I’m lucky enough to travel a bit for work. Usually when I’m in a new or interesting city I often do a bit of research to figure out the local live music scene and attend a show if I can. More and more these days I also find myself checking to see if there’s a local Go club event.
Work happens to take me to Durham, North Carolina at least twice a year and I recalled there being a pretty active Go scene there thanks to mentions by the American Go Association. Turns out the Triangle Go Club has been running for 40 years!
They have a couple events a week, and luckily for me, including one on Wednesday nights at Social in downtown Durham. They also have one on Fridays at a Starbucks better situated between Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. However, being sans car and having other plans on Friday, I decided to take the short walk from my hotel and arrived a little before 8pm.
When I walked in there were two games in progress. I asked if I could sit down and watch a game. It turned out to be a match between an AGA 6 kyu also visiting from out of town (and a regular member of the Seattle Go Club) and Frank Salantrie AGA 3 dan. Frank Salantrie is the one who built the board gifted to China by Barack Obama!
Another person, Bhaskar, walked in with a board and I asked them if they wanted to play. We found a spot at the bar and my opponent unfolded a nice, inexpensive portable board. He was an 18 kyu who had just picked up the game in earnest a month and a half ago thanks to the excitement of the AlphaGo matches. I asked about the board and he said he picked it up in Austin, Texas at Great Hall Games. That’s also where I had bought my first board and my first go books more than a decade ago!
We played a teaching game and I hope my opponent enjoyed it. While we played I took a look around, there were a couple of new games going on at this point. The vibe reminded me a bit of Mostly Go - relaxed, and you can definitely get two games in if you make it by 7pm when the event starts.
After my game I chatted a bit with one of the Triangle Go organizers, Bob Bacon. Turns out they just held one of their biannual tournaments on September 25th with 39 players ranging from 30 kyu to 5 dan! Any Go enthusiast in the Triangle area should feel lucky to have such an active club.
It was starting to get late so I said my farewells and wandered off to look for a bite to eat. I definitely plan on attending the event again next time I’m in town.