Chinese New Year 2014 Mall Go Demo

Right (Top): Dragon decoration. Right (Center): Two banners with Chinese calligraphy. Right (Bottom): Performance stage at the center of the mall.

Some of you already know, but I went to one of the local malls and volunteered to teach go for the Chinese New Year 2014 celebration. As you can see in the little collage I put together above, there were nice decorations along with performances in the center of the mall. Definitely felt like Chinese New Year! Haha. And of course, how could you have a Chinese New Year celebration without go? (I might be a little biased though xD)

When I got there around 2pm, they had already finished setting up the booth. We had one large 9×9 demo board, a 13×13/19×19 board, and  multiple beginner boards for new players.

This was a little later in the day, but you get the idea!

At each section of the table, we had multiple brochures along with “The Way of Go” booklets for anyone who showed any interest.


There weren’t too many people at first, so I got the opportunity to finally meet fellow local go player Kevin (seen below) and play a game with him. (Right before we started playing, I found out that he was 5 dan. Hyuk hyuk hyuk…)

Let the games begin!

The following is a kifu I recreated from memory later on that day. Other than one move (which I’m not 100% sure of, but I am 100% sure of the purpose behind it), this record is accurate and contains some pointers from when we review some of the game later on.

[sgf sgfUrl=””  class=”aligncenter”][/sgf]

[download label=”Download Kifu”][/download]

After the game, more people began showing up and we started teaching first capture and the rules to everyone. My big customer of the day was a little girl who was about 5. We played a couple games of first capture that went well, and it seemed like she had fun. =)

Here’s a shot of her and her mom. They were both engaged and picked up on concepts like liberties and capturing stones really quickly!

Later on in the day, Kevin and I sat down to review our game. You can see his comments in the kifu above, but overall it was a great learning experience and eye-opening.

Here’s us going over the lower left corner variations.
After kneeling on the ground for a while (teaching the little girl go), I needed a break and stood while Kevin talked about how he was surprised that I cut so quickly in the upper right corner.

Towards the latter half of the workshop, my family showed up to show their support! Haha. It was really kind of them and it was great having them there. In the shot below, you’ll see my dad and my brother playing an intense game of Connect 5 (which is probably the simplest version of “go” that exists).


Here are some group shots of the volunteers.

Pictured: Me (left) and Kevin (right)
Pictured: Me (far left), John, (second to the left), Yee (second from the right), and Kevin (far right)

Considering we weren’t in an ideal location in the mall, I thought the foot traffic we got was still pretty great and we had a number of interested people stop by to play and ask questions. Definitely a success in my book! It’s definitely got me thinking about doing more things like this in the future. Will be sure to add it to my long list of things to do. Haha. Hope you all enjoyed this post!

PS. Credit for all the amazing photos goes to my incredible girlfriend. =D

  • Todd Bowlby

    Way to go! It’s awesome sharing our love of Go with others. I don’t know about you, but now that I’ve started, I’m feeling like I want to do just a little more…:)

    • Ben

      Haha. Amen to that. That is definitely something I want to do more of. I just wish there was a better network for letting people go off into the wild. I know it was tough for me when I first started out (and I was really motivated), so I’m trying to create a good environment for them to fall into if they do want to find out more.

  • RisingStar

    Great game Ben! I wish I had an opportunity like this… Anyways, that game was AWESOME! I have a question though. Instead of G4 (the losing move as you called it), where would have been a better place to play?

    • Ben

      I’m glad you enjoyed the game! Instead of G14, extending at G10 would have made it more of a fight and difficult for White. =D Complicated fight, but better than getting crushed. xD

  • Excalibor

    Fantastic! You surely had a great day, and your match against Kevin was really interesting! I’ll have to find out about that trick move… 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

    • Ben

      Thank you! hope all is well with you!

  • Insomnia

    Hello! I just stumbled across your blog and I was wondering what 19×19 go sets are you using? I’m in the process of starting up a Go Club at my school and I was looking around for equipment. I did read an article where go stones had traces of lead in them so preferably, I would like to avoid those stones.

    That aside, great blog you have going on! Keep it up!

    • Ben

      Greetings! If you’re starting up a go club at your school, I would first recommend checking out the American Go Foundation (if you live in the US). They might be able to provide you with funding / free equipment. Otherwise, check out my equipment on the foldable goban ( and go bento set (

      Glad you like the blog! Let me know if you have any questions!

      • Insomnia

        Thanks for the tip! I’ll check out AGF right away!

        About the stones with lead traces in them, what type of stones usually have this problem?

        • Ben

          So I don’t know if you saw YMImports’ response, but the lead trace was below the recommended amount that is to be put in products. But the product you’re referring to are “yunzi stones.” I really haven’t had a problem with them, but other stones to consider include glass stones, slate and shell (but these are expensive), or ceramic/poly-material.

          Check out my review on GoGameGuru’s glass stones here for an example. Let me know if you have any other questions!

          • Insomnia

            Is the AGF still active? I sent them a few emails but have yet to receive any sort of response. Do they take long to answer emails?

          • Ben

            They should be… Let me know if they’re still not responding after a few days. I’ll try and reach out to some people if they aren’t responding.

          • Insomnia

            Haven’t received a response yet and its been quite a while. Could you possibly reach out to the people you know? That would be incredibly helpful! 🙂

          • Ben

            I’ve reached out to a couple of people and let you know what I hear from them.

          • Insomnia

            Thanks for the help and the incredibly quick responses

          • Ben

            Anytime! And just to update you, I got in touch with one of their staff and they said they normally respond within a few days. Can you send me your email address so I can have him check? Thanks!

          • Insomnia

            For sure! Is there an email I can contact you with?

          • Ben
          • Insomnia

            Just sent out the email. Really appreciate all the help!!

          • Ben

            No problem! I’ll send you an email directly when I hear something.

    • RisingStar

      Hey Insomnia. I started my own Go Club at my school. Just wondering though, which area do you happen to be in? If you’re in the Michigan area, our clubs can meet up. Good luck with your club 🙂

  • RisingStar

    Dude , you’re famous to all american go players now…

    • Ben

      Haha. In all fairness though, I submitted the content for the E-Journal. =) I figured it wouldn’t get submitted otherwise and would be good to let people see go out in the public. =D

      • RisingStar

        XD That’s pretty cool. But now, the sad souls that didn’t know about your blog, do.