Page:Smith - The game of go.djvu/42

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DESCRIPTION OF THE BOARD AND STONES

The board, or “Go Ban” as it is called in Japanese, is a solid block of wood, about seventeen and a half inches long, sixteen inches broad, and generally about four or five inches thick. It has four detachable feet or legs so that as it stands on the floor it is about eight inches high. The board and feet are always stained yellow.

The best boards in Japan are made of a wood called “Kaya” (Torreya Nucifera) a species of yew. They are also made of a wood called “Icho” or Gingko (Salisburia adiantifolia) and of “Hinoki” (Thuya Obtusa) a kind of cedar. At all events they must be of hard wood, and yet not so hard as to be unpleasant to the touch when the stone is placed on the board, and the wood must further have the quality of resonance, because the Japanese enjoy hearing the sound made by the stone as it is played, and they always place it on the board with considerable force when space will permit. The Japanese expression for playing Go, to wit, “Go wo utsu,” literally means to “strike” Go, referring to the impact of the stone. In Korea this feature is carried to such an extreme that wires are stretched beneath the board, so that as a stone is played a distinct musical sound is produced. The best boards should, of course, be free from knots, and the grain should run diagonally across them.

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