As I said in my previous post about spreading Go, looks like nobody has done a real “market study” about selling Go. It’s really easy to realize there are 3 separate “targets”, perhaps 4, based on the age, and for each case a different approach has to be applied.
They do not decide, parents decide for them. This means you have to sell Go to the parents, telling them that Go will help the kid become more intelligent. As a mental discipline, this is a reality, and actually some studies show improvements in IQ and concentration on children who started playing Go. Different parts of the mind are improved, from spatial sense to coherent judgement, and not only calculation abilities.
The problem here is the infrastructure, that is, the things we need to support a Go academy for kids. We need teachers, we need good books for kids in their mother tongue, and we need continuity. We have to train players to teach properly to children, because nowadays most of them are horrible at teaching. We have to create relations with Go books publishers and try to translate books for children to our local languages. And (the most difficult part) children should keep playing/studying. Usually in Europe an amateur player goes to a school and runs some kind of Go introductory course; then they learn to play. But later, when the the course is over, they do not continue playing. That’s because the only way they have to continue playing is in a real club (with people smoking or using bad language) or on Internet, and parents do not allow it most of the time. So the way to keep children playing is creating a children-focused space (real or virtual) for them, with some teacher/tutor/guard taking after them.
Actually not so much work is needed with this group. They usually discover the game via Hikaru no Go, and start playing a lot, spending the enormous free time they have. The only problem they suffer is their tight budget. That is, it’s not easy to buy a Go book, which are quite expensive here, starting at 15€. Moreover, it’s not easy to travel to take part in a tournament. So the action to take here is try to lower the prices of books (perhaps prepare a grant for this), and help them to take part in real tournaments.
Why don’t we just sell Go telling people it’s a fun game, instead of a complex one?. Usually adults looks for activities to enjoy with, in their spare time. If you tell them Go is a complex thing, most people will not look at it. So the idea here is selling Go as an enjoyable game, with a bit of “it will keep your mind young”. Think about all those “brain training” videogames that are succeeding lately; despite in theory they are boring (you have to solve maths) they sell them as an enjoyable game, and people keep buying. Of course, you also have studies on Go and brain activity to use as background. Moreover, Go magazines or newspapers could keep adults playing the game.
Do you know that Go helps to prevent dementia? This could be a nice slogan to start with. There are studies which show that mental activities like Go help the brain to remain healthy. They have a lot of free time, so introductory courses could help. Also they can take part in tournaments, read magazines and such.
So summarizing, we should STOP telling people Go is a complex thing!!