Cambridge Youth Project

Name:Cambridge Youth Project
Contributor:Paul Smith
Organisation:Cambridge Youth Go Project

Project Description

The Cambridge Youth GoProject was set up around ten years ago with the aim of increasing the number of local children actively playing Go.

The first part of our strategy was to start a club for juniors to play Chess and Go. The idea was to work in cooperation with the local Chess club who also wanted to encourage junior players; also there is a lot of interest in Chess in our target age group due to the success of the UK Chess Challenge. The club is a big success and we recently had 34 players competing in a Go tournament at the club.

The second part of our strategy was to make contact with as many parents and teachers as possible in order to get new opportunities to introduce juniors to Go. We did this via the club itself, but also by running an annual tournament and by running Go teaching stalls at Chess events. This has also been a success and has resulted in Go clubs or Chess & Go clubs starting up in half a dozen schools so far in Cambridge. The most successful of these, Milton School, recently ran a Go tournament in the school with 39 players.

We have made sure that children who have started playing Go keep their enthusiasm by arranging a range of tournament and teaching events for them. Recently this has included a successful teaching day (organised jointly with the BGA) where we made use of a local venue with Internet access to introduce children to various online Go resources. This included playing a team game on KGS which was projected on a big screen.

Throughout we have taken care to get as many as possible local enthusiastic Go players involved. In 2007 around 10-12 local players have helped with the juniors in some way. We maintain a Yahoo Group to keep in touch with these volunteers and to allow them all to put in their ideas.

We started off with some money from the Ing Foundation. We have managed to attract sponsorship and also individual donations to support our work. And the money we have brought in from clubs and tournaments has so far exceeded the cost of running them.

Over 100 children are regularly playing Go in our area as a result of our project. We are confident that this number will grow. We feel that our ideas could be taken up in other places. If there were other similar projects in other parts of the UK, for example, we think that the number of junior Go players in the country could grow rapidly. You can read a provisional report of activities from 2007 here. It includes some photographs.


The main objective of our project was to get more juniors in the Cambridge area playing Go. Our main target is the 7-11 age band. We estimate there are about 10,000 children of this age in the Cambridge area and we were aiming first to get 1% of them playing Go and then see if we could increase this to 2%-3% which would bring Go fairly much level with Chess.


We have reached the first stage of our objectives in that there are over 100 children in the Cambridge area now regularly playing Go. We are confident that we can continue to increase this number.


Human resources: We estimate that around 20 local Go players have been involved in the project during the life of the project. In addition to this, Chess players and parents have helped with some of the events that we have organised. The current level of input from local Go players is probably in the range 10-20 person hours per week in total. We feel that one of the reasons that our project is sustainable is that no individual person has had to put in a very great amount of their own time.

Financial resources: We had an initial spend of around 150-200 pounds on Go equipment. We also spent money on photocopying teaching materials and on buying some Go books. Each year at the start of the school year we produce advertising material for our Chess & Go club. Part of this is to produce around 6000 flyers for local schools. At commercial rates this would cost us almost 200 pounds but we have usually been able to find some way getting them produced or at a cheap rate.

At the start of our project we received an Ing grant which more than covered our start up costs. Clubs and tournaments that we have run have in general been able to cover their own costs by the amount of money raised by subscriptions or entry fees.

Possibilities to copy this project

We feel that it should be possible to reproduce our project both in other parts of the UK and in other European countries.

We recently produced some advice for people in other parts of the UK who might be interested in starting up a similar project. This has been posted by the BGA on their site. We hope that we might be able to give some financial assistance and other specific help and advice to people starting any similar project.

Some of the specific ways we have carried out our project (for example, how we have advertised our activities to schools) may have to be modified for other countries, but we feel that the overall project idea should apply equally well in other parts of Europe.

Our project has not involved any large financial risk nor the necessity to find particular individuals with a very large amount of spare time; for this reason we feel it should not be too hard to reproduce elsewhere.


The website of Cambridge Junior Chess & Go Club:

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