Page:Smith - The game of go.djvu/43

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19
DESCRIPTION OF BOARD AND STONES

In the back of the board there is cut a square depression. The purpose of this is probably to make the block more resonant, although the old Japanese stories say that this depression was put there originally to receive the blood of the vanquished in case the excitement of the game led to a sanguinary conflict.

The legs of the board are said to be shaped to resemble the fruit of the plant called “Kuchinashi” or Cape Jessamine (Gardenia floribunda), the name of which plant by accident also means “without a mouth,” and this is supposed to suggest to onlookers that they refrain from making comments on the game (a suggestion which all Chess players will appreciate).

On the board, parallel with each edge, are nineteen thin, lacquered black lines. These lines are about four one-hundredths of an inch wide. It has been seen from the dimensions given that the board is not exactly square, and the field therefore is a parallelogram, the sides of which are sixteen and a half and fifteen inches long respectively, and the lines in one direction are a little bit farther apart than in the other. These lines, by their crossing, produce three hundred and sixty-one points of intersection, including the corners and the points along the edge of the field.

The stones are placed on these points of intersection, and not in the spaces as the pieces are in Chess or Checkers. These intersections are called “Me” or “Moku” in Japanese, which really means “an eye.” Inasmuch as the word as used in this connection is untranslatable, I shall hereafter refer to these points of intersection by their Japanese name.