The National Go Center was incorporated in October 2016 as a non-profit corporation under District of Columbia law. Its primary stated purpose of incorporation is to:
- Promote education of children and adults, including but not limited to promotion of instruction, training, practice and competition in respect to the game Go (also called Weiqi or Baduk) and its variants.
- Promote cross cultural communication and awareness of Asian cultural traditions in which Go originated.
An application for 501(c)3 non-profit status under the IRS Code was submitted in February 2019 and has been approved by the IRS. Donations to the NGC are deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 170. The NGC Federal tax ID (EIN) is 81-4279719.
With grant funding from Iwamoto North America Foundation for GO (INAF), a rental property convenient to the Metro in northwest DC was secured and renovated followed by an official opening in April 2017.
The NGC has ~2900 square feet of space divided into a playing hall, classrooms, library, kitchen, and reception area. In 2019 a room was renovated to function as a broadcast room with a green screen, lighting, computers and cameras. It is used both for live streaming broadcasts of games with commentary and for producing educational Go videos.
INAF was formed in 2016 to “foster, promulgate, and develop the game and culture of Go in North America according to the vision and wishes of the late Japanese Go master, Iwamoto Kaoru.”
Iwamoto was a Go champion and famously was playing in the "atomic bomb game" outside of Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. After the war he travelled and created Go centers in North and South America and in Europe. He saw Go as a way to not only promote individual development, but to foster cross communication between cultures and lead to a more peaceful world.
Staffed entirely by volunteers the NGC has a regular schedule of events and classes. It is very welcoming to beginners and there is always instruction, formal and informal for both beginners and more advanced players.
On Saturdays there is Family Go, a program for children where parents can stay and participate as well. With pizza and fun activities, kids learn the game while developing skills in math and logical reasoning. They also learn cultural precepts of the game such as respecting ones opponent and being graceful if losing a game.
The NGC is recognized as a formal chapter within the American Go Association, the official national organization for American Go players, cooperating with similar national organizations around the world. The AGA supports many activities nationally and internationally including publishing the American Go E-Journal and maintaining a national ratings system. The NGC conducts regular AGA rated tournament events that allow measurement of progress and continued growth with game reviews and analysis.