Chapter 2 Starting A Club

Chapter 2
Starting A Club

If there is no Go club near you, you can always start one. The hardest thing at first is to find other players; the BGA Membership Secretary can help by providing a list of nearby BGA members. There may also be go players nearby who are not BGA members, who will of course be more difficult to find. Several people, particularly those with no nearby club, play Go on the Internet. Possible ways to find these players include posting an announcement to the gotalk mailing list or the newsgroup (see Appendix B for contact details). Also, the KGS Go server has a British Room, where you may find local players.

2.1 Setting Up

Once you have a nucleus of players (and this can be as little as two) you can start to arrange regular meetings. These can be weekly, which is probably best, or less frequently such as fortnightly or monthly. An initial venue can be a member's front room; once established there, you can contemplate expansion. Many go clubs have originated in this manner.

Of the other possibilities for a venue, the most common is one associated with a member's occupation. This includes a university (if he is a student or a lecturer), firm, or social club attached to a firm. The great advantages are that these are generally cheap - financial assistance may even be available - and usually fairly salubrious. Publicity aimed at fellow employees is often successful, but it may be more difficult to attract non employees. Rules for social clubs are often quite strict, but only so as to cater for licensing laws, and a method to include non employees is usually not difficult to find. You should discuss the situation with officials of the social club.

Other possible venues are church halls, coffee bars, pubs, etc. They all have their pros and cons, and local intelligence will often generate some ideas. If you do not know where to start looking, find out where the local chess players meet. The public library should be able to provide that information.

BGA Affiliation

To affiliate your club to the BGA, you must nominate a club secretary. The secretary must be a member of the BGA, and be prepared to have contact details published by the BGA. Club secretaries should encourage members to join the BGA and can collect their fees and contact details to pass on to the BGA membership secretary.

When you have a regular meeting time and location and a nominated club secretary, you should inform the BGA webmaster, who will add the details to the website and arrange for information to be included in the newsletter and journal.

One of the major problems when a club is started is that of equipment. The BGA can help affiliated clubs here by loaning sets for a short period while the club gets going; contact the Equipment Coordinator to arrange this. Collection and return will be your responsibility; you can often do this at tournaments. Ultimately, of course, the club should be self-supporting.

Joint Meetings

If there are several clubs in the same region, it is a good idea to arrange occasional joint meetings with those clubs, perhaps also with a social event. For example, a group of clubs in the North East hold occasional joint meetings at weekends, with a barbecue in the evening. The main advantage of such meetings, particularly for small or new clubs, is to give players an opportunity to play different opponents from usual.

2.2 Club Management

There are several ways in which a club can support itself; a small club can make do with the use of members' equipment, although you should make sure there are 9x9 boards to teach beginners; these can be obtained fairly cheaply online. A club based at a university may be able to get grants from their Student Union to buy books and equipment. The most common way, however, is to charge a small fee. Many clubs have two types of fee: an annual fee and a board fee for each evening. It is recommended that the board fees should do more than cover the cost of the room (if any); the surplus can be used to purchase equipment or books for a club library. Typical fees might be £10 per annum and £1 per evening, with appropriate reductions for those in full-time education etc. The details will, however, depend on local circumstances and many clubs operate free. Many established clubs are funded by the profits of running a tournament.

Usually there is one person, the prime mover, who starts the club going, but he should not see it as a one man show. He should delegate jobs wherever possible, as this will help to ensure the continuity of the club if he should leave the district. Typical jobs are Secretary, Treasurer and Equipment Officer/Librarian. None of these duties is particularly onerous, but people tend to be shy of volunteering, yet will do the job enthusiastically if asked. The appointment of a publicity officer could be worthwhile, especially if there is someone with a flair for it.

Some Go clubs are officially set up with a bank account and a constitution. Others have neither. If you want to have a bank account, and one is recommended if you charge a membership fee or intend to run tournaments, you will probably need to have a constitution. This does not need to be particularly elaborate; the only important thing is to clarify the means by which the members can check that their money is being looked after properly. A model constitution sufficient for most purposes is given in figure 2.1.

Constitution of the . . . Go Club

  1. The . . . Go Club is a non profit-making organisation devoted to the playing of, and promotion of interest in the game of go.
  2. The officers of the club shall be Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.
  3. There shall be an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to which the Secretary shall invite all members at least two weeks in advance.
  4. The business of the AGM shall include the election of officers and the presentation by the Treasurer of the previous year's accounts.

Figure 2.1: Model Constitution

It is, of course, possible to be far more precise about these matters and also to define details of the many other aspects of club management, but in practice such items tend to be forgotten or ignored or, worse, they absorb time and effort which would be better spent playing Go.

Last updated Fri Nov 23 2012. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.