You live in New York City. You like Go. What should you do?
Head on over to Pie By The Pound every Wednesday between 6pm and 10pm!
Shortly after the AlphaGo matches against Fan Hui, I decided I really needed to check out the Manhattan Go scene. After a surprising amount of stumbling about I finally came across the Mostly Go Meetup. The meetup was a kind of umbrella for three distinct weekly events. One of these was up by Columbia University (The Hungarian Pastry Shop), another at a game parlor popular with NYU students (the event was somewhat inconveniently scheduled for Sunday afternoons), and another, centrally located just a few blocks away from Union Square. None of these events had much in the way of typical “I’m going” confirmations, so from the online impression at least these events looked abandoned. Still who knew? If I recall correctly, I pulled Ien, Zane, and several other friends along to scope out the central event out for the first time this past February.
The central meetup is hosted at Pie By The Pound, a nice little spot that sells pretty tasty pizza that has a fairly large back area with a significant number of board games stacked on a bench. This game stack includes several Go boards of varying degrees of quality. We walked up around 7pm and we were stunned to see all boards occupied with a solid 15 people in attendance. In fact it became pretty clear that in order to really guarantee a game it’s probably best to bring whatever travel set you own (I have the Bento set from GoGameGuru).
We nervously introduced ourselves and found the attendees to be incredibly friendly. The strength range was comfortingly broad - from AGA 7 dan to absolute beginners looking to learn the game. Because of the Go handicap system it’s not hard to find an opponent and play an interesting game. I’ve given four stones to 14 kyus and lost and taken six stones from 7 dans and lost. Point is, your skill level should not be a deterrent, you can absolutely play a game and have a fantastic time. Plus if you record your game several of the regular stronger players are more than happy to give friendly reviews.
Unsurprisingly, many of the attendees are quite active in the broader American Go scene. Not only did we see many familiar faces at the US Go Congress, many of those faces turned out to be people who have been pretty heavily involved in promoting Go for some time.
All this to say, if you’re a Go enthusiast living in NYC and you’re not attending Mostly Go, you are seriously missing out. Come and bring your portable Go set.
See you across the board!