Worldwide shortage of Go equipment in wake of AlphaGo

As you no doubt know, there has been a surge in interest in Go over the last few weeks, because of the recent match between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol 9p.

Kuro promises that he did not chop up all the spare Go boards...

Kuro promises that he did not ‘atari’ all the spare Go boards out of existence.

Like most Go players, we’re happy that so many people are learning to play Go and that others are rekindling their interest, especially since we’ve spent years working hard to promote the game and make equipment easily available.

This is also a very intense time for us, however, because we’re receiving many more orders for equipment and books than we usually do, as well as a high volume of questions about Go from new players. We’re replying to thousands of emails every week and shipping out hundreds of orders.

We started out with a large amount of stock on hand at the beginning of March (at least by typical standards for the Go market), but a lot of it has been sold at this stage and some products have been removed from our catalog after completely selling out.

Where we can, we’ve restocked already, but there are limits to our ability to replenish stock because of the time it takes to ship new stock by sea and the ability (or lack thereof) of factories to keep up with demand.

The factories that make the equipment we sell are facing an even heavier surge in demand, because AlphaGo has caused an even larger ‘Go boom’ in Asia. Given that they are struggling to keep up with domestic demand, it’s extremely difficult for them to satisfy the export market.

Because of this, some products may not be available for the foreseeable future.

I’m sharing this news for a few reasons:

  1. I would like to ask everyone to please understand that we’re dealing with a very large volume of emails and other messages at the moment. If we don’t respond to your email, comment, tweet, Facebook message, etc as quickly as you would like, it is not intended as a personal slight and we are working very long hours to get back to you as soon as possible.
  2. Products will be removed from our store as stock runs out. Products listed on the website are still available, but a smaller number of products are completely sold out in one part of the world and not others (e.g. sold out in Europe but not America or vice-versa). We will let customers know if this is the case and update the website whenever we can. The majority of orders are still shipping within one business day, as long as we have stock.
  3. We thought fellow Go players would be happy to hear this news (despite the interruption to Go Game Guru articles) and wanted to share it with you!

[This is not an April Fools’ joke, we deliberately withheld this post for over 48 hours to avoid confusion.]

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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.

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