New York Go Center to close

I just heard that the New York Go Center will soon close because the Nihon Ki-in (Japanese Go Association) will sell the building that their Go club is in.

Now of course, down here in Australia we are lazy and can rarely be bothered to make the trip to New York (I have never been there), but the news came as something of a shock to me anyway.

Photo by d_run on flickr

This is because the Go club is one of four started by Iwamoto Kaoru, the great professional Go player and philanthropist.

The other three are in Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Seattle.

Iwamoto dedicated a large part of his life, as well as a lot of his own money, promoting Go around the world. I think the Go clubs are an important part of his legacy and should remain so.

Details about exactly why the building is being sold seem sparse, even in the announcement (link to their website removed because it no longer works) from the managers of the Go center on their website.

Perhaps the building has become run down, necessitating sale? I suspect this would have been mentioned if it were the case.

Most likely the Nihon Ki-in just needs the money. The Japanese economy has been struggling for years, even before the world recession started and it’s clear this has affected funding of the Nihon Ki-in.

For example, the 2010 World Amateur Go Championships (which I attended in May this year) was held in China rather than Japan for the first time in 23 years.

However, even if they do need the money, there’s no indication of what they will do with the profits. Will a proportion of that money be used to provide the New York Go Center with a new home?

While it seems that Iwamoto did technically donate the building to the Ki-in, not the American Go Association for example, one still needs to keep in mind his intent in doing so.

The New York Go Center logo

Overall, it’s sad news for the Go world and Go players everywhere, because it represents another setback in promoting Go globally. Times are tough though and we should assume the Nihon Ki-in considered this matter carefully, and only followed this course very reluctantly.

If you live in New York, the organisers request that you visit the club on Tuesday 30 November 2010, to show your support and help to find a solution for the Go club. If you have any more information about this, or you have something you want to say about it, please feel free to make a comment below.

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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.

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


  1. How disappointing 🙁

    Does anyone have more information about why the nihon kiin is doing this? Are they really so strapped for cash?

    I wanted to visit the new york go center one day, now I guess none of us can.

  2. This is a load of bull. Iwamoto donated the building to help promote go and even if they can legally sell the asset it seems pretty short sighted to me. It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’d like to know what the AGA’s position on this is.

  3. In my experience go associations rarely challenge the Japanese on these sorts of things. Loss of face is very important in that culture, so trying to convince them to change their mind is difficult. Anyway, who do you think sends all the professionals and organizes international tournaments?

  4. David Ormerod says:

    Thanks for your comments guys. It’s a very difficult time for Japan and Japanese Go and I can’t imagine the Nihon Ki-in is happy with this situation either. After I wrote this post, a friend pointed out to me that the majority of the Nihon Ki-in’s funding probably came from sponsorship (as opposed to government funding) and just isn’t available anymore.

    The final meeting of the New York Go Center was meant to be held last night. Let’s hope someone who knows more about the details can come and update us on what’s going on. (That’ll save more idle speculation on our parts :))