Iwamoto Awards

The Central Go School

Name:The Central Go School
Contributor:Timur Sankin
Start:2017-10-02
Organisation:Moscow Go Federation
Edition:2018

Project Description

The number of Go players in Russia has increased steadily during the last five years, especially outside the major cities. At the same time, access to learning and training Go is not good enough. We don't have a lot of strong Go teachers in such a vast country like Russia. For people from small cities there is only one way to study Go - the Internet. However, a year ago the EGF Academy limited the number of participants from one country.

This situation motivated Russian Go teachers to join forces and create an Internet Go school - The Central Go School.

We split our students into groups of six people each. There is a lessons + tournament system: in each group, the two top performers go up, and the two bottom places go down. All students can join any lessons in the school and watch videos afterwards. Students also get weekly homework assignments and all group winners get bonus classes with teachers.

Our participants are children and adults alike, with playing strengths ranging from 20 kyu up to 3 dan. Students come from all parts of Russia - from 9 different time-zones! There is a special group for the Far-East, with convenient times for the lessons. The national Russian Youth Teams of Under 9 years old Under 12 and Under 16 have special access to the School, with support of the Russian Go Federation.

At the same time, the Central Go School effects many cities and Go clubs spread through Russia. We invite all Russian-speaking participants; we have, for example, Israeli and Spanish students that speak Russian.

Most of our Masters are well-known teachers of children: Timur Sankin 6 dan (Moscow), Elvina Kalsberg 4 dan (St. Petersburg), Gusel Surma 3 dan (Kazan). Their pupils are some of the strongest players in Russia and Europe in the categories of Under 9, Under 12 and Under 16. One of our teachers is a young Go talent - Vyacheslav Kaimin 6 dan, who is the Under 16 and Under 20 Champion of Europe. Sometimes we invite Ilya Shikshin 2 dan professional to provide Master-classes for our top-group students.

Aim of the Project

Main aims are:

  • To make Go more popular in Russia
  • To increase the level of Go players in Russia. This includes supporting the improvement of the national Russian Youth Team
  • To make a financially successful Go project

A teacher becomes successful when a student surpasses the teacher. We hope this will often happen in our school.

We believe that it is very important to organise helpful and financially successful Go projects. This will make the work of our teachers more professional and will show that working with Go can be profitable. More Go professionals means more Go fans.

Current intended target groups: children and adults with playing strengths ranging from 20 kyu up to 3 dan.

Timeline

Project start: 2017-10-02
First season (Autumn): from 2017-10-02 until 2018-01-10
Second season (Spring): from 2018-01-22 until 2018-05-16.
To be continued... We are planning to have at least two seasons per year.

Location

Our website: http://goschool.mfgo.ru/
Our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/centralgoschool/

Means of the Project

We use several instruments:

  • Website http://goschool.mfgo.ru/; here all the information and game statistics can be found.
  • Data storage  https://vimeo.com/ all the lessons are recorded by the teachers themselves and stored.
  • Telegram, WhatsApp chats and e-mail for announcements.
  • Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/centralgoschool/ and VK (most popular in Russia) social networks for internet advertising;
  • Roll-ups, handouts and our discount certificates during offline tournaments, for advertisement purposes.
  • KGS https://www.gokgs.com/ for playing and Google Hangouts https://hangouts.google.com for conversation.

Results

Some results after Autumn and Spring seasons:

  • 170 students from 29 different cities.
  • We started with 48 participants in November, 2017 and grew to 75 participants in May, 2018.
  • 2300 games in tournaments.
  • 250 online lessons (250 hours of video, 2600 views and 1300 downloads).
  • Participants from Kaliningrad to Magadan (Russia), Spain and Israel.
  • 7 well-known teachers from Kazan, Samara, St.Petersburg and Moscow.
  • 3 medals in European Youth Go Championship 2018, earned by students of the School.

Human Resources

Seven teachers who each spend 2-3 hours per week.
One administrative person – spending about 10-15 hours per week.

Financial Resources

The School doesn’t have any sponsors yet. Each student pays for himself.
The Russian Go Federation pays for 20-25 students.
We have progressive scale of education fees, depending on duration of stud and the particiopant' s Go-level. 
After two seasons, revenues and expenses are about equal

Public Exposure

We aim to provide good quality Go-education for students.

  • Student feedback and increases in playing rating are positive
  • Our single largest client, Russian Go Federation, reviewed the teaching effect positively.
  • In one year our School has become one of the biggest internet Go-schools in Europe

Perspective

  • Changing the highest level of our students from 3 dan to 5 dan. This means that we have to find a pro-level teacher;
  • Upgrading the website: add an account system and implement plenty of automation like providing homework assignments, Go problems on the website, uploading of SGF files, and so on;
  • The Education plan of teachers should be more well-defined;
  • Organizing an annual summer Go-camp.

Wishes

Improving the skills of our teachers is important. We need to extend a Japanese, Chinese and Korean experience in our education, Go books, and train our teachers in the Orient and provide master-classes of Oriental professional players in Russia.

Additional Comments

If we win the 2018 Worldwide Iwamoto Awards, we will use 50% of the prize-money to upgrade our website and 50% to invite special guests – high level Go players for master-classes with our students.

Documents

More information is available for download here.
The Central Go School
Groups
Website impression
Tournament
Lesson
Schedule