or anything else you want to share, please leave a comment below. You can also email us at [email protected] or use our contact form if you prefer to keep your message private.

For those of you who are wondering about the date, we researched it thoroughly. There’s no perfect date, because there are things happening around the world on every weekend, but September 13 avoids most other major events and is at a time when the weather is mild in both hemispheres. And remember that this is Learn Go Week.

Join us!

You might be wondering whether any of this is going to work? My only response is that the success of an event like this depends on the community.

It will work if all of us get involved.

If YOU get involved.

So join us, and let’s turn our story into reality together.

Click here now to get involved

About David Ormerod

David is a Go enthusiast who’s played the game for more than a decade. He likes learning, teaching, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught thousands of people to play Go, both online and in person at schools, public Go demonstrations and Go clubs. David is a 5 dan amateur Go player who competed in the World Amateur Go Championships prior to starting Go Game Guru. He's also the editor of Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. It’s really great to see a concerted effort to unify everyone in the push to make go more popular around the world. This is a fantastic initiative that I hope really catches on!

  2. David Hogarty says:

    This is a great idea. I’m in.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Great to have you on board David, don’t forget to join the Learn Go Week mailing list here: if you want to stay up to date with what’s happening.

      I don’t think we’ll post all the updates about Learn Go Week to the main site, because it might be too much for people who aren’t interested.

  3. Sounds like a great idea. Did you pick 9/13 in honor of the beginner board sizes? Also I’ve heard go called an “old man’s game”, but that Japanese event picture really illustrates it. (Even Col. Sanders is there, watching from inside KFC)

    • David Ormerod says:

      No, 9/13 was serendipitous 🙂

      We just looked at all the possible dates and eliminated tried to reduce clashes with other events.

      Regarding the photos, yes it would be nice to have more photos of younger people playing Go. I’m not normally one to take many photos and I regret that now, but hopefully we’ll have lots of great photos for next year’s LGW.

      Also, check out Chinese Col Sanders: hmm…

  4. Michael Wiseley says:

    I agree, this is a great idea. I will try to organize something in Houston targeting kids.

  5. bakekoq says:

    Wow. It’s most definitely great idea. Hopefully my Igo Community in Indonesia will held it. btw, does it need to be started on 9/13 Sept?

    • David Ormerod says:

      I hope so too bakekoq. It will be more effective if everything tries to do something on the same day, because that will get more peoples’ attention.

      However, if Sept 13 isn’t possible for you, there’s no problem doing something on the Sunday or later in the week instead and we’ll still help you to promote it as best we can.

  6. Erik Walton says:

    This is an excellent idea David!

  7. guochen says:

    Hi David,

    Here is Guochen. It is great to know this news from a member of my local go club in shanghai. yea, I moved back to Shanghai.
    Hopefully we can have a nice event in the Learn-Go-Week in downtown Shanghai.

  8. Željko Veselinović says:

    We accepted your great idea and put it on:
    For more than three years Go clubs from Nish, Serbia have been developing a program ” Play Go – Train the Brain” . Being the biggest centar for go development, we will organize public Go event on that day, šprobably the week as well. Our ide should follow other go towns in Serbia!
    will be glad to obtain a fruitful cooperation in global Go development

  9. I think we will do something in Torun and Bydgoszcz as well (Poland). I will try to “force” other Polish clubs to do something as well 🙂 Great idea!

  10. This sounds amazing! I’ve been trying to promote Go locally for some time with very little success; I wonder if we could establish some group of potential organizers in “go-sparse” areas to join heads on what we might do. I’ve had little support from our local libraries, etc.

    I’d be willing to join a large lobby somewhere, say, on OGS, to help run demo boards for newcomers. Imagine if we could say “go to and were able to promise a Go tutor every half hour – with a sign-up sheet.

    • I am a staff Go for tutoring beginner in Indo. I also play in OGS and my nickname is bakekoq. it’s good idea too.

  11. I think I’m in and will contact my fellow Ghent club players for support. To all organizers, in my experience the best way to get total newcomers on the path of Go is to:

    – explain Go as a game where “most stones on board wins”
    – explain capture rule only
    – set them up against each other on 5×5
    – play many games
    – switch colors
    – until the board has become too small
    – shift to 7×7 and 9×9 maximum
    – explain ko & seki as they come up
    – explain the efficiency of territory+captives counting only to the addicted

    Of course, just like one should “study what you like”, one should “explain the way you like”. I’m offering it as a novel perspective.

  12. Sounds great David. I have been running sessions using Go to teach business people the basics of complexity theory in Melbourne, Sydney and even Singapore for several years.
    I would love to be part of an event like this in Melbourne.
    I have about 15 11×11 boards and several full size we can use, I just need teachers in Melbourne to help out.

  13. My… they’re holding a japanese culture event in my area on that exact same day, maybe I should go and try putting up a board and stones ^^

  14. Great idea! We’re in!
    Incidentally, we have a big go tournament on exactly that day in Luxembourg. So, it’s a no-brainer that we will put up tables and invite beginners to learn the rules!
    It’s outside the city on a castle, though, so I hope some people take this as a nice trip (although I am afraid no chance visitors will come…)

  15. On behalf of the British Go Association, we like your idea, but we want it to be more than a series of unrelated individual events as playing Go in the park or shopping centre doesn’t get much results compared to say a focussed event like a Far East culture exhibition. So, a) I really like Todd’s idea of being “able to promise a Go tutor every half hour” on a Go Server b) we really want to know how this event is going to attract attention of the media and what we can do to help e.g. swamp Facebook at a particular time/date?

  16. Hey David!

    We really love your idea over at OGS, and we will take part on-line with a few tournaments and lectures specifically for beginners!
    If anyone wants to check it out, we have an announcement up here:

  17. It’s September now and not so many events listed, although I do hear on other fora of quite a lot of people intending to set one up. I do hope more people will register their event, even if it’s just a simple open house at the local club. Running an event (great!) but keeping it secret is only doing half the job as we want to be able to tell the media how much is going on as this will feed back to us all with better publicity. GGG has a fine initiative here so let’s back him up with 100+ events!