Page:Smith - The game of go.djvu/49

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23
DESCRIPTION OF BOARD AND STONES

The result of this is that the stones do not have quite room enough and lap over each other, and when the board is very full, they push each other out of place. To make matters still worse the Japanese are not very careful to put the stones exactly on the points of intersection, but place them carelessly, so that the board has an irregular appearance. It is probable that the unsymmetrical shape of the board and the irregularity of the size of the stones arise from the antipathy that the Japanese have to exact symmetry. At any rate, it is all calculated to break up the monotonous appearance which the board would have if the spaces were exactly square, and the stones were exactly round and fitted properly in their places.

In Japan the board is placed on the floor, and the players sit on the floor also, facing each other, as shown in the illustration, and generally the narrower side of the board is placed so as to face the players. Since the introduction of tables in Japan Go boards are also made thinner and without feet, but the game seems to lose some of its charm when the customs of the old Japan are departed from.

The Japanese always take the stone between the middle and index fingers, and not between the thumb and index finger as we are likely to do, and they place it on the board smartly and with great skill, so that it gives a cheerful sound, as before stated.

For use in this country the board need not be so thick, and need not, of course, have feet, but if it is attempted to play the game on cardboard, which has a dead sound as the stones are played, it is surprising how much the pleasure of the game is diminished. The author has found