Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sneak Peek: The GoBox

For almost a full five months, Pong Yen at Yellow Mountain Imports had been hinting of a new product coming on the horizon. I suspected that it might be a new bag for carrying Go equipment and I was right. Pong was kind enough to share with me the first public images of YMI's new GoBox.

You can see the pre-cut foam inserts to hold the board, the bowls, and perhaps a timer. According to the specs that were provided to me, the GoBox will accomodate boards up to 6cm thick and bowls as big as the wider Go Seigen style.

Photographers will recognize this case design. It's similar to those from Hakuba, Pelican or Mamiya which are used to transport expensive photo gear when travelling. Obviously, the GoBox is meant to transport expensive full-sized table gobans and protect them from damage. As many of us know, Kaya and Spruce are soft woods.

This design is a dramatic departure from the old padded duffel-bag design that was sold through Ishi Games and Samarkand years ago. Those older bags were designed to carry folding or take-apart boards that were about 1" thick along with bowls. That older design probably provided only moderate protection for the equipment.

According to Pong, the GoBox is constructed of ABS material and it has travel locks in its latches. These photos suggest that it might be sturdy enough to withstand the tortures of checked-in luggage but I may have to assess that for myself when I can get my hands on one.

I don't have the exact dimensions so it's still unclear to me if this bag would qualify as carry-on luggage on airlines. The general rule is that the sum of a bag's dimensions may not exceed a total of 45 inches but a lot of airlines set their own rules. The arbitrarily applied dimensions of 22" x 14" x 9" would not be wide enough to accomodate a full-sized table goban.

Here's the kicker-feature. The GoBox is mobile! It has a built-in pair of transport wheels and a retractable pull-handle similar to those of modern travel luggage and laptop carriers. This makes sense when you consider the total weight of a full-sized goban, bowls and stones.

This is YMI's second design of The GoBox (I don't know what the first one looked like). It certainly takes Go bags in a completely new direction. Maybe even Mr. Kuroki of Kuroki Goishi Ten should add these to his offerings.

I'm guessing that it will be made available in mid to late Spring of 2006. That date means that it would be available before the 2006 Go Congress in North Carolina (assuming one would have some reason to take one's goban along).

YMI has not yet released the price of the GoBox but it will be sold for less than the old Ishi Games bag (which retailed for a pricey $179).

There will be more news coming so stay tuned.

Fuseki Quiz 3/20

Black to play. I chose "A".

The answer to this quiz may surprise you but it makes a lot of sense.

Scoring of Last Weekend's Fuseki Quiz 2/20
  • A = 6
  • B = 10, White would be almost forced to defend with D13 after which Black could play R9. If Black neglects G14, then White turns at F15 and increases her potential of creating territory on the left side.
  • C = 4
  • D = 2
  • E = 8


At 1:01 PM, April 29, 2006, Blogger Zeke said...

ok... I'll definitely be getting one of those!!! Maybe YMI will discount for me and ship one of their kaya board sets inside the gobox! :D

You seem to have some insider info -- ask if there will be any combo-specials for those buying board and box!

And when will this be available???

At 4:21 PM, April 29, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello Zeke!

The earliest arrival estimate seems to be sometime in May. I'll suggest to Pong that YMI consider combo deals.

At 6:17 PM, April 30, 2006, Anonymous XCMeijin said...

I choose D. The kake (cover) is nice, seems to threaten the lone white stone. If white defends, black can then take a big point on the East side. If not, black can attach the lone white stone with greater menace, and also utilising his black stone at D17.

All the other moves seems less threatening and more territorial, which may allow white to wreak havoc on black's plans. 'course, i'm likely to be wrong :P

And wow, Chiyodad, nice coverage on that GoBox. We're all waiting for your next review on the GoCrate, for large floor boards, bowls, stones, books, timers and fans.
Lol, kidding.


At 6:30 PM, April 30, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

As one person on GoDiscussions had implied, there's something almost James Bond-ish about the GoBox. The case looks like it would equally suit a sophisticated take-down sniper rifle.

Perhaps if one takes the GoBox to the next Go Congress, one should dress in a dark suit and ask for a martini (shaken and not stirred, of course).

At 5:30 PM, May 01, 2006, Blogger JMP said...

(A) is definately a good move. If I were playing this game on the internet it is where I would probably play, it is a good extension from the corner and threatens some white stones. But I'm not playing this on the internet so I can spend some time on analysis (plus I have 18 out of 20 point so far, want to keep the streak going :)
(B) is OK, but that lone white stone has a few options so it probably isn't sente. I think (C) is an unnecessary invasion. (D) seems like it really doesn't do much of anything, it is a very weak attack on the white stone (definately not sente) and doesn't really protect anything either. (E) on first site seem like a very passive move. I think it might be urgent though. Notice that both the black groups above and below are undercut. If white gets to move at (E) it looks like a splitting attack to me. Even if both group live most of blacks potential territory is gone. Therefore I choose (E).

At 10:23 AM, May 02, 2006, Anonymous Trevoke said...

Hey.. What's your syndicated feed? Atom, RSS or other? I'd like to add you to my LJ friends list but I need to know that and I couldn't find it on your blog.

At 11:08 AM, May 02, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello trevoke! Thanks for reading my blog.

The feed for LiveJournal users is:

The standard Atom feed is:

At 7:26 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Adam said...

Ugh, I rocked the first one but only got a 4 on the second. I'm used to playing against GnuGo offline, and Gnu rocks me whenever I get too tactical, so I tend to stay strategic. I need to play more against humans, I think. That being said, here's what I think about #3:

I think I'll take B.

A gets you some territory, but doesn't really attack those white stones strongly. It's solid, but I think you can go more aggressive.

B doesn't connect stronly with the upper left corner, and that's a bummer. But if white decides to invade at something like G17 then the corner can attack white's upper left formation in sente (I think), then push the attack from the B stone to either the left or the right. Besides, I wouldn't want to desert the upper left side. It's a little strung out, and A might be better. But what the heck, B displays fighting spirit.

C this invasion looks weak to me. White will counter attack and grow his territory while black tries simply to escape.

D this will be a strong move when the sides are a little more settled. I think I'd wait on it for now, however.

E protecting this space seems too defensive to me. I think a white invasion here could be dealt with, and black would come out stronger for it. As long as black managed to link up over the top of a white E black would generate huge strength in the center, which would project well to the bottom left and top right. Eventually this space needs more protection, but I think one could do it more productively by building up the formations on either side of it.

Oh, and I have the Samarkand hiba 9x9 / 13x13 board. I like it a bunch, and I'm glad it's an inch thick. Small boards are relatively inexpensive anyway, why not get a nice thick one?

At 1:32 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous ScatCat said...

What a nice product! Do you know if the 6 cm is absolute? I think my board is a little less than 7cm. I'll have to measure when this trip ends. It sure would make transport easier. ttfn!

At 3:26 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

The answer to Fuseki quiz 3 may surprise some folks but the reasoning behind it is rather sound.

Folks have all sorts of budgets and priorities so it's quite good that YMI offers us some inexpensive alternatives. I visited Games of Berkeley on Saturday and saw their $9 9x9 plywood boards and was thankful that I had gotten YMI's combo board for about $21.

ScatCat, I'll be getting one of the first GoBoxes so I'll report on its capacity. As always, stay tuned!

At 10:05 PM, May 30, 2006, Anonymous John said...

When you get one, can you let us know what size bowls will fit in here too? I recently purchased some Size 41 Standard Grade stones and extra large chestnut wood bowls from Mr. Kuroki, and I am hoping they will fit into the GoBox.


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