Friday, March 16, 2007

Natural Bamboo Go Board

My new bamboo Go board from Yellow Mountain Imports arrived today. It's a standard Chinese style table board, so there's no precious Japanese perspective ink to jack up the price. The wood is heavy, cool to the touch, and just slightly aromatic in an eye-stinging, lingeringly just-out-of-the-shop new board sort of way. It's made with laminated bamboo lathe, so visually it's blonde, beautiful and obviously bamboo, with darker joint accents embedded in the surface, just like the photo and curiously appropriate for a Go board. ("You can't cut a bamboo joint" — Go proverb. Get it?) Top is 19 x 19, the reverse is 13 x 13.

I have another board of similar dimensions which I bought from Yutopian a couple of years ago. That one is marred by composition construction (the corners chip eventually) and a barbarically insensitive yellow paint job. A more expensive "shin kaya" (shin means "new", i.e., ersatz or substitute kaya, usually some variety of spruce) board which I bought from Samarkand about the same time was also painted (!) and reeked of a turpentine odor that reminded me of a fumigant you sometimes get from paper goods out of Vietnam. I sent that one back. I give Janice Kim credit — Samarkand took it back without a whimper, and the line is discontinued. She has since found a much better low-end board, just from what I can tell by looking at photos.

Yellow Mountain Imports' board was a pleasure to unwrap. They didn't send the The Way to Go brochure, but that is readily available on the internet. YMI also sells a 2 inch thick version of this same board. Shipping costs are not inconsiderable, these bamboo boards are heavy.

This 3/4" board cost me $39.00, roughly, because the cost of shipping was paid for by a "ten bucks back" special Google Checkout was running. Sometimes you get what you don't pay for.

Save the giant kayas! Play with bamboo!

(Incidentally, I play as cedar44 on IGS, KGS, OroBaduk, etc. I am a beginner, no more than 26 kyu. But learning... ;-)

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