Joe Walters, Yu Go Club founder and current secretary, worked with this year's Anime LA to set up a session to teach people at the convention who were interested in the game. The first session was Saturday morning from 8am to 10am. We had around 20 people show up to learn about Go. We handed out cardboard 9x9 sets purchased by Anime LA, and information about clubs in and around Los Angeles, as well as information about Yu Go Club.
The teaching session went very well. People were very interested in learning to play Go, and the Anime LA organizer who joined us, Heidi, told us that she's read a lot about the game, but this is the first time she's gotten a chance to play. I hope that some of the people who learned to play will continue playing long after Anime LA 2008.
After the Saturday session, we had a 24-hour beginner's tournament. All games were even with 5.5 komi, with a prize for the person with the most wins. Unfortunately, as we discovered on Sunday morning, people had a hard time finding each other to play a game. We'll need to make some changes next year in order to get the tournament to work better.
It was really great to see how much interest there is in Go at Anime LA! I think if we schedule an activity next year for more advanced players, and possibly tie in the Go activities with Hikaru No Go somehow, we can build a larger Go event at Anime LA in the future.
Many thanks to Joe Walters for organizing the event, and also to Andy Okun, Terry McIntyre and Samantha Davis of the Santa Monica Go Club for helping with organization and teaching.