Where Can I Play Go?
Getting bored of constantly playing anonymous players online in your bathrobe while eating cereal out of cup?
Getting bored of constantly playing anonymous players online in your bathrobe while eating cereal out of cup? Do you want the feel of putting down stones on an actual board while facing down a real live human being. Or maybe you want to have someone who can actually show you what you are doing wrong and review your game with you? Do you just want to get out of your house?! All pretty common feelings for the fletching Go player...
Before we get into where to play, let's get into some general Go etiquette. As with any meet-up group, you'll typically be the odd man out the first time you go, and will have to be a bit more outgoing than you usually are. -- Yes, you have to be friendly... Awful, I know...
Most weekly clubs will have a general organizer, who will more often than not, introduce themselves when they see you silently creeping over their shoulders. Go players love to show off the game to newbies and will be delighted to indoctrinate you into the.... errr... I mean... introduce you to Go?
Should that not be the case, or they are caught up in their game, the best way to find a game or introduce yourself is to find someone else who is watching a game. Go over to the game they are watching, pony up to your potential opponent and ask if they are interested in a game. If they say yes, congratulations, you have just found your first opponent on a real board! If no, rinse and repeat until you have found your first victim!
After you have found your opponent, you will typically ask them their rank so that you can decide an appropriate handicap for the game. Once the handicap has been decided you can start your game!
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT -- . It is not uncommon for a player to ask for your rank before asking for your name… Please don't be one of these players. Introduce yourself, be polite. It's just good manners. This is a personal pet peeve of mine that I see all too often and I do not want any of the people reading this to do the same.
It may not always be that smooth though. There are sometimes where you will just be watching, whether it's from a lack of players, not enough boards, or you just want a break from playing. If you do happen to be watching a game, make sure you aren't hovering too closely over another player's board… and try not to talk about the game unless the players are talking about it as well. Some players take each game pretty seriously, especially if they have an ongoing rivalry with their opponent. You certainly don't want to interrupt anyone who is in the midst of taking down an arch-rival. However, if the players are talking among themselves as they play and you have a question you want answered, it's generally okay! Just don't become a burden on the game.
You'll find that most players like to do a quick review after the game. This is a bit difficult when you are first starting out as it's hard to remember the shapes and the order and the moves. At about the 1 dan level you'll be able to review most every game you play without much trouble. Before then, recording the game on your cell phone so you remember is recommended.
Over my next few entries I will go over where to play in NY, when to go and what to expect when you get there.
Good luck and happy playing.